Raelene Hodgson – Village Yoga Pemberton
Raelene Hodgson - Village YOGA
Pemberton’s population may be small, but its offering on the yoga scene is MIGHTY. This month’s Meet the Members features Raelene Hodgson, the owner and the beating heart of Village Yoga.
Hi, I’m Raelene. Like many folks in this valley, I wear many hats! I am a mom, a yogi, a partner, a dog-mom, clinical counsellor, mediocre mountain biker, and have a full-time job in youth mental health at Foundry. I am a visitor to this territory. I grew up in Alberta and made my way west at eighteen to go to university. The first time I came to Lil’wat territory, I was an undergrad at UBC (albeit spending all my time snowboarding in Whistler), I had a white-knuckle drive up at night during a wild winter storm. The next morning I woke up to a snow-covered Tszil and decided this was where I wanted to live one day. It took me another decade before moving here full time and it was the best decision I ever made.
I always joke that I did not decide to own a yoga studio! When my dear friend Georgette was closing Tadasana (the old yoga studio), she was very persuasive and ultimately convinced me it would be a great time and an easy adventure. She was right about the first half! I am always grateful to her for the agressive nudge, because I am continually blown away by the quality of yoga teachers we have here in Pemberton and the dedication and kindness of our students. I’ve had the privilege of teaching and practicing yoga all over the world, and I can say Pemberton is truly world class.
The biggest challenge to running my business is… time. Running a business with a full-time job and a young family feels like a double black diamond life choice some days. But every time I roll out my mat, I am reminded it is the best labour of love.
The greatest reward of owning and operating a Village Yoga is seeing people find a home. Lots of people come in and tell me they’re too ____ (fill in the blank) inflexible injured, or old for yoga. Then I see them find their way, in a class practice that works for them, plus the added bonus of new friends! I love teaching at VYP because it’s always a bit noisy at the beginning, from the sounds of shared recipes, the swapping of eggs or baking, to coordinating babysitting…and then I think, wow, I would never otherwise get to be in the company of these people. Having a space that brings different people together in community is definitely the biggest reward.
I want people to know that yoga is for everyone and Village Yoga is a space where everyone is welcome. Unfortunately, mainstream marketing of yoga tells us yoga is something for rich, skinny, white women. This is not the case. I try my best to change the narrative and find ways to be more inclusive through having different styles of classes, more free/by-donation options, teacher training scholarships, uplifting and fundraising for community partners, donating our physical space to user groups, etc, but I am aware we still have a LONG way to go. I really, REALLY want people to know that Village Yoga is a community, not a “studio” and is here to support the broader community. Village Yoga has your back when it comes to supporting broader community initiatives. Please continue reaching out when you need that thing for your kid’s silent auction, that space to host your grief group or to simply stop in for a 60 minute nap and a comforting cup of tea. Village Yoga is so much more than poses on a mat. The essence of Village Yoga lies in the connections you make, the community you become a part of, and the special moments that happen in our shared space.
Learn more about Village Yoga at their website. VillageYogaPemberton.com