Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Time For Something NEW < < <

It's Fall and a great time to start something new. I've always loved this time of year. As a kid I loved summer. I was athletic and summer vacation meant playing on a soccer team, hot summer nights playing kick-the-can with all the kids in our neighborhood after dark, bike rides....you get the picture.  Freedom to play around and get lost with friends for months. But I always welcomed the end of summer too. I liked the structure that came with a new school year and the change in season, the opportunity to learn something new. 

Since YG opened 6 years ago (6 years!) I have been getting asked when was I going to teach trainings. And, truth be told, initially I had no plan for 200 or 300 hour teacher trainings. I knew I wanted to teach teachers and that I would eventually have a training program to do just that, but I wasn't sure what those training programs would look like. I needed to take some time as a new studio owner to get really clear on what was I teaching and how it was specific to my way of practicing and teaching. 

So, for the first 2 winters I taught 6 week programs and just called them "Advanced Teacher Trainings". I just started to play around with how I was building classes around shapes and actions and tying them in with themes. I started to keep track of what I was using from the different systems of yoga I had been trained and certified in. What worked for me and what didn't. And it was great. I started to gain confidence around why I was choosing to teach the way I was, and just let it kind of take shape on it's own.

With that, a couple years into YG, students from our lovely community started asking (and then were very persistent, thank you Miss Calley Bliss and Pete Cairns) about getting certified through a YG TTing program. I was clear when I initially opened YG I didn't want to start training programs just to get people certified and credentialed. I wanted to be able to teach teachers to REALLY teach. To know how to work with students individually while in a group setting without stopping the rest of the class, for example. In particular I wanted to steer teachers away from teaching pose, pose, pose and teach them how to understand the ACTIONS of each pose in order to create the SHAPE. I wanted to do this through talking about linear vs cyclical learning and the importance of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in order to learn something new. Understanding ALIGNMENT became the emphasis of my training and what I saw missing in many teachers understanding of the practice the most. I also wanted to teach teachers how to use metaphor in a clear and concise way that tied in with the physical practice. 

By fall 2015 I felt clear and ready to teach teachers. I spent that fall getting organized, writing curriculum and setting up the behind-the-scenes materials necessary to start my my 200 Hour TT program in winter 2016 (thank you again, Calley Bliss).  I titled it UNDERSTANDING ALIGNMENT THROUGH ACTION and we spent 3 months geeking out on that. It was a lot of work and so much fun. More fun than I had imagined and I kind of fell in love with teaching teachers. With every training taught I've had this great opportunity to build it and change it and make it better for the next time. 

And I kind of thought that would be it. I would train teachers and they would become a big part of the studio and community at YG and they would continue to learn and grow through that. I saw the 200 Hour TT as foundational and was clear to let my teachers know that it was really the beginning of what is a life-long study. I had kept a running tab of what we didn't have time for in the 200 Hour each time I taught it and started to organize materials for additional trainings for certified instructors. I got clear on how additional training would pick up on where the 200 Hour left off.  I wanted to have more time to teach the basics, how to teach with clarity and organize a class with intention. My certified teachers were asking for more. 

This fall I started my first 300 Hour TT. I've titled it CLEAR AND VIBRANT VOICE and cannot wait to spend Wednesday nights for the next year with this great crew of yogis who are curious, and confident and understand how this process works and can't wait to learn more. I'm so thankful for each of the teachers and students who have jumped in to learn from me and spend time at YG to take their teaching and practice up. It's not kick-the-can or soccer but I love it just as much. It's all the freedom and structure we got as kids playing around together on summer nights with the excitement of learning something new when a new school year began.

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Monday, January 23, 2017


YOGA Garden is a beautiful sacred space, which provides space to grow and learn through the practice of yoga. The 200 Hour Teacher Training provided tools to live yoga on and off your mat and applies a greater sense of understanding to you and the world you live in. How we place ourselves on our yoga mat says a lot about how we place ourselves in the world and how we interact with the world. This experience allowed me truly understand my body and it’s uniqueness - I now see my limitations as a place to push off from and grow into.  There’s a great power that happens on your mat in facing yourself and then noticing your limiting behaviors to grow to your full potential. 

Thanks to Kaitlyn Julius (Fall 2016 YG Teacher Trainee) - for her kindness and insight. She brought so much laughter and fun to the training, perfectly timed when we needed it most. She spends her working days consulting and is an adventurer and avid traveller as a lover of life, that is when she's not at YOGA Garden honing her skills as a teacher and student. Kaitlyn is new to YG, only having found us just before the training began last August and has become an integral part of the studio in that short time. We are so happy to have her in the studio!

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200 HOUR TEACHER TRAINING & Personal Wellness Program:


w Laurel Van Matre

WINTER 2017 /// FEB 14 - MAY 16


Sundays 12:00 – 5:00 pm

Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30 – 9:30 pm

There will be no class Sunday, March 19th and a break Easter weekend Thursday, April 13th - Sunday, April 16th.


 // $2,850

Credit Cards Accepted


For questions please call Laurel @ 763-458-2190 or email laurel@yogagardenmpls.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Work HOME for a New Year...

I think I love my work home just as much as I love my home-home.  

