Festival Spotlight: Catskills Mountain Yoga Festival

Festival Spotlight: Catskills Mountain Yoga Festival

Festival Spotlight: Catskills Mountain Yoga Festival

PROFILES

FESTIVALS

Festival Spotlight: Catskills Mountain Yoga Festival
Looking for something to do this Summer? 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 Raegan Reed, founder and coordinator for the Catskill Mountain Yoga Festival who we are thrilled to partner with this July! Learn more about the festival here and pick up your FREE copy of Yoga Love Magazine at the event!

What inspired you to create a festival?
Several years ago Northface reached out to me to see if I would host a yoga retreat at Plattekill, for their employees. I was so excited. In the end, the weather turned bad and the company canceled their retreat. I was disappointed, but it gave me the idea to start offering special “Yoga on the Mountain “ classes in the summertime. People would get to ride the lift to the deck at the top of the mountain and I would lead yoga classes there.

Soon after that, I had people contacting me about bachelorette parties and morning yoga before their weddings. It was pretty cool and I thought, hmm…I’ve got something special here! Then I got thinking about all the amazing yoga instructors right here in upstate NY. We are so lucky to have so many amazing teachers here and people were loving the yoga on the mountain classes. My classes always sold out 

Another part of this story includes my past as a yoga, dance and fitness instructor.I own The Cardio Club and Delhi Dance Studio. For a decade I would go to these large dance and fitness conventions in NYC or Philadelphia. I loved them and I would take classes all day! It was a dream come true! I thought that someday I would like to create something like this for my community.

I also do a lot of fundraising and events for my community. I am the chairperson for the Delhi Children’s Christmas Fund, I was the founder and president of the Catskill Ladies Association to support and inspire for ten years, the president of the Greater Delhi Area Chamber of commerce for four years and one of the founding members and President of the Delaware Academy PTA. Through these organizations I have gained knowledge and strength in event planning. I love working with my community, bringing joy to people and connecting people too! This helped me find my way as a festival coordinator. 

Long story short, after the yoga on the mountain classes were such a big hit, I decided to take a leap of faith and host a yoga festival at Plattekill mountain. The first festival was scheduled for July 2020, then rescheduled for September 2020 when Covid hit. Of course, the September event never happened either. It was the height of covid and people were afraid to gather! we had to cancel the event for 2020, which was pretty devastating, but we bounced back and brought on the fun in July 202, the event was a success! Everyone loved it!! We grew and were even better in 2022 and plan to be the best fest yet in 2023! All of our Catskill Yoga Fest community love us as much as we love them! They keep bringing back more friends and family to join in the fun! We hope that rings true for 2023 too!! 

What makes your festival unique?
We bring together instructors from all over the country, but many of these amazing folks reside right in New York State! There were so many amazing instructors in the area. I knew I had to bring them together! Another highlight of the fest is its location. It is located at Plattekill Mountain Ski Center. There is a deck at the mountaintop, which is a special place to practice yoga! It is a humbling experience. Participants ride the lift up to the top and get to practice in the clouds! We have classes for every BODY! Everything from restorative yoga, to focus on inversions, aerial yoga, yoga trapeze and everything in between! We have a hike led by the president of the Catskill Mountain Club, an amazing vendor village, awesome workshops, practitioners and plant walks too! 

 
What offering/presenter or class are you most excited about for this year’s event? 
It is hard to highlight just one! All the instructors are unique and bring something very special to the fest! We could not do it without them! Kelly Kamm, a world renowned Yogi, will be headlining the fest with her Mythical Vinyasa and fun, quirky style!


www.catskillmountainyogafestival.com 
@catskillmountainyogafestival 
www.thecardioclub.com

LOVE PROFILE: Terri Speck

LOVE PROFILE: Terri Speck

LOVE PROFILE: Terri Speck

Founder PLAY Yoga

PROFILES

LOVE PROFILE: Terri Speck
As we prepare for our June release of our print issue themed LOVE, we reached out to our amazing community to share with us a few thoughts on love. Terri Speck and Ed Mullen MD,founded PLAY (Peace Love and Yoga) based on a combined 70+ years working in hospitals they looked to make the shift from “delivering “ healthcare, to partnering with friends and neighbors on a passage to wellness. We asked Terri to share a bit more about love in this week’s LOVE spotlight.

