You know when you dream about something big for so long that it becomes a faraway fantasy? And then, when it happens, you can’t stop pinching yourself to make sure it’s real? The Island Yoga story is that dream come true for me.
I still have to pinch myself from time to time.
I moved to Aruba soon after falling in love with yoga in Costa Rica. This tiny island had barely heard of the practice, but I was determined to teach it and share its wisdom that had helped me heal so deeply.
I began by handing out flyers up and down the beaches in hopes someone would show up with a beach towel later that day for a free class with me. Beyond these classes on the beach, my ultimate dream was to own a yoga studio here where everyone could come every damn day for class, organic and vegan food and a loving, conscious community. It sounded magical, but also a little crazy. But that's no reason to give up!
Fast forward 7 years. Not only have Aruba's grocery stores started selling kale and vegan cheese, but the community has become interested in yoga! The timing for my dream to manifest was still challenging, but more than that, I could feel in my bones - it was divinely aligned. I couldn't wait any longer. Through our community on the island and online, I knew it was time.
Even before we found the crumbling old bar to gut and remodel, this community helped us decide on its name and volunteered to come to Aruba and help, working day and night with loving eyes and hands to put the very last detail into place before our doors opened. This community of artists made us beautiful artwork, desks, an outdoor bar and sacred altar—every part of this building was made with love. And this community sent us unending encouragement when we weren’t sure how we were going to see it through.
Creating a yoga studio is not easy. Creating a yoga studio on a tiny desert island is really, really not easy!
But through incredible community, creative problem solving and A LOT of prayer and trust, we did it.
On January 1, 2017, we opened. Locals and travelers stepped through the round, wood doors, slid off their shoes and rolled out their mats side by side. With the moon crystals glowing under the dark walnut wood beams of the Luna Shala, over 60 people breathed and move together through 108 Sun Salutations. PURE. MAGIC.
Holding my hands on my belly and my baby girl inside, looking around at all these people wanting to practice yoga and practice it here with us, my heart almost couldn’t handle it. My dream had come true.
After a process that asked for the most love, patience and trust I’ve ever experienced (all while being super-mega pregnant!), Island Yoga has become the biggest yoga center in the Caribbean: we have 3 yoga shalas, a boutique, an organic café serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, a wrap-around garden and offices for our amazing team. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?
I still get goosebumps just thinking about this beautiful space. Sacred! Magical! A place to call home.
As with everything, it's a work in process and I feel like for every week that passes, and every soul that steps through the doors, more and more sprinkles of magic are added.
In just 2 years, thousands of souls ready to heal themselves and heal the world have gathered to set healing intentions in sacred circle, become lifelong friends over smoothies in the café, and made Island Yoga their home away from home.
I want to take a moment to thank our studio designer, Kelly Robinson (she was also the doula that helped bring Lea Luna into the world!). From start to finish, we could have never completed the studio without her.
Kelly understands space and appreciates its potential. She lives the message that any space can be a conduit for the greater good, and she is on a mission to help companies be the change we wish to see in the world.
Our connection to Mother Earth is everything to Kelly; from the gorgeous organic bamboo floors in our shalas to our live cactus fence, she created a Feng Shui space for all who enter to instantly feel more united with themselves, our community and the beautiful planet that supports us.
If you're looking for an amazing designer who’s dedicated to creating sacred spaces and doing good things for the world... Hit her up! Or, you know, if you want help pushing a 10-pound baby out of your own sacred space!
Love you, Kel. Thank you for all that you do.
To all who helped create this space, to all who have walked through our doors and rolled out their mats, thank you for practicing with us, for believing in us and believing in me.
To those who haven’t visited us yet, come practice with us in paradise! We have classes, retreats, workshops, teacher trainings and more. Our doors are open to ALL.
What’s your fondest memory of Island Yoga? When will we meet you on your mat? Tell me below!