YOGA Garden is a labor of love in all respects. 

I have worked hard to fulfill a dream of creating a place that is beautiful and inspires freedom and creativity to do the work we need to do as individuals and together as a group. A place where I can go to do my work and feel good about working hard toward my goals at the end of each day.  I LOVE that I get to share this space with so many creative, intuitive and forever curious people who have also made this space their yoga home.  

Here's to a new a year, our collective potential and working to fulfill dreams for all of us.  I wish you your dreams for 2017!!

Much Love, LVM

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words,

and that if you know the words that the world is made of,

you can make of it whatever you wish.

Terence McKenna

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What's in there...In the dark?

This is the time of year where the days get shorter and the nights get longer.  Where we find ourselves at the beginning and the end.  The bounty of the growing season is coming to an end.  I cut my perennial gardens back and my beloved cut flower garden came out only 2 weeks ago and already feels long gone.  But we've still got kale and hearty greens to pick.  Root vegetables and squash to choose from.  The earth is not quite done with the cycle of this growing season, but close.

I LOVE this time of year.  This is the time of year we start asking ourselves what we want as we make our way toward a new year and reflect on what we wanted for the current year and how it went.   How did we do this trip around the sun?  What do we want for the coming year?  It's an ambiguous and inspiring space full of potential for the future and the same time an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for what we learned from the current year as it comes to a close.

I started this project, YOUR YEAR IN A WORD, for myself several years ago now.  The idea was to pick a word that would keep me focused as winter approached.  I would make a 'flag' of my word and put it on my nightstand so it would be the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night.  It would always kind of be out there to guide me like my own personal North Star when I got lost or off track.

In the yoga world we call this puja. Puja literally means 'to place in front of you what it is you want to become'.  How beautiful is that?! We set up a puja, or altar, in our yoga studios to recognize this for ourselves and each other.  To recognize we have a place to go where we get to do our work individually but together as a group.  More overlapping cycles of growth, change, and opportunity to design the lives we want and be thankful for the work we've done so far and recognize that in each other.

So, what is your work in the dark?  What do you want to move toward as we make our way through the end to a new beginning?

This Thursday I will teach the annual YOUR YEAR IN A WORD class.  I will start with a brief story on the 3 Goddesses and what they represent in the cycles of change and challenge metaphorically and then take the class through a brief meditation where you have an opportunity to start thinking about your word for 2017


Thursday, Oct 27th

6:30 - 8:00 PM

$12 Pre-Pay // $15 Drop-In

All Levels Welcome

Thursday, October 13, 2016

DEVELOP a HOME Practice < < <


This workshop is for you yogis who are looking to take your practice to the next level.  We will work on developing a home practice and working toward a apex pose through the understanding of sequencing.  Laurel Van Matre is known for her depth in the understanding of alignment in each pose and will break down the poses that elude most of us and make them feel easy and accessible in a way you've never practiced before.  Plus, she's funny.

All levels welcome.

Saturday, October 15th
We meet from noon - 3:00
Please send an email at laurel@yogagardenmpls.com to reserve your spot
You can bring cash or check the day of.
Or register ahead of time online and pay by cc here:

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Saving Up Summer For Winter * * *

Oh, Summer, I wish you could last forever.  Just kidding, I don't really.  I love summer but I like change too. I would go crazy without the change of seasons.  These are some of my favorite scenes of what turned out to be a blissfully long Summer.  I will be coming back to these pics 6 months from now, when we are buried underneath layers of ice and snow to dream of succulents, warm summer sun, patio time with friends and about what the future holds.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

YOGA is Not For Yogis, YOGA is For HUMANS < < <

I can't tell you how often I'm thankful that I found yoga years ago. Its not just about exercise - its about moving your body in healthy ways, while you contemplate the way you move through your life, while having time to think about the philosophy and laws of nature which help us to understand where we are in this experience of being human. THAT is yoga. And THAT is why I studied, and continue to study with Laurel Van Matre at#YOGAGardenMPLS:
This is my personal "Yoga Has Helped Me With..." List:
- Managing stress in college at the University of North Texas
- Managing spring #allergies symptoms for several years
- Transition to living in New York, New York
- Managing #anxiety when my income tanked along with the crash of 2008
- Bad bout of #depression in 2010
- Managing #stress as a new teacher / head of department in Idaho
- Sorting out what I want to do next with my life / career#NoForRealWhatAmIDoingHere
- Moving INTO the home I grew up in as a #GrownAssWoman
- Learning how the hell to #ACT for #VoiceOver after a dozen years as a vocalist, and keep my character by keeping me IN my #BREATH...
The last item was just this week. We all have our own list. And these#hashtags exist because in our modern world, we all deal with this stuff. Yoga is not for yogis, yoga is for humans.
I never ever ever intended on teaching yoga. I always loved that a yoga mat was a place for just ME - nothing to do with money, work, relationships, jobs.... it was a place to pause, so I could be better at those other things.
This stuff is about your own human #experience.
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Thank you Miss Calley Bliss - 2016 YGTT Graduate, singer (voice of an angel, seriously), and always fun to be with. 
P.S.  I can't tell you how thankful I am you found YOGA Garden xo
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+ SHOW Up EVERY Day + 
: )