Please share with us what you love about what you do: 
There’s so many things I love about what I do! I love creating someplace special for our wonderful yoga community to gather.I am excited about offering all different styles and flavors of yoga and interesting workshops and talks. I love to teach and feel the comfort of my home community. PLaY is often getting visitors as we’re in a resort area, but we also have a steady group that feels like home. It’s the most creative thing I do!

Share with us what you have learned about LOVE:
I’ve learned that there isn’t anything else besides love that really matters in this whole universe. I’ve learned that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but fear. I’ve learned that the capacity for love is infinite and that there’s always enough love to go around.

What inspired you to support Yoga Love Magazine?
I was inspired to support Yoga Love Magazine because from the onset I could tell that the voice of the magazine was a little bit different that any other yoga magazine I had read. Iana’s emphasis and values were aligned with ours! Diversity, inclusion and a genuine love of yoga. In our studio, our small retail space is dedicated to female owned business, so that was a huge draw for us as well!

LOVE PROFILE: Terri Speck
Studio Spotlight: The Yoga Hive

Studio Spotlight: The Yoga Hive

Studio Spotlight: The Yoga Hive

Edited by: Tashya Knight

PROFILES

The-Yoga-Hive-Rebecca Gala

We are so excited to chat with Rebecca Gala Jones, the owner of The Yoga Hive, our first studio partner in Georgia! You can see the full interview via our YouTube link, and here is an excerpt of our fun IG live chat we had about what it was like opening a studio during the pandemic, the importance of community and rest, and exciting things coming up for the studio!


Iana
Thank you for chatting with us today. How long have you been open?

Rebecca
We opened in September of 2020, which was not a plan at all. We had signed the lease for the property in October of 2019, and then they broke ground in January of 2020. We took possession in April of 2020. We’re in Atlanta, Georgia and right after Memorial Day of 2020, they started to lift some of the restrictions. So that worked in our favor in the sense that we could have people in the studio and people that were comfortable. We wore masks, we had all of the social distancing, so that was really exciting. And then we did something we had never considered doing which was to have virtual classes, which we still continue to this day. A lot of other studios have done away with virtual classes because there are more people coming into the studio.

One of the things that was really exciting for us when that happened is that we were able to offer classes to a lot of people who are not geographically close to us. I just co hosted a retreat in North Georgia this weekend and people came from Chicago, interestingly enough, and people came from Lexington, Kentucky. They may not be able to connect in person with us in the studio, but they can take virtual classes with us. So that was one of the meditations that I often do, I mean, people open businesses in recessions at times when it’s really tricky. And we’re finally on the other side of a lot of the discomfort.

Iana
That’s the perfect way of putting it.

Rebecca
Because it’s really uncomfortable, it’s scary. There’s no right way, there’s no wrong way, there’s only a path and trust in the process. And then there’s the financial component of it. How long can I continue to be with something that I’m not really sure if there’s going to be a return? Or put money in it,  or we have rent that we have to pay every month, the vast tax of what has to go behind the business. So fortunately we’ve been very lucky that every month we were able to cover our costs. I did have a business partner when I first went into it who decided that it wasn’t sustainable for her. A lot of it was because of the fact that we weren’t able to see the future. And so she decided to step away and I decided to continue and I’m very glad that I did. We have a beautiful community and I’m really proud of what we’ve constructed, staying with it.

We have a diverse staff of teachers that offer all kinds of classes. We have programming for pregnant women, we have programming for seniors who have balancing issues. We have women’s classes, we have men’s classes, we have different styles of yoga. We teach yin and ashtanga and restorative and vinyasa and power. So we tick a lot of boxes and we’re in an area where we’re fairly easy to get to. So we’re moving right along.

Iana
Were there moments where you thought, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this?

Rebecca
Definitely. So many times it came up because it’s like, what am I doing? Why am I doing this? And what was so interesting is I never thought that populating the studio would be the challenging component. I’ve been teaching yoga now for 20 years, always in the Atlanta area, and have been fortunate to have a following. So I never thought that that would be the difficult part of opening the studio. But there was just something that said, keep going. There was just this little voice constantly inside that said keep going. And on those days when you get just so there weren’t very many people coming into the studio or there was just a lot of fear some little thing would happen, it would be just a little nudge. My go to stock phrase all the time was “choose the hope over, doubt and then look for the signs.” So then a little sign would come up, someone buying class cards or a former student would reach out, we would get a little corporate gig, a private student that I hadn’t seen would start taking lessons again, etc.

