“Big skies, big hearts”—that’s how Rachelle and Monique, known together for their work with Prairie Yogi, describe our wide community of practitioners and the great expanse of land—of grain and grit—upon which we move. Prairie Yogi is an online magazine devoted to building connections across the prairies, uniting yogis from Edmonton all the way to Winnipeg.
Often it may feel that we’re isolated here, far north and far away from an engaged, curious community of yogis—that’s why Rachelle and Monique wanted to create an open, online forum for prairie practitioners to share their experiences, their studios, and their love for the wide expanses we call home. The idea is that we can foster a family, we can cultivate a kind of Canadian kula—and feel connected, whether linked with words on their website, or when we travel between places.
This month, Prairie Yogi is traveling from their home base of Winnipeg to officially launch their project westward—and they’ll be stopping by Edmonton next week, on June 11th. We feel so honoured that they’ve hand-picked two of our very own instructors to lead through their launch—Yogalifer and Studio Director Lindsey Park will be guiding an outdoor practice during the day at Louise McKinney Park. And in the evening, our own Myrah Penaloza, alongside Andrew Misle and Teresa Byer, will be helping teach a 75-minute class at Latitude 53—an event that involves not just yoga, but also wine, food trucks, and beats by guest DJ Robindra. (You had us at yoga!)
We chatted with Prairie Yogi to get to know these lovely ladies a little better before their big YEG debut. Here’s what they had to say.
1) Tell us about Prairie Yogi—who are you, and what do you do?
R: Prairie Yogi was created first as a print Magazine to educate + inspire yogis across the Prairies, and it has evolved into such a beautiful community over the last 2.5 years. We believe story-telling, community, and experiences and these beliefs are expressed through our digital media property prairieyogi.com and our signature style of events. I am the founder of Prairie Yogi, the editor of the website, and the one who spearheads our events and marketing strategies.
M: Prairie Yogi began as a print magazine two and a half years ago. Now it's grown into something much larger and something very special. It's an inclusive community of passionate yogis (of all levels!). We host inspiring yoga events, workshops and this September we'll be hosting Prairie Love - the prairie's first yoga and wellness festival. I created the Prairie Yogi website and have my hands in all things creative: design, photography, video- creativity makes me bust with joy!
2) What do you love about the prairies?
R: I love the four seasons, life in the extremes and its effect on our people. We're friendly and can handle pretty much anything mother nature throws our way. I'm a gypsy at heart, I never thought I'd end up here. It took me years of travel across four continents and living on a tropical island to realize just how special the prairies are and be ready to call Winnipeg the place I choose to spend life.
M: My favourite thing about the prairies is the people. The prairies will always mean home, family and community to me. Regardless of the weather (we really do endure the extremes!) prairie people always seem to embrace the temperatures with resilience and make the most of the beautiful seasons we have.
3) Have you visited Edmonton before? If so, what stands out—do you have any Edmonton stories? What did you love?
R: My first love was from Edmonton. I spent some time in the summer there with him wildly (and naively) in love, the way you can only be when you're young. My memories of the city are fond and so special. The one that sicks out in my mind is seeing the Northern Lights for the first time during a backyard sleep out. I also am a big kid and love the water park at West Edmonton Mall :)
M: The last time I was in Edmonton I think I must have been 7 years old. So as you can imagine - West Ed water park better watch out! But in all seriousness, people often say that Edmonton is Winnipeg's sister city and I'm really looking forward to experiencing the city and community. I've noticed how vibrant the yoga community is in Edmonton and I really am looking forward to connecting and making new friendships.
4) What can we expect from your events during the #YEG launch on June 11th?
R: Community, fun, and inspiration all around. We like to laugh and play and we encourage participants to bring an element of fun and lightness into their practice and community. We always have a few surprises and goodies up our sleeves as well for participants. We're had such amazing feedback from our events in Winnipeg, and we cannot wait to spread the love out West!
M: Fun, smiles, treats, and a great sense of community. My favourite thing about Prairie Yogi events is the way people really feel the love, open arms and open hearts.
5) What makes someone a prairie yogi?
R: I think it means different things to everyone. We always ask that question to our prairie yogis of the month and the answers always vary. For me it means being resilient, celebrating where you’re from, and being connected. Connection allows you to let life flow, good and bad, like it does in the big skies of vast horizon of the prairies.
M: I think being a Prairie Yogi means that a) you embrace some aspect of yoga in your life and b) you've found a home in the prairies - whether you were born here, live here, or live elsewhere.
We’d love for you to join us on June 11th as we give Prairie Yogi an open-armed, open-hearted, warm warm welcome to our city. We know we’ll be there! Daytime event is free and drop-in, tickets for the evening event are available here.