“Your work in the world is meant to be about expressing the power and spirit that’s within you.” – Baron Baptiste
I get asked all the time, “how did you end up here?”
Some apologize after asking, like it’s a secret and they are being nosy to ask – like I’m going to have to give away some big complicated map to the universe. I always share and how much detail I get to share is only dependent on how much time we both have. No secrets here; this is just my story of my path to yoga studio ownership. “End” is not what I call where I am. To end is to finish or stop and that’s not what I’m up to. I am moving toward things that inspire me and away from those that don’t. It’s often a very twisty path with detours, obstacles, wrong turns and wipe outs. Those of you who know me pretty well know that travel is about as high on my list of desirables as a root canal, so I will leave this travel metaphor before I get queasy!
I came to where I am right now because I was lost (there I go with the travel again). I had left my career as a high school band director, something that I had worked toward since middle school and succeeded at for several years, to be home with our newborn son. My identity had disappeared and when I stared at this “stay-at-home-mom” in the mirror, it was like looking at a stranger. I questioned everything – my value, my worth, my successes and failures. Fast forward to 10 months later, with the help of my OB/GYN I finally was able to see that I was suffering from postpartum depression. I started to emerge from the fog with the help of therapy and medication. Then, along came baby number two – a daughter who seemed from day one to look straight into my soul. This time, I was “prepared” for all of it; I had been through it before, my body would be “better” at pregnancy and I would see it all coming because I was “experienced”. Ha. Well, I bet most of you can imagine how that all worked out! I had a more intense pregnancy, more complications, more emotions, more, more, more. With an easier delivery minus a premature start (thank goodness) and a second, though anticipated, round of postpartum depression, off I went into the world as a stay-at-home-mom of two.
But here’s the thing: I was still lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt guilty for not bringing home money to support our family, I felt judged for leaving my hard earned career, and I felt like a failure as a mom and wife. I was stuck.
So how did yoga show up? Friends, other moms I’d met, doctors and therapists all said “do something for you -try a yoga class.” I was desperate, so I finally listened. Yoga wasn’t a complete stranger to me; I had taken a phy ed course in yoga to fulfill a degree requirement in college. I signed up for a boot camp that included yoga and bought a cheap-o yoga mat. Stretchy pants? Check! I quickly realized that the only thing that got me to boot camp was the yoga at the end, so next I ventured into the yoga studio world. I jumped from place to place and teacher to teacher until I finally landed in a Baptiste power flow class (taught by Ruthie – oh the universe is so sneaky!). After that class, I knew there was something more to this yoga stuff, but I wasn’t sure yet why this was different. Thank goodness for Google; it led me to Baron Baptiste and his opportunities for training. I took all the Ruthie classes I could; it was something like 9 per week for a while (can you say yoga-teacher stalker?!). I joined a “40 Days to Personal Revolution” group, a Baptiste program of daily yoga, meditation, and inquiry work led by Ruthie and eventually declared in her living room that I would open a yoga studio. That declaration was in May 2012. I got on a plane, left my babies, TRAVELED, and trained three different times that summer. Kula Yoga & Wellness opened its doors in Cottage Grove on November 12, 2012. Just shy of 2 years later, Kula’s second location on Monroe Street in Madison opened on October 18th, 2014. While I won’t bore you with all the details and ups and downs of owning and operating a small business (maybe another post, or ask me if you really want to know!), I will say that without the amazing and supportive people that have been a part of this wild ride so far, there’s no way I would have been able to succeed. It really does take a village!
“Were you scared?” You bet I was. But making the decision to actually do it was the worst part. I bit off a chunk of the to-do list every day and kept moving forward. Very quickly, my perspective changed and the idea of NOT opening Kula was far scarier than anything else I could imagine ahead of me. Is everyday filled with rainbows, glitter and unicorns? Far from it, but most days, I see them. I see the sparkle in a new yogi’s eyes, the colorful and patterned yoga pants as I teach, and possibly best of all – the real, authentic emotions that connect us humans to one another. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, not knock you down. Slow your pace, find your balance, be flexible and breathe as we experience what the universe has in store for each of us. Do something for you – try a yoga class!
– Becky Petersen-owner of Kula Yoga & Wellness