Walking into May one step at a time

Hey everyone, it's been awhile. Kali here. I had all the best intentions of writing to you in April, and life took over. So here we are, already 4 days into May. As many of you know, on Fridays I'm with my kids. Sometimes if I can I will take an early morning Kundalini class to give myself energy to make it through the day, but most of the time it's me wearing the mom hat. Every Friday is a different animal, but today I caught myself feeling extra reflective while taking a morning stroll and thought I would share more here.

While walking with my dog, Yuki and pushing Poppy in the stroller, I noticed the shadow of a tree on the pavement. I stopped and stared quite a time before I took a picture. It was like it was the first time I ever noticed a tree's shadow. I'm sure I've seen others take photos of such shadows, and obviously, I've walked by countless silhouettes on any given day of sunshine, but today I was in awe and had to stop in my tracks to take it in.

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My heightened awareness also spilled over to noticing the way I was approaching my walk today versus a recent "run" I took. Today I was really taking it slow and enjoying it for what it was, a stroll, a time to let my dog explore and my daughter take in the fresh air, sounds and sights.  Last week, it was a different story. 

I attempted to jog--my first "run" after a 9 year running hiatus. I took the same route as today, but on my run I immediately felt pain rushing in. Tightness surrounding my heart, shoulders tense, body creaking and wiggling off beat, the mind remembering a time before, when the body moved without the brain having to take so many notes. Back when things just worked. I didn't have to think about my cracking feet and nearly instant side pain--wondering, is that my appendix bursting or just tissue dying from lack of oxygen?

At the same time, I remembered the familiar feeling and thought pattern around times I would pass people on my run. Making sure I looked in good form (not huffing and puffing too loudly) and making sure others didn't notice when I wanted to stop to take a break. Letting the car pass by just enough and then stopping to catch my breath. During this run I had all these same thoughts, except this time I had moved for less than a minute before I wanted to stop, and of course there were two women planted on the corner that I needed to pass around. As I got by them, I glanced around thinking, how far do I have to run until I'm out of their sight? There was a part of me that still didn't want to show my tired, aching self, that part of me that wanted to give up right there. And so like times before, I ran until I saw a sign. A literal sign. It was right around the bend, a place out of direct view of the women.

Why did/do I feel the need to push? Why did/do I still try to hide my true pacing? Why do I still have trouble embracing the slow person I am? Anybody who spends a decent amount of time with me would never guess how slow I can be and how slow I like to be. I certainly couldn't hide this fact about me the summer I worked on a vegetable farm. Ask the head farmer about my pacing. He learned my love of plants and nature "experience" translated to daydreaming and frolicking with the fairies versus moving swiftly and efficiently. That was a hard summer for me to face myself. It also was a liberating summer. And I digress...

Back in the day, I used to run 3-5 miles daily. I wasn't a runner persay, but it was something that always felt good to me. I can even remember thinking to myself as I was running a half marathon that I could have kept going on and on forever and ever. Part of the reason why I felt that was was because I was running within my means. I wasn't borrowing energy to be there, I wasn't competing with anyone. I was moving in flow with myself. I was in my body. I wasn't pushing really. Yes, I certainly judged myself for not trying to go harder and wondered if I was doing it wrong--not trying to beat a time or clock. But why change anything if I was enjoying myself? So I didn't, and I kept running my way.

And so today, as I walked I noticed my pacing right now is more of a slow and distracted walk. One leashed to a toddler's attention span, stopping and going, moving back a few steps and then starting again. And when I embraced it for what it was, I had fun. I remembered the former runner in me, moving at my own speed.

When we move at our own pace, we can see better. I can see things like shadows of the trees on the pavement, and though I'm not sure why that matters so much, I know I find comfort here, being this way, just me. 

 

Moonbeams: Meeting Moon River's Maria Hermann

This blog is the second of a collection called, "Moonbeams: Illuminating what happens here" curated by local writer and community member, Kim Thompson and other guest writers. We hope to offer this "column" 1-2 times a month, sharing about what goes on at the studio to inspire you to come check us out for yourself. This week's post is about one of our teachers, Maria Hermann. We hope you enjoy!

Mindfulness Student Quote

Maria Hermann doesn’t just teach a yoga class. Instead, she welcomes people to gather at the sacred space of Moon River, to witness their growth in a communal experience and soak in the colorful drops of wisdom she is honored to share. Moon River, by the way, is a lovely little slice of paradise and Maria proudly extols its virtues.

When I first met Maria I felt safe with her immediately, and from there, things just got better. Her 75-minute class Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation, which is currently taught at 7 pm on Wednesday evenings, is not intended to control the outcomes of each person’s experience. Rather, nature will organically plant a rich and compelling seed, a new tool procured. She is satisfied with being one of many influences in their personal wellness.

Originally, a back injury and resulting chronic pain initiated her into “body trauma” and the much needed practice of healing. She is, therefore, sensitive to what the body needs and what actually, truly works. Yoga and meditation have become her way of life; she is a great role model for successful repair.

