Long Story Short. We’re starting over… again. It’s part of running a business.
(continue reading or watch video here: https://youtu.be/UqG47w2SKdE )
We have a NEW Email system for the studio. We’ve tried 5 email providers in the past 9 years. I’ve spent the past 6 days searching, sorting and importing to get us all here. We’re hoping this one is the best. (Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/2Y2GQMY )
If it’s been a while since you’ve been here you should know… we now have 2 studio rooms, softer floors, a/c, 15 + teachers, 2 massage therapist and an acupressurist. We offer yoga, meditation, teacher training, retreats, mindful health coaching and employee wellness programs.
Our Yoga for Anxiety class and other video courses will be available online for you to practice in the comfort of your own home very soon.
And our Summer Solstice celebration is this Friday night, 5:30-7:30pm, if you’d like to check any of that out. (For the Solstice, sign up ahead of time to be entered to win one of our 3 LoveStrong Packs, or just drop in and say hello!)
Someone said to me recently, ‘you’ve had a hell of a year and yet you seem to be doing better than okay’.
I hadn’t really thought that much about it. But now looking back… I guess I’ve done some things in the past 12 months. I bought the Subaru, turned 50, launched LoveStrong Adventures, brought on 5 new teachers, retreated to Maui, came back to face losing my Dad, started off the New Year saying goodbye and then shortly after, said hello to a whole new cool clan from the York side of our family thanks to a little spit kit. And now we’re back in teacher training creating brand new yoga teachers for the fall. The world keeps spinning.
Sounds like a lot when ya put it that way. I’m sure if you went back over your last 12 months many of you would gather similar activities because… life.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here to say that I think there are two kinds of people in the world. Yep just two. That’s it.
There are people who enjoy most of life and people who don’t.
My Son argues this with me often but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my email, so I’m going to boldly and unapologetically state my opinion here.
There is Always a Silver Lining, Rose colored glasses help, my glass is always half full and Mary Poppins is my hero. (Can you imagine that?)
He doesn’t disagree with all of this. He just says it’s not that simple. Not everyone can hum a supercalifragilistic song and make all their troubles go away. I counter with yes…but it’s a start!
He’s a happy kid. I’m a happy Mom. But it wasn’t always this way. I dug my heels in early to figure out how to be calmer, happier & stronger. (Found yoga, practiced, let go of a bunch of s#it, nourished my mind, retrained my brain, love my life, became a super parent! Yada, yada, you’ve already heard it).
He knows how to find a silver lining. Even if he still rolls his eyes at me. Just yesterday… he was stressed about some things, so we went to dinner where he charmed the waitress for a special dessert like a 4 year old. And while we were there… someone keyed his car.
He modified the song a bit… Supercalifu#&alistic!
Looking back… It’s a combination of self awareness, self-care and self love that makes you the kind of person that can find their own silver lining. So yeah, it’s been a year… s#it happens, silver linings appear and I keep practicing.
FIND YOUR SILVER LININGS!
Here’s a few of mine:
I stopped having hourly hot flashes. Brew Dr. has a new Power Flower Flavor. I’ve seen more of Oregon in the past 6 months with LoveStrong hikers, than I have my entire life. The peonies I planted a year ago are actually blooming this week! (see below). I feel closer to my family than I have in recent years. And strangely, I feel more connected to my Dad. We have the best group of Love Teachers that did everything for me throughout this past winter. Everything. I recently watched the latest Mary Poppins movie and I highly recommend it over GOT for the uplifting vibe and adorable animation. Aaaand….. best of all…
I now know with more conviction than ever that my practices have created a more resilient version of me. One that embraces change, challenge and the unexpected. Ship-Shape, Spit-Spot.
“Everything is possible, even the impossible”, Mary P.
Upcoming Opps to practice with Love!
(Signing up early really helps us out).
