Creating a joyful community

Creating a joyful community

Creating a joyful community

Miko Hafez interviews the owner of The Plant Store in Seattle, WA


The Pandemic was hard. I moved to Seattle from NY during the pandemic in 2021 and at that time it was still hard to meet people and make friends. One day, I came across @seattleplantstore and discovered that they were hosting a “Plant Swap Event.” At this event, I met many plant parents and I didn’t realize how much I was craving connection until I talked to them. I made new friends that day, and honestly I didn’t expect that. The event organizer Miles was working hard to create a joyful and welcoming event and I interviewed him about his plant swap event.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
I am from Ohio and I’ve been in Seattle for 10 years, and started a plant shop about 5 years ago. I’ve always been interested in house plants since I was a little boy and I ended up going to school to study plant science and learn about horticulture and plant production in controlled environments.

I got into plant production and then worked at the Amazon at the Spheres. I also worked in cannabis production and about 5 years ago, I decided to start my plant shop. I really love plants and wanted to focus on sharing the love of that. I wanted to create a shop not only selling plants but also supporting people’s hobbies. That’s why we are doing workshops like making Terrariums and Kokedama.

What is a plant swap event?
A plant swap is where people come together and exchange plants. For example, I like to grow small plants into big plants and that’s sort of my joy. Once they get too big, I can cut this back and maybe give away cuttings, or I can just give the plant away. A plant swap is a great way to get a plant without paying money. It’s also a great way to get a plant that you might be nervous about spending money on because it’s tricky to care for. It is also a great opportunity to connect people and learn about new plants.

Why did you decide to host a plant swap event?
First of all, it is very popular. People really enjoy plant swap events. The last event we hosted in the bar next door. The bar just opened just over a year ago, we were able to collaborate with them to bring people in so their businesses as well, which is really nice for the community. it’s also a marketing opportunity for us. More and more people know that we’re here.We’re right outside of Seattle and it’s a good opportunity for people to learn about us and what we offer as well. The next one that’s coming up we have two vendors that are going to join us. It will be a very exciting and fun event.

Learn more about Miles and upcoming events at The Plant Store in Seattle

Discovering Your Luminous Self with Tracee Stanley

Discovering Your Luminous Self with Tracee Stanley

Discovering Your Luminous Self with Tracee Stanley

By: Stephanie Jade Wong


I sit indoors on a rainy day, safe from the elements, enjoying bestselling author Tracee Stanley’s new book, “The Luminous Self.” I exhale and down a refreshing glass of ice water, trying to relax in the northeast humidity. Instrumental music plays lightly in the background, as I type into my notes app—a blank canvas ready for new thoughts to appear. And Tracee wasn’t lying when she recommended having a notebook or notes app open while you’re reading!

This book came to me at the perfect time. You see, there were moments of my life where yoga appeared daily, and others where my yoga practice was non-existent for years. Yet my body, mind, and soul turned back to yoga whenever I sought it. When I wanted to learn more about myself. When I wanted to learn more about the universe. If you, like me, are struggling to get back into your yoga practice, then perhaps picking up this book is a great first step.

You’re hooked from the beginning just from Tracee’s personal story. Relatable language and exercises that are easy to get into really help you get in touch with yourself for some grounding or me-time to self-reflect. 

“How are you abandoning your Self to fit in?”

This is a question Tracee mentioned in the book that made me pause. There are so many similar moments that allow you to truly hone in on certain aspects of yourself and your life.

Getting in tune with yourself and whatever you’re working on in this season of your life is difficult, and while I can’t promise you that all your concerns will be solved after reading this book and completing all the exercises, you will be more connected to yourself as you continue to grow.

We had the opportunity to chat with Tracee about this magical book she’s sharing with the world this fall:

Yoga Love Magazine: Why is self-remembrance so important?
Tracee Stanley: Self-remembrance is essential because it holds the seed of light, the inner guidance we need to support us through life. So often, we are guided by the external influences of mainstream culture, trends, and what others want us to do and be. We begin to conform and shape ourselves to fit into the box of those external pressures and forget who we truly are. When we finally have a moment of insight or inspiration to follow our truth, we can feel like an impostor because we have been separated from our knowing for so long. Practices of self-remembrance lead us to our birthright to reclaim our inherent beauty, worthiness, and wholeness. 


What inspired you to share your knowledge through this book?
I have been a student of yoga for over 28 years and teaching for 23 years. I have been fortunate to study and receive teachings and practices that have helped me to navigate the ebbs and flows with presence and resilience. 

During the height of the pandemic, I observed that some people felt their yoga practices were not supportive enough during such a turbulent time. They needed the kind of practices that were not easily accessible in commercial Western yoga classes. It felt important for me to gather the most potent practices of transformation that I had been gifted in a way that was accessible and relatable. I wanted to move away from the masculine energy of gatekeeping and share the healing practices needed for our times.

Did you discover anything new about your Self as you wrote this book? 
Because I share so many personal stories in the book to help support the understanding of the philosophy, I found myself in a place of deep remembrance and gratitude for having these practices pull me through the hard times and support me as I continue to grow and expand. Any time I am in remembrance, I feel connected, loved, and whole. 