Maria’s class isn’t just about one’s physique; although, the body’s health is certainly a vessel worthy of attention. This is also a time for going within, gaining a deeper understanding of our personal self and what it is we are energetically carrying, the way stretching our limbs allows breath to enter, the way holding a pose builds empowerment.

What to expect

In class action shot

Maria likes to create a casual and open atmosphere. It is important to her that people feel relaxed and authentic, without regard for rigid formality. She shared that she “holds space for inner exploration, healing, and transformation in body and spirit. Arrive as you are and discover the gifts of yoga.”  There is intentional time to settle and connect before they “breathe together.” It is common to then practice a mix of Yin and Hatha yoga.

Yin encourages the slower movements and longer-held poses which apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body and increase circulation. This meditative approach cultivates awareness of inner silence – or the realization of a need to purge all that toxic noise and clutter! Hatha helps balance the strengths and weaknesses of the physical body to enable energy and awareness to flow freely.

Likewise, Maria infuses her knowledge of Vipassana meditation throughout the class, since it also promotes a way of “seeing”, developing clarity of mind. When one is able to allow their thoughts to flow freely, not judging them but gently releasing them, it effectively conditions a calm that helps us master the meditative experience. Maria understands and guides this possibility. There is no unrealistic need to force a blank mind. Thanks for that, Maria.  

Maria suggests her class is a time to detox from our electronics, to retreat from draining demands, to manifest what happens when we stop and allow restoration, meaning and a kindred peace.

While it sometimes requires true effort to venture out on a wintery darkened evening, one can benefit greatly from the group encounter awaiting them at Moon River.  Maria’s students embrace the nurturing energy of their peers. They learn that vulnerability brings insight and the blessings of communal support. We are people, after all, and people need people.

Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

Written by Kim Thompson 

Kim is a mother of three sons, a Stillwater High School English teacher, local columnist, and freelancer for community interests. Kim is a voracious reader and student of metaphysics and ancient tribal spirituality, gardener and foodie, a motorcyclist, and a poet. Her family has resided in Stillwater for six generations.  She is passionately invested in community relationships that promote the health of body, mind and soul. 

Moonbeams: Kundalini Yoga & Meditation

This blog is the first of a collection called, "Moonbeams: Illuminating what happens here" curated by local writer and community member, Kim Thompson and other guest writers. We hope you enjoy a peek into what goes on at our studio and that you will be inspired to come visit us to see for yourself!

Moon River Studio Building

On a quiet morning at the start of Spring Break, the sunrise warmed Chestnut Street as I left my parked car and stepped down into the lower level of The Compass Center, where Moon River Wellness resides.  Despite the building’s modest exterior, there is a womb of clean beauty within - a classic hidden gem. Soft lighting, exotic vibrations of gong, flute, and sanskrit chants, an earthy incense gently infused my senses.

Well, well, good morning healing energy.

The largest space used at Moon River was once a small venue for musical recitals, which creates an ideal space for yoga, meditation, and other spiritual or holistic events. It is pretty; it allows sound to flow, and it feels sacred. This is where I found the lovely Melissa Laraby seated at the front of the room on a mat.

Melissa is a wife, mother of two children, and also a psychologist at The NEST, just half a block up the street. She found Moon River via mutual friends on Facebook when she anonymously won a gift basket donated by owner Kali Higgins. When Melissa went to collect the generous salt lamp, massage stones,and an anointing oil, she realized Moon River Wellness was a natural space for her training and experience in Kundalini Yoga and mentioned it to Kali. This style of yoga is less common in the Stillwater area, so it was no surprise Kali Higgins later requested Melissa’s collaboration.

Pure serendipity.

Even though Melissa is dedicated enough to travel from the south metro to work in our community, she expresses a heartfelt investment in our town, “This is where I work, so now I am a part of this community too.”  Community is a word I hear a lot at Moon River. It seems to be a core mission for the carefully selected instructors Kali employs. It is clear to me that Melissa is among those who have a deeper purpose to build connection, relationships, a safehaven of healing and inspiration.

Kundalini Yoga goes beyond the simple benefits of physical fitness; this gets into the heart and soul of true yoga. Melissa understands that there is more to it. Ancient yogis were not so concerned with external beauty, a great bi-product of yoga. They were concerned with keeping the body flexible and clean, allowing the natural flow of energy - through breath and movement - to rise up from the root chakra to the crown, allowing a divine connection only a group of yogis can energetically establish on certain levels. Sure, yoga feels good, but it also promotes a deeper healing of mind, body and soul.  The solo yogi is a wonderful thing. However, a collaborative circle of yogis is a powerful influence upon the individual student.

The Kundalini class was interesting and memorable. We warmed up with movements I had never done - and I have done yoga for years. I learned the “Breath of Fire” and words used in ancient wisdom and ritual. Melissa’s composed essence and light humor made me feel safe and nurtured, open and full. The quiet, simple meditative time was a well-earned cooling down period. What a fantastic beginning to the day ahead and its ensuing weekend!  When she sang the closing songs, I was literally brought to a state of elation. I could have listened to her voice and considered those I hold dear far longer than the class could last. So I took that little piece with me, in my body, in my mind, in my heart.