May 19th Beazell/Mary’s Peak Hike
June 8th Summer Ayurveda Workshop
June 9th Blair Lake Hike
June 15th Summer School with Love begins
June 15th Sound Bath with Viola Rose
Plus, Summer School!
So, when life’s a real pea souper,
you must choose to be a trouper
For your life comes with a lifetime guaranteeeeeee (MP)
Was it Science, Fate or Magic? Does it matter? Aren’t we all truly connected in some way? Doesn’t every experience broaden your horizons and give you the opportunity to live more fully? This one did.
Here’s a short story about the power of connection, the power of love and the power of DNA when you don’t let the stats stop you and you embrace all the possibilities.
It started with a barn dance in January 1943. The facts are few. The details vague at best. #younglove
A baby girl was born September 22nd 1943 on the Olympic peninsula and was immediately and unexpectedly transported to her new loving family in Spokane. No records. No history. No explanation.
75 years later she and I matched on Ancestry DNA.
You might call that science. #thescienceoflove
In 2010, My grandma passed down a family secret to my mom. Grandma’s sister, Bette, had a love child. (That’s the story we’ve settled on based on the clues of a forbidden teen age affair). Mom began to search for this child but with everyone involved deceased and the fact that it was a well kept secret… there was simply no information to be had. She even tried the ancestry DNA tests. No luck. #lovewillfindaway
Fast forward 2019: Somehow MY own DNA tests revealed a possible match to both my mom and myself. A 75 year old Mother of three and Nanna of five with a mild curiosity about her own beginnings, matched with me. She wasn’t avidly searching. But her story was our missing link. She was born on the peninsula in 1943 and was looking for biological mother. (Why hadn’t my Mom’s DNA matched earlier? It had, we just missed the connections). You might call that fate. #thepoweroflove
More investigation and three weeks later my Mom and her cousin Susann and their families met for the first time in Scottsdale, AZ. We all had similar hesitations… were they good people? Would we like each other? Would they be sketchy or sweet? Turns out they do not sell heroin, they sell essential oils. Whew! #youngliving
The similarities were uncanny and immediately obvious. They are more like sisters than cousins. The gestures, the smiles, their laugh, their vocabulary, the same number of children and grandchildren. Similar interests. Even similar passwords! And the list goes on. #separatedatbirth
We were also fortunate to have met Susann’s gracious and welcoming family and found many other familial similarities. But we forgot to get photos of all of us together. #we’llmeetagain
Our little reunion of families connected effortlessly and formed a few new branches on two family trees. It was fun and fascinting. But most importantly… and pleasantly surprising to all of us, was how easy and natural it all felt. It was a heartwarming experience to say the least. You might call that the magic. #themagicoflove
So the science was there, fate brought us all together and the connections were magical.
#wearefamily #lovewillkeepustogether #seewhatididthere
I’m not sad today. I just didn’t know what to do or say about my Dad’s birthday. And then I was working on a class around ‘letting go’ and I was reminded of a book he left me… and then this just came together. But I didn’t get it finished in time… I’m 74 minutes late…. (but who’s counting?)
Everything we practice comes down to letting go. Letting go of tension, letting go of expectations, letting go of an exhale, letting go of attachment, letting go of how things should be or could be. Letting go of someone. #loveyoudad
When we practice letting go and keep looking forward, we start to feel what it’s like to just BE. It’s kinda freeing. To just BE. #beherenow
But how?! How exactly do we let go?
Someone gave us an example of this today. They found themselves on a flight with a seat that didn’t recline and because of their yoga practice, they decided to find other ways to relax with their breathing. They let go of their seat expectations. #breathingmatters
Another person gave us the example of being in a scary physical situation where they had no control. So they decided to practice savasana. They let go of control and surrendered to the moment. It helped. #gowiththeflow
I recently had the example of letting go of my Dad. I had to decide to stop looking back and focus on the future. I let go of what could have been so I could move toward what will be. #justkeepswimmimg #cancersucks
You might think comparing uncomfortable flights and scary places with death is inappropriate. But they say…. how you do anything is how you do everything. If I can’t let go of my pet peeves or discomforts and move on, how will I ever survive letting go of a pet or a parent. #mombetterliveforever
So the moral of lengthy email #5 for this year and what happened in each example above… is:
You have to decide to Let Go.