“My go to stock phrase all the time was ‘choose the hope over doubt, and then look for the signs.’”

So some little thing would happen that would say, “you’re going in the right direction, keep going” and so I would just sort of lean into that. One of the hardest parts, of course, was when my business partner left. And then I thought, I’m not ready to stop, I have a vision for what I want to happen with this and I just wasn’t ready to say, this is it. I wasn’t ready to do that. I think we’re both exactly where we need to be now in many ways.

And then I was fortunate enough to have a lot of people behind me. Family, support, mentors, even the leasing agency wanted us to continue. When I say we, I think about myself, my teachers, my husband is a very active participant, he is a yogi himself. So I’m not doing it alone. I mean, I’m the person that signs things and whatnot. But I’m not here by myself though. And I guess that’s another go to is just that feeling of there’s somebody or something that wants this to continue. It’s not just me and the community that has gathered around us.

Iana
That’s amazing. It’s so important to have that foundation of support and having your own personal vision and motivation to keep going.

Rebecca
I’ve been teaching for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to have a space and I didn’t know, should I do this? And another one of those little phrases that comes up all of the time is one that came to me just before I made the decision to go into partnership and open the studio. It was, “you’ll regret it if you don’t try.” So I feel as though that’s something that we all need to remind ourselves of: we’ll regret it if we don’t try. While it’s not always easy, it’s typically worth it most of the time. And the reality is that no matter what you do, there’s work behind it. No matter what we do, no matter how much I love teaching yoga and creating community and being able to do so many other things that we’re doing at the same time, there’s still work, there’s effort and then there’s ease.

Iana
That was one of the things that surprised me the most when I launched my magazine, because I still work a full time job in addition to the magazine. When I would do my full time job, I could understand when I would feel a little bit cranky or tired or not so motivated, that made sense. But when I was doing the magazine, I thought, how can I be tired? I love this so much, but I’m still human and get tired and need rest. And it’s still, like you said, it’s a lot of work no matter what.

Rebecca
It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about something or how meaningful it is to you, it’s still going to take effort. I think it’s very important, particularly when you’re doing something where you share energy, that you take a step back and you recharge the battery too. I have a new teacher here at the studio, and she fields emails for me and does a lot of some of the behind the scenes things. So I can take one day a week, Tuesdays, and I completely go off the grid. I don’t look at any personal or professional emails. I’m not on Instagram on Tuesday or anything like that which is really important, I just let my time unfold however I want. So it’s important if you’re a creative type, or you’re in a nurturing profession of some kind where you share energy, to get a total disconnect from all of it on a weekly basis.

Iana
I really started doing that seriously not that long ago, quite honestly, probably about three or four months ago. And it was by accident. The first time I did it one day, I was so tired I couldn’t do anything. I just watched movies on my couch all day long. I had Disney Plus, and I just watched all the Avengers movies with my puppy on my lap, and thought this is amazing. The next day I went back and I felt great.

Rebecca
Exactly. But that’s exactly what happens to all of us, we think we don’t deserve that, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. Who’s going to feed that machine if you’re not doing it right? So that’s part of it. But you need to rest or take the afternoon, or go for a walk without your phone, any of these things. Because what I find is that I become more creative if I have a break rather than continuing. And nobody wants a grumpy yoga teacher.

One of the yoga tenants is about non harming. If you’re continuing to work in these cycles where you’re working all of the time, and it’s just overwhelming, you’re not being kind to yourself and you’re harming yourself.

Iana
I love that! It’s so important. I love that studios are open now and there’s that sense of community where we can remind each other of these things.

Rebecca
That’s what we’ve seen that is so exciting. There are a lot of people that have moved here or some traveling nurses that will come in and they always find community here for however long they’re here, even if they’re here for three months. We have some doctoral students that are working on their thesis at Emory University so close to us, and they just find a community here. People know that when they come to the studio on a regular basis, they’re going to see familiar faces. Our tagline is “you belong here” and we do our best, and we try to be reflective of the community around us and offer diversity and a welcoming space. I’m so excited when I see all ages and all sizes, and everyone from every walk of life in the studio, because everybody can do and needs yoga. We make sure that people feel they have a safe space to come to, and feel acknowledged and seen.