Prenatal Yoga

Melissa is also trained in Prenatal Yoga and Mother-Baby Yoga. Her position at The NEST has an upcoming collaboration with Moon River for a Prenatal Series in April starting next Thursday (April 5). If you can’t make the whole six weeks, you can participate in a modified version.

Melissa told me she loves to learn, is always learning, and knows that when she is teaching, she is the best version of herself. She also shared, like many people called upon to be a teacher, that she will let her intuition lead her with many specifics of her class. This is why I had some comforting familiarity and some delightful changes the second time I came to Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. I usually work on Friday mornings, but next week is Good Friday, a school holiday where I work. Guess I get to attend yet another time before I come back this summer!

Written by Kim Thompson 

Kim is a mother of three sons, a Stillwater High School English teacher, local columnist, and freelancer for community interests. Kim is a voracious reader and student of metaphysics and ancient tribal spirituality, gardener and foodie, a motorcyclist, and a poet. Her family has resided in Stillwater for six generations.  She is passionately invested in community relationships that promote the health of body, mind and soul. 

Are you constantly ignoring your inner wisdom or tapping into your knowing?

Prajnaparadha translates to 'an offense against wisdom'--it's an imbalance that happens when a part of you continues to act in a way that harms the rest of you. It's when you know deep down something is not good for you and you ignore the message and do it anyway.

You know you need to get to bed earlier--you feel it in your exhausted body and tired mind, and yet you stay awake. You know getting onto your mat and taking time for your practice will make you feel better, but you sit on the couch and scroll on your phone. You know the gluten in the beer you are holding will give you a stomachache. You drink it anyway. You know that friend/lover isn't good for you, you get together anyway. You know you are too busy to take on one more thing, you say yes anyway...The examples are varied and endless and only change throughout our lives. Hopefully as we age, we get better at aligning our deep knowing with our actions.

Often times we need to be thrown into a crisis before we listen to this inner wisdom. The body eventually gets sick. If we won't face reality, reality will take hold and settle into our bones. The true nature of things will show up (what we are unwilling to face), and we are then forced to address the points of imbalance in our lives, bodies, minds, relationships, jobs...you name it.

The VOICE

Last week was a doozey for me (and I heard I wasn't the only one--hope you're okay, too). Coming off a week out of town, in deep study with one of my teachers, plus a full moon and a birthday celebration, I've been on an emotional rollercoaster ride. I travelled way up high and way down low and am moving so quickly I can't even see the difference between the points. The body reads it all as overwhelm, and I kick into stress mode. I feel it in the tightening of my chest. It tightens when I get pumped up about a new collaboration or offering, and it tightens when I feel the weight of responsibility fall onto my shoulders.

When anxiety comes into the room, my perspective shape shifts into a negative, worrying, glass half-empty persona. The "I get to clean this amazing studio, I love being in this space", turns into "I have to clean the studio." The "I get to attend this amazing workshop" turns into "I shouldn't be here, I have too much work that needs to be done."

When I catch myself in this state I notice a couple of things. First, I notice the quality of my breath--it usually is a good indicator of my internal temperature. Then I pay attention to my mind, my body and it's sensations. And by shifting my attention to one or both or all of them, I find there is usually a deeper message within that is waiting to be heard. If I can sit with myself long enough and be present, I can hear the wisdom that is trying to find a voice. I can see where prajnaparadha is occurring, and I can access if I am ready to address this inconsistency. Often times I don't even need to be still to know what needs to happen. I already know what I need to do...I just need to do it.

For me, lately the biggest crime I've committed against my wisdom is so basic, it's laughable: I avoid sleep, even when I crave it so. How many of my health ailments and bad-ittudes would be cured with just a little bit of rest? This last month of small business management has pushed me into new level of lack of sleep, and I know...I really know...I cannot go on like this, even if I can and have been.

Which is where my Catholic roots come into play--no, not in feeling guilty for all the lost sleep...but...Lent! I have been so busy that I forgot to participate in Lent this year. Lent is one aspect of the faith that I was born into, that still holds a place in my heart. I've always been a person to observe the 40 days of Lent and devote myself to deepen my spiritual practice in some way during this time. I'm exactly one month late, but I decided I would start anyway. And for me I committed to listen to my inner wisdom, and in this specific case, to get to bed early...for 40 days! This means giving up working too late and allowing time for much needed rest.

Two nights ago was my first day, (hence why you are receiving this blog today...I made sure to go to bed instead of pushing through to finish this post 2 nights in a row). Even though I still missed one appointment yesterday, (because the plate + brain still overfloweth), I have a much better attitude about life and the load all just because I am better rested. Because I chose to take care of myself in a small and simple way.

So, what about you? Do you relate to prajnaparadha? Is there something you have been ignoring that you are ready to take note of and maybe even change? What small thing can you do to take care of you that you have been putting off or ignoring? I'd love to hear about it. Let's cheer each other on. As usual, we are here at the studio, holding space for you for your self-care needs.