You have to stop hanging on or looking back. You gotta be enthusiastic about the future. And you’ll want to fill your heart and soul with every good feeling moment possible. Living fully. #gobigorgohome
Start with tree pose so that when the storm hits you’re able to sway. To let go of your leaves and look forward to spring.
Why this message? Why today? Cause it’s my Dad’s birthday. I felt like we had something to say. He left me a book with a poem flagged. It’s called You Decide. I wrote him a sonnet in response. (also cause I prefer a little profanity and humor in some of my poetry).
You Decide by Dolores Dahl
Win some, lose some, you hear people say
Life is but a game of chance they utter in dismay
Tossed about by bitter winds, a victim of life’s storm
and in despair, they go nowhere, believing this the norm
Unaware that they decide, the course upon the sea knowing not,
that every thought, they send aloft decree
Is one day carried out, becoming their reality
Each request is granted for Life can but agree.
I Decide by me ; )
I’m telling you now I’ve got to let go
I’ve got to stop looking back cause I know
It fucks with my neck, it saddens my heart
It tightens me up and tears me apart
But how you might wonder, do I let go?
How do I simply forget all I know?
How do I unwind the stress in my mind?
What do I do with the space I might find?
I look straight ahead wherever I go
I keep moving forward, I exhale slow
I challenge myself to focus on fun
I saunter soulfully under the sun
I know I don’t have to keep it inside
Cause my Dad told me, he said, You Decide.
Christina and I have been working on a secret project for a little while now. A new class.
You may not have even heard of Yin Yoga before.
Maybe because it’s not for everybody.
Maybe because it’s a slower class.
Maybe because it’s longer held poses…
(picture a 5 minute pigeon, or a 4 minute twist)
Maybe you’ve heard it’s like Restorative Yoga…. it’s not.
This is why it’s not for everybody
(Scroll below to see if it’s for you?)
YIN classes require a solid understanding and practice around things like ligaments, connective tissues and nervous system signals. Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues in your body, like the ligaments, tendons and the layers of fascia that encase your muscles, with the intention of creating a less reactive response from your nervous system.
All while maintaining a stable structure and support for the joints.
We’re not trying to ‘stretch’ these tissues. We want to shift them enough to create more pliability.
We want to shift them enough, but not too much, so we maintain the stability in our joints.
It’s a fine balance. It’s a process. It’s learning.
How is this NOT RESTORATIVE?
Because in Restorative yoga, we are COMPLETELY SUPPORTED. The intention here is pure relaxation, letting go, surrendering, softening and nourishing every space in body and mind.
We are engaging muscular support in some postures and structural support in others but we’re not letting go completely. We are aware and strong enough to engage in one place while releasing in another. Letting go completely could result in going too far.
Should you? Can you? PRACTICE YIN?
This practice is most helpful to those of you who lift, run, wrestle, hit, kick, punch or hike. Or if you participate often in strength building/tension causing activities. Or those who have a strong awareness of their bodie’s own capacity and limitations. Those without injuries or those that want the mental challenge of a slow, still practice.
You may or may not have heard of Paul Grilley, Bernie Clark, Paul Terrell, Sarah Powers, Paulie Zink or many other Yin Yoga Teachers. These are our teachers, our mentors. They have paved the way and they broaden the scope of the yoga practice. (You can google them for more in-depth descriptions. Cause you know I’m trying to shorten my emails to you!)
Yin with Christina Starts this
Thursday 7pm – 8pm.