What rituals do you have that are part of your daily routine that are healing for you? 
My rituals are abhyanga, mantra, yoga nidra, daily connection with nature, meditation, and dream work. I weave rituals throughout the day. I view life as a sacred ritual, so by creating a tapestry of life and ritual, even the mundane becomes sacred, and every action becomes life-affirming and sustaining. 

You took what was once a symbol of shame for you (an egg) and turned it into a symbol of power instead. Can you elaborate a little about how you made that massive transition into reclaiming your power from a traumatic experience?
You really will have to read the book to understand how that happened. However, the understanding that our wounds and discomforts are portals to our healing and expansion was the first step on my journey.

What inspires you? 
I am inspired by nature—her resiliency, fierceness, unconditional holding, and how she thrives in biodiversity and community. We have a lot to learn from the natural world around us. 

How do you currently answer the question, “Who am I?” 
I am pure, light, awareness. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Yoga Love Magazine community?  
Please remember to cherish yourself. You are worthy.  

As I completed this book, the rain had settled and the sun started shining through the dark rain clouds, pushing them further and further away. What a light this book is in the dark times we face internally and perhaps also within our communities.

Pre-order Tracee Stanley’s book, “The Luminous Self” here. You can also join the free book club with your pre-order here.




September 30, 2023
Atlanta, GA


Looking for something to do this Sept? We are thrilled yoga festivals are back and can’t wait to check out all the amazing events taking place around the world. This week we had a chance to connect with Malik Khalid, Founder of AMADOR, Yoga and Art Festival taking place in Atlanta, GA who we are thrilled to partner with! You will be able to get complimentary copies of our magazine at this festival! 

What inspired you to create a festival?
My experience in the yoga community at large has been very isolating, often I’m the only black person in the room if not the only male. I wanted to curate a space where Black and Brown teachers were showcased to display a new face of what yoga can look like and who gets to practice it. 

What makes your festival unique?

The AMADOR Yoga & Art Festival is an innovative experience linking yoga, community and art all together as an extension of each other. Art is the manifestation of mindfulness and yoga is the source that ties it together. 

What offering/presenter or class are you most excited about for this year’s event?
We’re excited about Trap Yoga with Eazy Spliffarchi, an authentic teacher that brings communities together through Hip-Hop, Trap Music and mobility. Considering the genre turned 50 this year I think this offering will be one of the most electric of them all.

Food is Love – A look inside Integral Yoga’s Kitchen

Food is Love – A look inside Integral Yoga’s Kitchen

Food is Love – A look inside Integral Yoga’s Kitchen

By: Diana Dharani Diaz


Founded in a NYC brownstone by Swami Satchidananda in 1970, Integral Yoga Institute of New York is still open and thriving as a teaching center, and a place where thousands of people experience Yoga and community. Many New Yorkers also discovered the joys and benefits of a vegetarian diet when the Integral Yoga Natural Foods store first opened in the West 13th Street building in March 1972, and for many years it was one of the only places in the city where they could purchase exclusively vegetarian products. Today people can enjoy vegetarian meals lovingly created onsite in the community kitchen to share together. Learn more about love, food and community from the Integral Yoga kitchen manager, Tinuola Bello.

What does “Food is Love” mean to you?
When I first came to volunteer at Integral Yoga’s kitchen in 2002, my Tuesday shifts with Kitchen Mother Andalamma were wonderful. She reminded me of my own mother – small, dark brown, no nonsense. When she cooked, she made the food that she ate and fed her own children. It was an invitation into her home, her space, her life. Into who she is. And when you do that, you’re inviting others to do the same. It’s an expression of love. 

Share with us what you love about the kitchen.
The kitchen operates mainly through Karma Yoga, the practice of selfless service, or volunteering. That in itself is an act of love. During my 18 years in the kitchen, it became a meeting place for the cooks and Karma Yogis to develop ourselves through friendships and through the food we prepared. Our cooking and sharing meals is an invitation for people to find a spiritual home here. Andalamma really created a sanctuary. As kitchen manager, it’s been important for me to continue that. We recognize who people are, not just what service they bring, and we nurture them. Karma Yogis have gone on to serve in other ways throughout Integral Yoga. Many, myself included, have become teachers. 

We‘ve also nurtured board members, program directors, sound healers and many more! People have met and married through this kitchen. The patience in learning, understanding proportions, and combinations of ingredients are still a labor of love and a metaphor for life itself.

What part of your life or yourself did you bring to the kitchen?
I grew up in a diverse neighborhood, Jamaicans, Indians, Pakistani, Italian, Irish and Chinese. Mr. Frederico gave me bread and salami from his deli on my way home from school, I ate homemade samosas at the Singh’s house (also where I first saw Michael Jackson’s Thriller video!) and of course fish and chips. There was a lot of food in my ‘hood, and it always came with a lot of love! This is reflected in our Integral Yoga’s kitchen. Here, you can share your culture and it will be appreciated. From time to time, teachers or staff would offer to cook the food they grew up with, and we would learn a lot about one another.  