It's been a month since I last posted here. There is too much to tell you, and I can't possibly cover it all, but I will leave some highlights, so you can get back to whatever it was you were doing before you clicked on this post. 

New faces, New offerings

Intro to Yoga
  • April brings us a new teacher, Rita and her much needed weekly, class offering, Intro to Yoga. I have been working with this woman since November, she is wonderful and we are lucky to have her joining our collective. Click + scroll for a full description of her class and bio>> We hope this offering will draw in those people who have been waiting to come in, but not sure where to start, as well as people who want to learn more about what Yoga really is about--beyond the poses.
  • We also have a guest writer, Kim who will blog here and there for us in the coming months. We look forward to having her voice and and willingness to share about all that is going on at the studio through her writing! You can soon find what she writes in a new blog Category: "Moonbeams - illuminating what happens here." You may also see her in studio taking a yoga class or attending a workshop. Let's give her a warm welcome! 

Kiss My Asana Happenings

KMA
  • Our studio is participating in Mind Body Solutions, "Kiss My Asana" fundraiser in April. We will hold one special donation event: New Moon Sacred Sound Bath on April 14 from 10:30-11:30am on behalf of the cause. We will officially debut some new musical instruments that have made their way to Compass Center for Healing, including a gong, Tibetan singing bowl and 7 beautiful chakra crystal singing bowls! Please preregister for this event as we only have room for 16 people.
  • We are also a Passport Studio--which means if you decide to buy their passport, you can take one class with us (and at many other participating studios) for FREE during the month of April!

New collaboration with the N.E.S.T.: Prenatal Yoga!

  • Also starting in April, Melissa (our Kundalini teacher) from the NEST will start a prenatal yoga series at Moon River! The classes will run for 6 weeks, from 8:30-9:30am on Thursdays. Please tell all your pregnant friends! We would love to keep this an ongoing offering if the community finds it is needed. 

Intro to Pranic Healing + Pranic Healing® Level 1

I think that is all the big points that need to be shared for now. We still have a lot of wonderful events coming up, this weekend and in the following months, but I will save diving into them for another post. You can always join our newsletter or check our event's page! 

Much thanks for being here + reading along!

Sincerely,

Kali

Do you recognize that you are whole?

It sure is easy to go down that rabbit hole of not enoughness. I don't know how many times I see the affirmation, "You are enough" pop up at retreats and workshops among participants, as well as in my own life. It seems it is a universal remembering and a daily practice--to keep believing  that we are intrinsically enough--that we are whole and complete, just as we are.

When we return to our awareness of our wholeness, we can also recognize how others are whole, too. When we tap into this truth, we might notice that our culture's obsession with fixing ourselves or trying to become this or that is really a false way of relating to ourselves and each other. It is a way that forgets to honor the beauty of the mystery of the journey and its unfolding.  

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On the path of "healing," it is the same. We are not trying to get anywhere. We are not trying to cure anything.  If we are trying to cure ourselves, we will only find disappointment. If we want to cure ourselves of pain, isn't it inevitable that even if we "succeed" at removing the pain, that life will eventually serve us another?  There is no "there." And yet our healing process can go further when our perspective and judgment softens. Instead of spending our energy worrying about if we are doing the "right" thing or fixing ourselves to be different than we are, what if we recognized our wholeness and completeness in this very moment? If we could let go of all that time we spend focusing on our hang-ups and reservations or blemishes, we can free up more energy to channel toward more meaningful endeavors, like simply being. here. now. And being okay with or even appreciating who we are today--making peace with ourselves in this moment.

And knowing that, I still catch myself getting tied up in the needing to know the specifics around my life, to know I'm doing the "right" thing. I think as a yoga teacher, lately it has showed up in my feeling like I need to follow a certain tradition or lineage, to subscribe to a certain style in order to "advance" on the path. As I've been searching for the "right" place to deepen my studies as a teacher I have hit road block after road block.  This kind of stuckness is what happens when I am trying to control something rather than trust the process. Ego wants to plan everything. Ego wants to do it "right."

I mentioned in a previous post about a plan I had to become certified in a process that was trademarked and stamped by the experts, and my 2018 began with the notice that I didn't get in to the club. I was surprised how down I felt about it, but as time has moved forward I am finding it was a bruising of the ego more than of the heart. A sort of lightness has come over me since I received my rejection letter, and it opened up these next two years for a new kind of exploring and living into the "answers."

As a result of not getting into this program, on a last minute whim (because I had some free time), I was able to attend a yoga nidra class and chakra workshop with Dr. Indu Arora in Northfield at an inspiring wellness studio, Prema Yoga. It felt so good to be back in the "classroom" so to speak. While there, I was reminded that one Yoga has become many  stylized yogas in the West. In my need to find a style--to be unique--I lost touch with the truth of it all.