Sunday, May 5th, 11am. No yoga experience necessary. This is not intended to be a medical recommendation or cure. We are addressing minor back pain, aches and pains that stem from daily stress, postural concerns and general activity. You can gain a better understanding of the simple anatomy involving your back pain and possible causes. We will move through appropriate yoga postures that improve your range of motion to support and stabilize your spine with more awareness. There will be time for demonstrations, questions and relaxation.
Yoga for Anxiety explores simple concepts that disrupt the anxiety process in your body and retrains your physiology. It helps reduce and often eliminate anxiety with practice. Yoga experience is not necessary.
All the concepts are simple and some of them are just plain fun. Some take a little practice and some you already do.
All in all, it’s an easy class to introduce you to some simple ways to feel better.
We’re getting excited for The Barn to open next door. It’s a taphouse and food cart space with indoor/outdoor seating, fire pits, heat towers, covered areas and gathering spaces.
For the next few months they will be remodeling and constructing the space. So please cheer them on.
And for a little while there will be a few food carts in the parking spaces outside their building. But by the end of Summer, they will all be lined up to the East of their building.
They are also adding additional parking along the Southeast side of their space so there will be lots of options. I spoke for all of us when I assured them that we are strong, supportive, neighborly yogis who don’t mind walking a few spaces further to get to yoga!
It’s good for the neighborhood. It’s good for Love Yoga.
Who is it? The three founders are:
Jason Crow, Brian and Alex Hovelsrud
As we find out who the food cart vendors are, we’ll let you know.
If you or someone you know wants to
start a Food Cart… Now’s the time!
Other Summer Events coming:
Haley’s Summer Chakra Series
June – August:
Love’s ‘Summer School’ Series of 6 workshops
Breathing, Core, Crow,
Inversions, Relaxation and Meditation
I often forget that those of you who are fairly new to Love Yoga… might not know some of the coolest things about the studio and how we got where we are today. Here’s 8 things to catch you up!
1. I started Love Yoga with $5k and 4 weeks of experience. That story alone should be an entire email. But briefly… The day after my 1st yoga training, I unexpectedly found myself unemployed. So 9 days later, I opened Love Yoga
2. We started out downtown on 1st street with 1 other teacher, 6 mirrors, a handful of blocks and a dozen mats. We moved to North Albany a year later because people were asking us for hot yoga. We couldn’t get the downtown space hot enough, so we moved.
3. Before Love Yoga, here in Albany, I had worked for Stone Forest containers and I sold ads for the Democrat Herald. I also worked at Sam Health, the AGH Foundation, Panolam, Mission Hills, Selectemp, Jackson & Prochnau, Cellular One, my Dad’s insurance agency and Tec Labs. In Seattle, I sold insurance, siding, windows, toys, rainbow vaccuum cleaners and international transportation. When I told my first business landlord that I’d had 17 + jobs, he said, ‘sounds like you have all the makings of an entrepreneur’. Yay! (Target rejected my resume 3 times in one year when I was 19) Thanks Target!
4. After numerous other trainings, we became a yoga ‘school’ through Yoga Alliance, offering teacher trainings for the 200 hr. and 300 hr. certifications and CE credit. This Summer we’re offering the first ‘Summer School’ you’ll actually LOVE!
Eight weekend workshops over the Summer to take you from Breathing deeper and Counting Crows to Inspiring Inversions and the Magic of Meditation.
5. Kelly, one of our massage therapists is also a yoga teacher and taught restorative yoga here for about 4 or 5 years. Aunnie and Erin Hanawalt took the first two teacher trainings we did here. In fact it might have been Aunnie that suggested we do it.
I stalked Sabrina on Instagram as she moved here from Kentucky! Erin Yatsui (‘Yats’) took our teacher training and retakes it every year just to be part of it and help out.
(I’ll write a ‘things you might not know about our teachers’ version soon. That just made all the teachers slightly uncomfortable : )
6. Yoga for Anxiety classes came about for three reasons.
1. A few years ago, four different people showed up at the studio within one week asking about yoga for anxiety.
2. I knew a little something about this as I had severe anxiety attacks all through my 20s. Long story short. I ended up in ER a few times, I tried everything from herbal tea to jumping jacks. I found yoga and meditation. I practiced. I practiced. I practiced. It went away. Literally faded away. I haven’t had an anxiety attack in 20-ish years. Nothing. Nada. Not one.
