It was the summer of 2017, and I was doing a photoshoot with friends in a beautiful Montana venue, and I had just experienced my first time holding a handstand … without a wall… in front of other human beings… for THREE WHOLE SECONDS.
It felt like an eternity.
I re-live that moment every time I see the photo...
My feet landed back on the earth, and elation coursed through my veins — followed immediately by tears streaming down my cheeks. I felt on top of the world.
For 4 years leading up to that moment, I’d immersed myself in all things yoga as a way to heal my body, my heart and my spirit.
I took trainings and continuing education courses, opened multiple Yoga Hive studios, taught a handful of classes every week, incorporated yogic philosophy as a way of life, and spending hundreds of hours apprenticing senior teachers and assisting at yoga teacher trainings.
I knew I wasn’t an expert in all things yoga — but I *thought* I knew a lot. Adding “handstand” to my repertoire felt like a pinnacle.
But, just like any mountain summit, we must eventually descend again. I just didn’t realize at the time how far down I'd have to go.
Late 2017 into 2018 was a particularly difficult time in my life. I lost a lot — and consequently, found a lot of new perspectives. While I trudged my way through the muck, I realized that despite everything I'd done and all the knowledge I'd acquired, I still had a lot of big, hairy questions.
Where does yoga come from?
When will I know it all?
Is handstand really the peak?
Deeper still were questions unanswered from my weekly childhood visits to Sunday School:
Why am I here?
What is the meaning of all this?
What does it mean to be spiritual?
A friend of mine mentioned she was going to India for advanced yoga training, and I surprised myself by admitting I was interested in joining her. Sean was supportive, and I booked my ticket. By the time I arrived in late November and experienced my first Himalayan Kriya Yoga journey, I knew with I was on my way back up the next mountain of my journey.
By integrating everything I’d learned in India, plus two additional pilgrimages in 2019, I changed the way I live and breathe, I was able to deepen my connection to life itself. My body felt like home. My breath was easeful. My mind was still, more often than not. I was filled with wisdom and I felt the magic of the universe was alive all around me. What I first learned as “yoga for the body,” had truly morphed into Yoga for the Spirit.
And while I thought I’d reached a spiritual peak with all this new knowledge, I soon discovered there was more I needed to learn. That little girl inside me who exchanged church for McDonald’s still needed some answers.
… and it all started with a little black binder, tucked away in my parents’ basement. I'll share the final part of this story (and a gift!) tomorrow....
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.