My mom is Joleen Emery, Founder and CEO of Big Raven Yoga. She is a yoga mom. She is leggings everyday...wanna go to yoga with me... take a deep breath...you are worthy just as you (no changes required) kind of mom.
My mom has been practicing yoga since before I was born. We call her "yoga obsessed" behind her back and to her face. When we were growing up, her idea of a great afternoon would be taking all of us to a community yoga class or going on a hike and then suggest we try a pose to "better connect with nature." Think tree pose while walking among the trees. I still remember how excited she got when my brother Jack stopped and did a scorpion right in the middle Colorado mountain trail.
Jack hits his Scorpion (Colorado Springs, CO)
I have so many wonderful memories of my mom demonstrating poses and encouraging me and my siblings to try them. All of us down on the floor laughing, falling (the floor wasn't that far away) continuing to try—we lovingly teased her while secretly adoring how much fun we were having. Her favorite pose back then was hurdler, we were so proud of her strength as she rested one knee on her elbow and lifted her other leg high to the sky. It was actually a surprise to me to learn that not all moms did yoga, that not all moms begged their kids to go to class with them, that not all moms planned the rest of their life around their daily yoga practice.
Joleen's Hurdler's Pose (San Simone, CA)
There were so many times my sister Hannah and I joined her at Core Power for CP2 or Yoga Sculpt. I could just feel her joy as she walked into the studio with us. I'm not sure if she was proud or simply delighted that we were on this path with her. Whatever it was, I liked it. No. I loved it. I loved how my actions brought my mom an emotion I could feel coming out of her body and into mine.
Charlie's elevated pike (Spring Grove, MN)
Hannah's updog (Los Angeles, CA)
When my mom announced she was going to get her Yoga Teacher Certification none of us where surprised. When she announced she was going to start a yoga mat company that would focus on amazing artwork on great mats we thought that made sense. When my mom shared they were going to invest in several thousand dollars in specialized printing equipment we thought of course they are. When she said they were going to buy a farm for yoga retreats and move us from our wonderful life in Minneapolis to a small town of 1,300... we raised our hands and said, "what's that now?
We have been in Spring Grove one year this week.
On our farm my mom has her own yoga studio, a print shop for yoga mat production, sleeping accommodations for 14, a dining hall that seats 60, a 2.2 mile nature trail that surrounds our property, and a home that is quite honestly breathtaking. She is now an accomplished skid steer driver, she loves having free range chickens, she has been clearing the grove, painting miles and miles of trim and during all of this she has still been practicing and leading yoga.
Big Raven Yoga's Gorgeous Studio (Spring Grove, MN)
If you read this blog you know there have been some challenging times for my family. We are normal and just like everyone else—there are highs and lows. There was a time in my life when I was feeling a little lost. During that time I thought a lot about my mom and her dedication to yoga. I could hear her words in my ears as I thought about breathing in through my nose—exhaling through a closed mouth—making the sound of the ocean. I thought about pulling peace, love, forgiveness, and tenderness into my heart. Letting the abundance of those words surround me and bring me comfort knowing all of those things were right there within my reach because that's where I put them. I believe my mom when she says, "yoga is a metaphor for our life... it's just practice... you get as many do-overs as you're willing to take."
I think about getting to yoga every day—I plan my life around when I'll be able to get to practice. I feel better every time I step off my mat. I miss it when it's been awhile between classes. I love taking care of my body while I'm fueling my mind. I am so much like my mom and wanted her to know that having a yoga mom is the best. I love feeling her influence in my heart.
Joleen and Georgie's side by side Reverse Warrior
I'm proud of you mommy and I love you.