3. The response to that class was huge. So now we have it every few months.
If you struggle with anxiety, you’re not alone.
Trust me. You’re not. And you don’t have to be.
7. Meditation has been a game changer for me personally. I doubt I’ll ever stop. I’ve studied various styles and I’ve found what works for me. It’s like riding a bike, swimming and singing the alphabet. It just sticks with you. It gets easier by the minute. And it feels good. If it doesn’t feel good for you yet… just keep swimming. ; ) Or come try a few new styles with Paul on Wednesday nights or Candace on Monday Mornings, both free! Or I’ll talk about it anytime if someone asks. : )
8. Final note: I started Love Yoga in 2010 mid/post recession, single mom with a 17 year old, in the grass seed capital of the world. No savings, no insurance, no back up plan, no business plan. My mom put up the 5k. And she’s been believing in me ever since. (and still waiting for me to pay her back).
We try not to let money be the thing that keeps anyone from practicing yoga. It’s a life changer and it’s worth it. We still have to pay the lease, the teachers, the utilities and supply you all with toilet paper and chocolates. But If you or someone you know isn’t practicing because of finances, let us know. If we can help, we’ll work it out. We offer trades, 5$ classes and Sunday mornings are always a donation class – any donation.
Did I miss anything?
Is there anything else you’ve just got to know?
Oh, we get the foamy soap from Whole Foods and the bathroom scent sticks from Bi Mart. All of our mats are Jade Yoga mats.
We are very grateful for all of you… that read these emails to the very end ;
(Warning: once a season, you’ll get a super long email. This is Spring’s)
(also: Wedding Pictures at the bottom)
The spirit of love is very apparent in everything we do. Everything from the soft floors to the foamy soaps.. From the cozy blankets to the crystal bowls. From the peach tea to the toilet paper…. well, you get the picture. We have a ‘no mat left behind’ policy, meaning we all make every effort to make sure that nobody feels left behind, lost or unloved. And not just during class.
In the past two months at Love we’ve come together for a death, a birth, a wedding and a reunion. In the coming months we’ll come together for a teacher training, spring hiking and a send off party. See, it’s not all about yoga. It’s about connection. You don’t have to love yoga to love people. I learned this at a deeper level than ever before over the past few months.
Here’s how it all went down.
Part 1: My Dad’s Okay
My Dad died. I know, it’s okay though. He’s fine. He told me. And before you roll your eyes… this is not ‘wishful grieving’. (pretty sure I coined this term… have you ever heard it before? I didn’t think so. I’m claiming it. It’s brilliant right?) Because we all know someone who sees a chicken and thinks it’s their dearly departed Aunt Doris who used to strut around like a bossy mother hen. ‘Wishful grieving?’ perhaps. And don’t even talk to me about hummingbirds. I told my Dad, I’m not interested in birds! If you’re gonna connect with me, I’m gonna need something a little more concrete.
So I visited with a medium. Yes, a medium. I was skeptical too. So I didn’t volunteer any specific information. He didn’t know my name. We’d never met. He only asked me who I wanted to connect with. I said, ‘my Dad’.
He told me 3 specific things that only my closest family members and a few friends could have known. Like who he was with and what I should do with the truck he gave me. I was stunned. Google can’t even tap into the information he shared. I’m happy to share the details with you but for most of you it probably won’t make much sense. So, if you want more specifics, just ask me.
Why am I risking my credibility to tell you this? Because you know me. I’m not woo woo. You know I like physiology, anatomy, evidence, proof. But people, I’m tellin’ you… this was the most unexplainable, comforting feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’ve never been less afraid, more excited for the future and beyond comfortable with exactly where I am. I want everyone to feel this good.