Yoga is a practice where, when in tree pose, we are meant to connect with the tree, not to a specific teacher or style of a tree. Yoga encourages us to understand ourselves by observing natural phenomena. It is inspired by natural processes, and when we practice yoga with a capital "Y," we should be able to see a glimpse of the cosmos. To simplify, yoga is inspiration from nature. And as I (re)heard this explanation of yoga from Indu, it took me back to the basics. This basic knowing inspired me to move forward in my studies in an organic way rather than an overplanned way. I noticed Dr. Indu's 5 day yoga nidra intensive opportunity at Asheville Yoga Center coming up at the end of February, and there was another clearing in the forest--schedule was pretty much open. I talked it over with my family and lined up the subs for my yoga classes.  I look forward to visiting the center, to test drive if I may do my 500 hour teacher training program there, as they have a build your own sort of program, and this 5 day intensive would count for credit if I decided to continue there. No pressure, no plan, just pure following the flow. 

In the same breath someone reached out to me from another program that I had started in 2012 (6 years ago!) At the time I drove up to Duluth where the only practitioner of this style of yoga lived. I checked myself into a hotel and met up with her at a community center where we practiced together. She gave me a booklet to practice at home and we stayed in touch over the years, meeting up to learn more when possible. At one point, I reached out asking if her teachers would ever consider doing a correspondence training with me and 6 years later, when my schedule freed up, I received a message telling me they are accepting 5 students (by invitation only) for the first run of their online program. The best things in life can't be planned. 

When we know we are enough we drop those parts of our lives that are operating in fear, and we can let go of those things that are not serving our highest self. We can move more freely from a place of trust, and as time goes on, we know in our hearts that  things will fall into place, eventually. Somehow we start to know that everything will be okay, even when we can't see the light.

That being said, things at the studio took a dip in January. As many people heard news of restaurants and businesses downtown Stillwater closing shop, one might guess in the throes of winter, that business in Minnesota can be tough. And when things get tough, sometimes doubt comes out to play--we wonder if we are at first not successful if we are meant to keep going or if we should jump ship. 

As my own intentions become clearer, I believe this work will become easier. Part of this awakening is allowing me to better understand what is in alignment with our work. After January, I realized that I really have no desire to become a yoga studio owner. I realized I want to be part of a community--a sustainable collective of people who want to hold space for healing and spiritual growth...together. Yoga happens to be one of the ways that our studio offers this kind of support. Some of the other ways we offer support is by inviting people in to share their gifts with the community. 

That being said, I hope you have noticed the events, classes and workshops we have planned for you this Winter/Spring. Know that they have been put on the calendar with great intention. We hope that some offerings that speak to your heart and create space for you to go a little deeper into your self-care and spiritual practice. 

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One such offering was born from a community member asking us to put together a retreat "sampler," for people to come freely (donation optional) to try out some of our weekly classes. And so we followed the flow. I wrote an email suggesting the idea to our teachers and  immediately 6 teachers wrote they were interested in sharing, and 4 of them were able to agree on a date. This upcoming Saturday, February 17, will be our first collective offering, we are calling the "Progressive Relaxation Retreat." Read more here to reserve your spot >> This kind of offering is an example of how I hope our studio will co-create, with our teachers leading the path with their hearts, together.

Beyond February, March is chock-full of wonderful opportunities for inspiration and self-care. The first Saturday of March (March 3), we welcome back Angie Fern for another foam roller & tennis ball workshop. There are only 4 spots left in this class. If you want to make it happen, just do it and please sign-up soon. This class sold-out in January, and I sense it will sell out again. Not only will you walk out feeling more relaxed than after a massage, but you will take home new tools for how to release tension in your body.  

 The second weekend of March (March 10), Thomasina & Bob Fisk return with their sound meditation workshop, but they are adding a sweet element--sacred cacao. They debuted this combination at the Village Hall in Marine this past weekend, and I have only heard positive feedback. After personally devouring more chocolate than anyone wants to know about over the weekend, I am possibly overly excited to find another reason to love chocolate. We really look forward to welcoming this offering into our Moon River space in less than a month. There are only 11 spots left, so again, please reserve your ticket soon! (Their sound event sold out last time, so again...go with the flow, but you may want to sign up soon--wink wink).

The third weekend in March, (March 17) , on both St. Patrick's Day and the New Moon, is a workshop not to be overlooked.  We have guest teacher, Kristina Ahern, joining us for her first offering (hopefully of many) at Moon River Wellness. After having a personal transformation after working with a mantra and doing group chanting class two summers ago, it has been on my bucket list to attend one of Kristina's classes. She is one of only a handful of teachers in the Midwest to go through training in Vedic chanting and to top it off she will bring to us her Honoring the Moon workshop on a New Moon, at Moon River Wellness!  Does it get any better? No, I don't think it does. There are 8 spots left, so again, sign-up as soon as it makes sense for you. This is one I am especially stoked for!

As you part "plan" and part flow, trust that the right class will fit in with right timing. I hope to see some of you in the studio soon, and I realize this blog is becoming more the length of an essay, so I will hold off to say more about our April & May happenings. If you need to know, click through our special events calendar to learn more.