“Our tagline is ‘you belong here’ and we do our best, and we try to be reflective of the community around us and offer diversity and a welcoming space. I’m so excited when I see all ages and all sizes, and everyone from every walk of life in the studio, because everybody can do, and needs yoga. We make sure that people feel they have a safe space to come to, and feel acknowledged and seen.”

Iana
And I love that I hear that more and more. Now that I see studios embracing this and saying, yes, come, you can’t touch your toes, great. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. Just sit in the corner if you need to. I remember one of my teachers said, we want you to show up every single day for class. And if you’re too physically tired, it doesn’t matter. Just sit and listen. You can sleep in the back, but just be in the space and let it absorb in your body. You don’t have to be moving doing the Asana, but just be with us.

Rebecca
And just see what’s possible. I think that’s one of the things, too, with the pandemic, we all got into this mindset of feeling very isolated. So it’s important that we can come in. Over the weekend, when I was teaching that retreat, I opened up with one of the quotes from Theodore Roosevelt about the comparison as the thief of joy. So by human design, we feel as though we have to apologize: “Oh, I used to be able to do this stuff, but I’m older now and I’m out of shape.” No, you did the hardest part, you got here. We didn’t want mirrors in the studio because the mirror is you. It’s about how you feel in your body. I’m certainly not judging you. And so reserve that judgment. Put it somewhere else. We don’t need to judge ourselves for what we are or are not able to do. So just being in your body, being in community, learning how to breathe.

We see such great suffering. Several of my teachers are therapists as well as being yoga teachers, and people are depressed. They’re anxious, they’re worried. You come here, and this is to help you deal with all of that stuff. And it doesn’t have anything to do with how flexible you are. You may increase your flexibility. You may not. You may get stronger. You may not. I mean, if those are things you’re looking for, you certainly can do it. All people can do when they come into the studio is to get a little bit more in touch with breathing and then what breathing can do for you and make you feel like when you walk away.

Iana
And thank goodness we can all breathe.

Rebecca
Everyone can breathe. When people tell me, I can’t do yoga, can’t touch my toes. I say, can you breathe? You can do yoga.

Iana
You’re alive and you’re good.

Rebecca
That’s exactly right. And if you can’t sit on the floor we have a class where they use chairs. It’s really nice to see my vision taking root in that every person feels as though there is a class on the schedule they can go to. I can go to any class, I know I’m welcome in any class. We’re in an area that is largely Jewish based and so there is an Orthodox community here. And so it was originally the idea to offer a women’s only class so that women who don’t feel comfortable because of or for cultural reasons don’t practice with men would come. And then we have a men’s class because men often feel like it’s just women that practice yoga and they feel as though they come into a class where there are women that they’re going to be laughed at or they won’t be able to keep up. So we have a class that’s dedicated just for men.

If you like jazz, we have a class that’s yoga and has jazz music because music is therapeutic. All kinds of things on our schedule that really try to tick boxes so everybody feels welcome. So if you can breathe, you can do yoga. I love that.

Iana
What do you find is the most popular class? And it could just be because of the time it’s offered, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but what class is generally the most full?

Rebecca
The class that we tend to see the most people in consistently is a Flow and Restore class. We do about 30 minutes or so of movement on your feet or sun salutations. And then the second half of that is more restorative or yin poses or stretching, for lack of better word. I love that qualifying that people really enjoy that it’s accessible for most people to do. And then the other thing is we have a basics class. We do that once a week, and that’s usually pretty popular most of the time. Most of our classes do really well. We see quite a few people in them.

Iana
I’m so happy for all your success. I always like to see what’s coming up that you’re super excited about. Do you have any other retreats that are coming up or anything you want to share?

Rebecca
We have a few really exciting retreats. We have a retreat in the southwest of France in May that we’ll be going to, which is really amazing, which is very exciting. Then it’ll be our third year in a row to go to Shinolani which is in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. It’s a beautiful setting in the jungle. It’s so wonderful, we’re excited. They’re lovely people and have great programming when we go.

The other thing that I’m really excited about is that Jasmine, our teacher is a doula, and she’s soon to be a midwife, and she has a whole program she’s bringing to the yoga hive, which will be all about women’s services. She’ll be our women’s support services coordinator. And I’m really excited because both are something that I wanted to have and do. She’ll be introducing all kinds of wonderful resources in classroom settings and also outside of that with her services.