And everyone is welcome. My Jamaican mother and Nigerian father raised five children in the ‘70s and ‘80s, during the Thatcher years. As hard as they worked, they always welcomed people into our home. I remember people stopping by and my father encouraging them to stay for dinner, telling them that we had more than enough to share. From a very early age, I remember eating every kind of food. Hanging with my mother at my Jamaican godparent’s parties at 12 years old, it’s the food that I remember – the salt fish fritters, chicken and beef patties and syrup. It was good and plentiful. 

Tell us more about this recipe.
Last summer, I spent many late nights driving uptown. We would usually stop at a really good Dominican eatery just before making our way over the bridge into the Bronx. This, my late night snack, was never disappointing. And those nights hearing music and simultaneous conversations, seeing the parked cars and the lines in all the restaurants made me feel there’s no community without love and no community without the love of food.

There’s something very loving about finger food and eating with your hands. You’re sharing with others. It’s communal. It’s also reflective of an important time in my life, when I was in Mexico teaching a performance workshop for young people. A local family cooked for us as a way of making money and at the time, I was a pescatarian. In Mexico, that’s a little problematic as dairy and meat are in almost everything. I asked if I could have a tortilla with just beans and  rice. They said of course. When I went to pay, they refused my money, even after I insisted several times. I once again experienced food as an expression of love and inclusion. 

Oyster Mushroom and Batata
(Purple-skinned Sweet Potato) Tacos

I am reminded of the combination of simplicity and creativity of meals that sit between a snack and ‘dinner.’ In these tacos, it was always about the batata for me – perfectly baked and naturally caramelized due to its own sugar. I love this purple sweet potato, and I remember the first few times I cooked them in the kitchen and how much they were enjoyed. The oyster mushrooms are delicious and versatile and remind me of a dear friend with whom I’m always sharing food. 

 Ingredients: (Makes 10 tacos)

  • 2 medium batata (or any sweet potato)
  • A large handful of oyster mushrooms  
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 10 soft corn or flour tortillas


For the garnish:

  • Finely grated red cabbage
  • Finely chopped cucumber
  • Lime zest
  • Sliced red onion
  • Fresh cilantro


Wash and dry the potatoes. Make a small incision across the top and allow them to completely dry before wrapping in foil and placing in the oven at 350°F.

Separate, lightly rinse, completely dry the mushrooms and continue to wipe clean if necessary. Season with garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a little white pepper. Mix well and place aside for at least an hour. Add oil, then place in the oven.

Check the potatoes periodically, between 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size). Remove them from the oven once they are soft all the way through. 

Set them aside for 30 minutes to cool, then refrigerate for an hour. Carefully peel the potatoes and cut into bite-size cubes. Optional: Sauté the cooked, diced batata over medium heat, until golden.

Warm tortillas in skillet or frying pan on low heat. Once cooked, check the mushrooms for seasoning. Place mushrooms on the tortilla and top with cubed batata.

To garnish, add red cabbage and cucumber, a pinch of lime or lime zest if desired. Add a slice of onion and sprig of cilantro to the taco.

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Come to Life Yoga

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Come to Life Yoga

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Come to Life Yoga



To celebrate the release of our print issue themed LOVE, we reached out to our amazing community to share with us a few thoughts on love. This week we celebrate Come to Life Yoga  located in Fort Myers, FLA and founder Kimberly: “Kimberly has been practicing Yoga since 2009. She is an E-RYT 200/ RYT 500 yoga teacher and a certified sound healer. She has a passion for teaching as yoga saved her life. She shares her story frequently. She found yoga is a great way to improve endurance in other physical activities. Before or after any workout, yoga will help your body relax while stretching, strengthening, and lengthening the muscles. Kimberly chose to become a teacher and open Come To Life Yoga in Fort Myers, Florida in 2014 so others can enjoy the amazing benefits and overall health through yoga. She takes pride in small group sessions and individual sessions to make sure the students get full knowledge of the yoga benefits and how to maintain overall health. The Hatha/Vinyasa yoga combination she teaches is for all levels and beginners. She also teaches power, heated vinyasa, Yoga Nidra, restorative yoga, yin yoga , adaptive yoga, chair yoga and sound bowl classes. She has a registered yoga  school with the Yoga Alliance and teaches a 200 hour yoga teacher training and an YACEP sound healing course. She also focuses on helping other local small businesses by doing events together, yoga retreats and teaches at other yoga studios while she travels.” Pick up your free copy of Yoga Love Magazine at Come to Life Yoga today!

Share with us what you love about what you do:
When I opened in 2014, it was to share love with others through the practice of yoga. You will see signs everywhere in the studio about love as reminders. It is because of the love and support of yogis that Come To Life Yoga and Sound Healing still exists after a pandemic and two major hurricanes that damaged the studio. I tell students to remember to love who they are first so they can love others. We find in yoga that it is a union of love. I have learned that unity and community provides us love. 

Share with us what you have learned about LOVE:
Love is everything and everyone. If you love everything and everyone it brings you peace and fulfillment.

What inspired you to support Yoga Love Magazine?
When I found Yoga Love Magazine and was told the issue was about love, I knew I had to join it and help them reach others too. I am so grateful to be part of such a wonderful cause.