Until then, I hope to see some of you at our weekly classes. When I can, I try to attend as much as I can. You can drop-in for $16.50 or buy a class pack to save some money. Note that class packs will be on sale for $10 off this Saturday at our Progressive Relaxation Retreat!

Have a great week ahead!

Many blessings,

Kali

Answering the Call: Thank You for Your Generosity!

Last year I attended a retreat by writer and dream-worker, Toko-pa Turner. It was my gift to myself before our second baby was to join our family, and it was exactly what I needed. Much of her retreat shared snippets of wisdom from her book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home. (There are so many pearls of insight infused in this read! I highly recommend).

Now, as I venture out more fully into the world with this wellness studio, deepening my work in community stewardship, I continue to find solace in her words. Growing up as an adoptee in a town with little diversity by way of ethnicity, a big part of my life's work has been around answering questions like, "Where do I belong?" "How do I belong?" "Who is my community?"

Throughout my teens and early twenties I spent a lot of time in what Toko-pa calls communities of "false belonging"--places where I gave up parts of myself in exchange for membership of the group. And sometimes STILL to this day I find myself drawn to those places, people and programs, that dangle shiny promises of belonging. I find myself drawn to a program of study, not just for the learning but for the "family" that comes along with it. There is something of comfort for me there. Student life whether formally or informally is a place where I am comfortable--being guided by a teacher, immersed in study surrounded by other lifelong learners and enthusiasts. 

As I read Toko-pa's book, I am reminded of the delicate process of what it means to build community. She mentions, "It may seem obvious, but two things are absolutely necessary to creating community over the long term: someone willing to take the lead and invite others to gather, and someone willing to answer that call."

She goes on to say, "answering the call is also a kind of generosity. Beyond receiving what the other is offering, it is also a way of giving  relevance to their [the leader's] efforts. It says that no matter how busy or tired I might be, community with you is important to me..." and "with enough calls made, and enough answers to those calls, the fabric of community is eventually woven."

Thank you for answering that call. Thank you for showing up when you are busy and tired, even at those times your teacher couldn't make it to the studio ;) We are so lucky to have you.

I am so grateful for the people who have stepped forward to make this studio a possibility, generously offering your gifts and presence to help lift us up. Thank YOU. I also want to thank our building owner Dave, whose vision for this space is less wrapped into money and more heart-centered and community driven. We could not do this work without your support and trust in our process. While I'm here, I also want to thank our teachers, both regular teachers and visiting teachers, for taking the time out of your lives to answer the call to share what teachings are alive in you with others. And of course, I want to thank our students (who are also our teachers, friends and family). We are now into our third month open and it has been great to meet you and spend time with you in this way.

 A glimpse at our most recent workshop with guest teacher, Angie Fern. Catch our next Foam Roller & Tennis Balls Workshop in March:  Register Here .

A glimpse at our most recent workshop with guest teacher, Angie Fern. Catch our next Foam Roller & Tennis Balls Workshop in March: Register Here.

A new student found our 30 for $39 deal online and on a whim decided to sign up. She mentioned to another student, "I feel like I belong here." This feeling of belonging she shared is not something that I could create alone. It comes directly from our community. We are all in this together and this is what will sustain our model. There is still plenty of work ahead of us to keep this good thing going, but on dreary days it seems more manageable when I know I am not going at it alone.

The people who are showing up, answering the call with their generosity and with their hearts remind me of why I do the work I do, which leaves me with another quote from Toko-pa, "Leadership is essential to community, but in the reciprocal model, this role can rotate between members depending on the needs of the group. Unlike the way we normally think of leadership, as one person telling others what to do, reciprocal leadership is about engaging everyone to find the way forward. It is spherical in nature rather than hierarchical. In this way of seeing things, a great leader is an expression of their collective, not the star...Reciprocal leadership ultimately recognizes the circle itself as the teacher."

Thank you, for being on this journey with me and our Moon River community. Thank you for being part of the circle! 

With gratitude,

Kali

A moment to breathe

 Sunrise shot from my backyard after teaching  Rise & Shine Yoga  this morning.

Sunrise shot from my backyard after teaching Rise & Shine Yoga this morning.

 Reading up on the "elephant"--My card draw from Rise & Shine practice. Join us at 6am on   Tuesdays   or   Thursdays  .

Reading up on the "elephant"--My card draw from Rise & Shine practice. Join us at 6am on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

This morning as I drove home from my early morning class, I could do nothing but smile. Not every day, but pretty close to every time I teach my 6am class, I get to walk outside to view the morning sun as it invites the rest of the world to wake up. There is a beauty and power in the quiet that rests in downtown Stillwater as I enter the building. There is a light I feel in my heart when I wake before the day officially begins to share my practice with others.

In class we talked about our current challenges and how we can support ourselves during this time. We are moving between first quarter moon toward full moon, which often calls our attention toward what crises (or opportunities) we have cultivated and how we will grow from these experiences. I brought in some Animal Cards to call in on nature to support us in sharing more insight. I drew the "Elephant." This animal is one that I have forged a relationship with over the years and so it was a delight to see her show up to my morning card pull. Like most cases, I felt the image and the words and the energy behind the card really meet me where I'm at. 