All of my teachers are very diverse, and one has a coaching business, so she’ll be introducing more things. 2023 will see more of what my teachers have to offer aside from just coming in and teaching a class to see more programming that will be centered around their particular talents and gifts, too. So that’s the things I’m really excited about for the year ahead.

Iana
Big stuff is coming. I’m so happy to hear that.

Rebecca
The pleasure is all mine. Being a steward for this practice is really important, and I’m glad to have these types of opportunities. So thank you very much. Thanks for the chat and thanks for continuing to do the work that you do, too.

Spotlight Festival: Yoga Week

Spotlight Festival: Yoga Week

FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT: Yoga Week

March 19th Kickoff Celebration at Shangri-La Springs, Bonita Springs, FL

PROFILES

FESTIVALS

Spotlight Festival: Yoga Week

Looking for something to do this Spring? 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 Natalie Williams, president of Yoga Week, a Unity Mind Body event, who we are thrilled to partner with this March! As a special exclusive gift to our community, save 10% on your ticket purchase via this direct link, or use code at checkout: YogaLove

What inspired you to create a festival?
In 2020 I had a vision to start bringing people together, due to the lack of connection that came from “social distancing.” I could tell that people wanted and needed to gather again. Many just didn’t know where to start; after ending their in-person practice for so long. I have the background of 10+ years’ coordinating in corporate fitness and wellness, as well as 12+ years’ experience of being a yoga teacher. I knew I had the tools to co-create an event to help many others, benefit both mentally and physically in our community. So, with the collaboration of our amazing yoga community, I did.

What makes your festival unique?
Showcasing diverse styles of yoga for a weeklong and bringing a community together who support each other.

What offering/presenter or class are you most excited about for this year’s event?
All of the diversity! There are many types of yoga, and each of them have fantastic mind and body benefits! From Vinyasa (flow) to Aerial (silk/hammock) and all of them in-between. Along with the different teachers, and locations that all hold their own style. I grew up traveling the world and always had an admiration of differences. I realized that holding space for all the variety, creates an interesting and spectacular world of richness and endless knowledge.

Learn More:
www.UnityMindBody.com is a platform for many to connect. Find upcoming Yoga Weeks, Retreats and virtual on demand classes through our Unity Membership that you can try free today at www.Unity-Membership.com

We have the 3/26 Grand Finale only tickets available for the upcoming Yoga Week located in Southwest, Florida at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, Estero, Florida. Find your room block here.

Next retreat: Luxury Greek Retreat
September 8th-14th 2023

 

IG: @UnityMindBody
IG: @YogaWeekSWFL
IG: @NamasteWithNatalie
FB: facebook.com/yogaweekusa
FB: facebook.com/unitymindbody1
Website: UnityMindBody.com

Registration Info:
Yoga Week FB Event: fb.me/e/1TUg9vyuQ
Yoga Week Website: unitymindbody.com/yoga-week/
Yoga Week Tickets: eventbrite.com


Photo credit: Stefania Pifferi

UNITY MIND BODY
Spotlight Festival: Yoga Week
Spotlight Festival: Yoga Week
Spotlight Festival: Yoga Week
TILLAGE CLOTHING COMPANY

TILLAGE CLOTHING COMPANY

TILLAGE CLOTHING COMPANY

Yoga Purse

Founded in 2015, this company’s mission is to connect the socially conscious consumer to clothing that delivers incredible comfort and impeccable style while using the highest quality fabrics. We encourage and empower both ethical and philanthropic shopping. All of our apparel is made in small batches in the U.S.A. A portion of the company’s profit is eagerly given to global organizations that fight on the front lines to end human trafficking.

EMAIL:

abby@tillageclothing.com

Please check out our international freedom fighters link to see exactly who you are supporting through each purchase:

MEET THE DESIGNER AND CREATOR OF TILLAGE:

Yoga Purse

Abby Farr

A high energy, free-spirited woman, Abby has felt compelled toward a life mission of “setting captives free,” for nearly two decades. She’s been able to work towards that end entrenched in volunteer work with marginalized humans, from homelessness to trafficking victims. Finally, in 2015, she launched a crowd-funding campaign to fulfill her dream to start her own company that would focus on this same mission and empower her to give back on a much grander scale. She hopes to use her Tillage platform to educate and empower her team to shop consciously and give back generously to the same end.