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.

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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