Elephant first reminds me to be grateful. We are short of 5 people to meet my goal for how many students I was hoping to gather by the first 6 months...we aren't even one month in yet! We know that we have been blessed beyond measure, and each day we give thanks for the opportunity to build community--to create a space for people to practice and reconnect to their lives and to what makes them come alive and be well. The elephant also reminds us to be gracious and gentle in the process. Even though we are 5 people short of our goal, we are coming to realize that our goal perhaps was set a little lower than what it should have been...aka we are LEARNING, too!!! Always learning here...

That being said, we try to have the wisdom to know that obstacles will be ahead of us, and that some of those obstacles in fact are providing us with direction and guidance to where we need to focus our attention. In that regard, we are so thankful for these "obstacles."

I could go on and on about it all, but speaking of obstacles...the first draft of this blog I accidentally deleted this afternoon, so I am going to stop here before I do it again ;) But before I go I would like to mention there are still some 30 days unlimited yoga for $39 special offers left! If you haven't grabbed yours yet, it's a steal of a deal, really. And we are hoping to add more classes in the New Year, so grab yours before they are gone!

Last, I want to put a shout out to some amazing events we have coming up at the Studio with visiting teachers as well as our own teachers. We know December is a busy month, and that's exactly why we wanted to make sure there are plenty of options for you in case you need something a little more than our weekly classes. Sign up soon.  

DECEMBER

Saturday, December 9 {4:30-6pm}: Yoga & Sound Immersion

Sunday, December 10 {9:30am-4:00pm}: Stability of Earth: Chakra Mandala Painting

Sunday, December 17 {5:30-7:00pm}: New Moon Tea Ceremony

JANUARY  

Friday-Sunday, January 5-7: Winter Yoga & Meditation Retreat (one spot now open--email kali@moonriverwellness.com asap to inquire)

Saturday, January 13 {10:30-11:15am}: ***new monthly class***Yoga Family Fun (the first in a series of 3 classes! more details coming soon!)

Saturday, January 13 {1:00-4:00pm}: Foam Roller & Tennis Ball Workshop

Sunday, January 21 {1:30-4:30pm}: Ignite Your Light Program ~WATER~ Begins! (4 month program)

Hope to see you soon + thanks again for your support!

With love, 

Kali

Studio Founder

 

One week!!!

And we are just one week away from our New Studio Open House. Wow. I'm going to say it again, "Wow." 

So much gratitude and awe for this process is bubbling here. So much learning happening. Letting go and having faith and allowing. Remembering to have fun and take care of ourselves through it all. Breathing through those moments of anxiety and noticing those painful choices we make again and again when we are under stress and pressure. Being gentle in those moments and sometimes choosing a different path instead--one with less suffering.

We have no idea what to expect from here other than to know that it's out of our hands. We can set our intentions for the best and put our wishes out into the world, but now it's the community's turn to respond.  While fliers still need to be hung (doing that today) and policies and procedures still need to be written (doing that tomorrow), I know something far greater and bigger is at work here; I know that no one person could do this "thing" alone and for that I'm thankful for all the helpers--seen and unseen. 

A lot has happened in the past two weeks. Our floor was finished 2 weekends ago, just 4 days before our Ayurvedic Self Care Rituals class with Anna Wiens. The night was lovely. We had 11 women sitting in circle reconnecting to our bodies and souls. I brought some of my leftover oils home from class and shared the oil massage practice with my daughter. It is part of our bedtime routine now. Everyone had such a great time--it was just what we needed. We look forward to welcoming Anna back for another class come Winter. After being in the space, we are even more excited for the possibilities this new place holds!

 The set up for Ayurvedic Self Care Rituals before we dimmed the lights on the new floors! 

The set up for Ayurvedic Self Care Rituals before we dimmed the lights on the new floors! 

 Self-care is fun and is best when shared with others!

Self-care is fun and is best when shared with others!

After a wonderful night of self-care-- I packed up my bags and flew out to Seattle for a retreat that was on my calendar for months. It was my first trip away from my youngest daughter, and while I was torn about going, I am still unpacking the insight and clarity that came through from my time away. 

I recently saw a meme that said, "Solitude is a catalyst for innovation." I truly believe from my heart that this notion is true. However, for me, this solitude happens within a community context. This retreat was my 4th Circle of Trust Retreat and my first experience being a focus person of the "Circle of Trust." I was held in circle for 2 hours as I worked through my question and sat with my soul. It was not only healing but life affirming. It is my hope to bring this Courage work to our new studio, and I am starting the application process to do so, in the mean time. If I am accepted into the program, it will require some time away from the studio for the training, so I will keep you posted on where we land there.

 Retreat participants of Courage for Center & Renewal's Gateway Retreat, 2017 @ Bainbridge Island, WA.

Retreat participants of Courage for Center & Renewal's Gateway Retreat, 2017 @ Bainbridge Island, WA.