Watching him die a little bit every day was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever experienced. Reconnecting with him was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever experienced. He loved Love Yoga. He was so proud of me and he was so happy to connect with those of you he knew. He even left us a juke box and all his records – maybe in part so a little piece of his spirit would still be there.
Having so many of you at his service was beyond comforting. His passing made me frantic about not wasting a minute of my life. And the love from Love Yogis gave me the support and the space to fall apart… and reconnect. Spirits of Love? I think so.
Part II The Babies. (the names have been changed to protect the identities)
One of my dearest friends and Love Yogi, I’ll call her Samantha, gave the ultimate gift of life last month. (2 lives actually) to a lovely young couple who wanted children. The surrogacy and sacrifice was more complicated than she originally anticipated. There were waves of emotions, frustration, pain, nausea, inconvenience, fear, surgery…. and LOVE. Those close to her felt the immense amount of love she was willing to share. And when the babies arrived, the love was more expansive than anyone expected, including her. She instantly knew there would be a life long connection to little Ben and Nora. So many lives touched by one act of enormous generosity.
Tons of Love Yogis reached out constantly throughout this adventure asking about her well being. Waiting for news. Sending love and prayers. Eager to reconnect. She knows who you are. When all is said and done… knowing you have a community that cares, is beyond comforting. And in the true spirit of Love, she’s on her way back to connect to us.
Part III: The Wedding and the Reunion.
Another dear friend and Love Yogi, texted me one day out of the blue: ‘Do you have an extra room for a wayward traveler and her dog?’. I texted back: ‘Sure’. Jen was a Love Yogi from years ago. She had moved away and then dove back in head first last year, joining the teacher training and moving in with me while she relocated. She finished training, moved out in June with plans for the rest of the year somewhat lined up. She bought a house, she travelled, she met her man, she fell in love.
A few weeks ago, she texted me again: Do you know anyone who can marry people? I said, Yes! But then through a fortunate series of events, I became ordained and I married them! It makes sense right? LOVE Yogi marries couple in Finton Green Natural Preserve. SO. MUCH. LOVE. We made the traditional Brazilian drink for the Groom. Erin Hanawalt made bem casados. The clouds parted, the rain broke, the dog wore his tutu, the stars aligned.
The afternoon was magnificently magical. (nope, I’m not woo woo at all). Sabrina, Haley, Erin and I were honored to witness to this union. Love Yogis unite. (think wonder twins, activate!) I fully expect her next life changing text to me will be asking me to be a GodParent…(wink, wink)
Writing a piece for a marriage ceremony that articulates the spirit of love was like coming home for me. A natural extension of practicing with love is writing with love. I felt incredibly blessed to be able to do this and quickly considered a career change. The amount of love in your heart is palpable when you are immersed in something as joyful as this. I would do this all day every day if I could. (let me know if you want to renew your vows! ; )
And… THE REUNION
After the wedding we hurried back for class and a surprise reunion. Haley rushed back to teach class and the rest of us rushed back to my house for a surprise potluck reunion for Sabrina. Yep, it’s true. Sabrina’s back!
Afer a brief sabbatical for her own personal journey, she’s back! The Love teachers gathered to welcome Sabrina back with open arms, open hearts,, snacks, stories, sarcasm, pictures, laughter and love. Aunnie made banana cake which almost overshadowed the guest of honor.
We missed her. We know you’ve missed her. She’s coming back in April to teach Power on Wednesday nights at 6pm.
Before that she’ll be subbing two classes: March 24th, Sunday’s Karma class 9:30am and March 31st, SOL Power, 5:30pm. Also, Watch the schedule for her next Yoga for Back Pain coming soon
It’s not all about yoga.
Sometimes it’s just about Love.
We have 24 classes every week plus workshops and trainings.
Yoga, hiking, workshops, sound baths, bonfires, vacations, anything that
creates human connections, memorable moments and self reflection.