Rachelle is one the sweetest people I’ve met since I started attending Yoga Public in the late summer of 2015. It’s kinda funny– I’ve made more meaningful relationships with yoga instructors than other students I attend class with. I guess after seeing faces again and again, and after the easy conversation starter of ‘hey, you work at Jenna Rae Cakes‘, it’s easier to connect with teachers than students.

Rachelle is the inventor of Prairie Yogi. As defined on their website:

We are inspired by the big skies of our geography and the big hearts of our people, and believe that by sharing the stories of our community and bringing together that community by creating inspiring experiences, we are making the prairies a bit brighter of a place.

I resonate with this.

The longing for community, of people to truly share life with, is something I find woven into my being. It’s beautiful to find a place to fit, a group that understands you, a people who bring out the best you have to offer, individuals that see you for who you want to be instead of who you have been. God offers all these to me in such tangible ways and has created a spark in all of us that He can truly fill. But we are created to share this spark with those around us, too.

That’s the beauty of my tiny yoga community– people seeing me for who I aspire to be, seeing me for who I am becoming, and acknowledging the constant state of growth and evolving we are continually immersed in. It’s truly magnificent.

Prairie Yogi, aside from creating wonderful content online, creates even more amazing events that connect other Prairie Yogi’s with makers, dreamers, and shakers. The events hosted find their crescendo in two main events throughout the year, Prairie Love Festival in the hot summer months, and Snowflake in the dead of a prairie winter. Since becoming a ‘yogi’, these events are some of the most coveted to attend– workshops led by the most amazing folks you can imagine highlight these gatherings, as well as healing self-care, whimsical creativity workshops, and introspective assemblies.

Over the summer I had the amazing opportunity to attend Prairie Love Festival for one of the two days. I headed out on Sunday morning and had a role of attending workshops, enjoying myself, and creating some social media content while taking it all in. It was a much needed unplug from the daily grind, a much needed time away from everything I normally do. I sat by the water at Fort Whyte Alive while listened to a DJ as someone braided my hair, I took in 5 workshops in one day seeing a goal of doing SUP yoga come to fruition, and took some time to just play. It was simply amazing.

When Snowflake was announced for January 15th, I immediately wanted to attend. Prairie Love Festival was such a treat, I knew it would be another great unplug… and the timing was perfect– the weekend of my 29th birthday! Fortunately for me, a couple weeks before the event Rachelle asked if I would partner with another friend of hers for an ‘Instagram Takeover’ the day of the festival! For anyone unfamiliar with an Instagram Takeover, it’s exactly how it sounds! An individual takes over an Instagram account for a day posting stories and actual photos all from their fresh perspective. It’s such a fun concept and I immediately said ‘yes’ before even taking a moment to think!

Snowflake was such a different adventure than Prairie Love Festival.

The smaller venue and capacity made you feel closer to those around you. The heritage setting was inspiring in ways different than the great outdoors– the attention to detail in the architecture surrounding you was awe-invoking and left you craving small moments with big intentions. The food was amazing, the vendors at the vendor village were so kind and informative, and it was such a highlight to meet so many people in real life instead of just following them on Instagram! These little moments of interaction with those in my tiny yoga community are so valuable– one girl I follow, whose handstands I admire, even helped me with some handstand work!

One of my favourite classes was led by Wesley Salter. After I attended his Get Zen class at Prairie Love Festival, where phrases he casually passed along have found themselves implanted in my brain ever since, I knew I would attend his class at Snowflake. Those key phrases, by the way, were…

“You’re not doing yoga if you’re not smiling” “Celebrate the sparkle”

His class at Snowflake was full of the same energy, high five moments, and deep hip opening work, combing the lighthearted aura of time spent with friends, with turning inwards to work through sticky parts of your hips. His class started with a mannequin challenge and dance party, was filled with looooong holds, checking out your neighbor’s butt, and, of course, more little one-line nuggets putting a smile on my face.

We are made up of over 80-billion cells.

Let’s imagine those cells to be like fireflies and light up the room.

It’s so important we remember to shine. It’s so important we don’t dim our light or spend time comparing our radiance to those around us. Wesley continued to remind us not to look at the people around us to see what kind of poses they are doing, or how deep they are getting. The shape we are in, while listening to what our body needs, is exactly where we need to be. “Community over competition” is where our focus needs to be. Events like Prairie Love Festival and Snowflake encourage you to be part of a community of beautiful beings all shining their light in unique ways to create a force so bright no amount of darkness can trickle in.