Life continues outside of retreat mode, and this past Monday I returned home to a full week of work. We are getting our new business cards, punch cards and brochures designed and we are already planning a build out for a bigger storage space for props. I firmed up plans with 3 fabulous teachers we now have on the schedule for December (Yoga & Sound Immersion, Stability of Earth: First Chakra Workshop with Chanti and New Moon Tea Ceremony). I was hesistant about so many December offerings, but it is one of those months that call for a lot of extra self-care. We hope to see you at one or two or all of them! I know I plan to go to as many as I am able.

Beyond that some things to note is the schedule for the day for our Open House as well as the schedule for our classes starting November 6. Have you picked out what class you will go to first? Let us know you're coming here.

IMG_4892.JPG

Well there is not much time to lose--as the first snow falls, the weather reminds us that winter is right around the corner. We hope that in your winter plans you consider making a visit or two with us! We are running a 20% off punch card special at our Open House and will offer some free mini class experiences and demonstrations. The demonstrations and all that will be held in the yoga space in the lower level and the refreshments will be up in Suite 300. To find out more about what we are giving away and who else will be there follow our Facebook Event in the mean time. We hope to see you next Saturday! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

~Kali, Studio Founder

 

 

What's happening at the Center?

Hello everyone! Welcome to our first blog! 

First off, thank you for all your support and words of encouragement as we expand. In just a few days of creating our Facebook invitation for our New Studio Open House over 2,100 people were reached without boosting (paying Facebook to advertise) or notifying anyone (inviting people). Your response so far has warmed my heart, and I am grateful for you. The last few weeks have been something else--lots of coordination and meetings, and yet there is a sort of effortlessness that has risen from the process as well. 

I discovered through different jobs and in life--and you may relate, too--that hard work is required for anything you are passionate about, but when things are really in alignment, there is a level of ease that comes into play--some people call it being in "flow." It has been such a joy in the past month to find flow as we ride the waves of uncertainty and see what shows up, holding steady to a vision and a mission. We are committed to co-create a place where people can deepen their inner knowing, spirituality and community relationships with the support of ongoing classes, programs, retreats and workshops focused in cultivating mindfulness and mind-body-spirit connection. In a society where people are glued to electronics, there is a call for more opportunities for genuine connection to both ourselves and to others--and we hope this studio will facilitate more opportunities for people to call in deeper relationships and meaning into their lives. 

It seems that people are on board with this mission as, in just a couple weeks I interviewed 7 yoga and meditation teachers and 5 of them are on board to start in November with me, and the other two may possibly join us for the Winter Schedule. I also started a conversation by chance with local tai chi practitioner and long-time meditation circle leader from our community about how they may be involved with bringing this place to life and look forward to whatever collaboration may form there. It truly takes a village.

As far as progress goes with the physical space--this past weekend we removed the current flooring to give ourselves a fresh start. The floor was well-loved, but we felt compelled to "break ground" in order to re-center and provide a strong base for our intentions and practice. The new floors are ordered, and we will pick them up later this week and install them over the weekend if all goes according to plan. Our family also put a trip on the books to go to Madison, Wisconsin to pick up a special altar and shelf that are being custom made with re-purposed wood by the talented hands and heart of a new friend I made at the Sisters Seekers Gathering. It takes a village.

The teachers bios and class descriptions are slowly being uploaded online so be sure to keep checking back. Also, as of last Friday, we have a working schedule you can take a look at as you plan out your weeks ahead! Of course our least favorite--or mine anyway--is the whole money deal--can this all just be FREE? (Maybe someday?) But for now, I'm getting all those details set up and organized and will hope to have some more information as to what to budget for as we open our doors for classes and how to pay for a class, etc. Patience, patience, patience--a constant practice in my life.

For those wanting to offer some extra support during this time--do yourSELF a favor and sign up for our lovely guest, Anna Wien's Ayurvedic Self Care Rituals workshop, happening Tuesday, October 17. Your mind, body and spirit WILL thank you. Plus, feel good about attending because you are supporting an individual/business/organization that is devoted to ethical practices and care for the land and the greater community.  Did you know Anna only moved to Minnesota a year and a half ago? It was then she met local herbalists in the Twin Cities who explained to her there was no established place for them to get organic herbs--they were harvesting from land laden with toxic chemicals and industrial waste. Compelled to fill a need, she quit her job that December to begin planning a new herb farm. She started planting early last April without really a clue how it would all go--and since then it's history--her work has been so well received by the community this past year she has already sold out of all her bulk supplies. Anna truly embodies the essence of the mindful entrepreneur but most important of a compassionate human being.  Simply being around her grounded energy and presence when I first met her was enough to make me want to encourage her to drive to Stillwater and bring her magic to share with our community. Since she loves offering her work with new people, it wasn't too hard to convince her to come. So, let's give her a warm welcome by attending her workshop. ALSO: an added bonus is you will get to come into the new studio early~a little sneak preview before our open house! Can't wait to see you there :)

Over and out ~

Kali