JUNE 7, 2018
Yoga found them years ago while they were travelling in India and kindled a passion that fueled them to eventually build and create their first sacred studio space.
They bring to both Yoga Santosha Mission and now Yoga Santosha Kensington/Bodhi Tree a diversity of talents and skills. Their passion, and their love for the yoga practice and community is an integral part of their success. They have built everything on a foundation of love and family.
We had the chance to connect with Candace and she shared their journey to here. Her words are filled with a vibrancy and excitement that exudes their ability to jump in and say yes even when the world might appear to be saying otherwise.
When and how did yoga first come into your lives?
We first found yoga while traveling around India. We saw a sign in Varkala, a beach town in southern India. I took one class and fell in love with the practice. Literally, I did it once and yoga was a part of my life forever more! When we got back to Canada it felt like a nice way to connect to India so I kept it up and very soon it was part of my daily life!
Your very first yoga studio was in Canmore. Can you tell us us how The Yoga Lounge came to be?
We had been traveling for 10 years when we ended up pregnant with our first son. I was doing a 2 week practice session with Pattbhi Jois (founder of Ashtanga Yoga) and Sharat (Pattabhi’s son) in London when we found out. We had been planning at the time to move to somewhere in Europe, perhaps Spain. When we found out we were pregnant, we decided that a move back to Canada might make the most sense as it was easier to start your own business there than somewhere in Europe.
Once we were back in town we went hiking in Canmore and as we walked back through town at the end of the day we saw a for rent sign up in the window of what would soon become The Yoga Lounge! We were like, this is a cute town, wouldn’t it be great if that was our yoga studio, and we raised our child here in this place? We called the number from the sign on our drive back to the city and the landlord convinced us that that is what we should do! He said Canmore doesn’t have a yoga studio and it really needs one! That’s all it took! Haha! We have never had trouble jumping on things
How lucky we are all that you did! Your second studio is Yoga Santosha in Mission. After selling The Yoga Lounge did you intend to build another in Calgary?
We sold our Canmore studio and it devastated us! It was our first real experience of loss (but most definitely not our last). There were many factors that lead us to make that decision and it really did feel like it was the right choice, until we did it! After that, we always knew that we’d open another studio. We had thought that it would be in Victoria or perhaps in England somewhere (Alastair is English).
Just as we were about to try it out in Victoria, we found out that my Mom had cancer and we moved to Calgary to take care of her. We were expecting our second son at that time and he was born a few weeks after she passed away. It was a very hard time but having a baby at that time brought such lightness back into our lives, we were truly witnessing the cycle of life in all its glory!
Devastatingly, six short months later our beautiful, perfect baby boy was diagnosed with leukemia. Our lives were changed forever… We became residents of the children’s hospital for the next year while Kaidan went through grueling treatments. It was at that time that we decided that we’d stay in Calgary because we knew we’d want to stay close to the hospital, just in case Kaidan were to need help. After about 10 months, the doctors told us that he was doing so well, live your dream! We decided then and there to open Yoga Santosha!
The story didn’t end well… Kaidan passed away just as Alastair finished the demolition of the space. Just before we were to start building Santosha, we had to start building back our life! To say we were devastated would be an understatement. We were crushed on every level. Through the building of Santosha though, we really were able to build ourselves back up. The community and the practice saved us, and we’ve been so grateful ever since. You never forget, it becomes more about acceptance, it becomes your new normal, and we did get happy again, and we were blessed with 2 other beautiful children who along with Josh (our first son) continue to brighten each day.
It is incredible what you built from a foundation of love. And now as of May 1st you own Yoga Santosha Kensington/Bodhi Tree. Congratulations! You both bring such incredible gifts to the studios. Can you give us a feel for what each of your roles are.
I’d say that Al and I definitely have our roles, and we don’t try to do the same things as each other, that’s for sure! He’s really great at keeping everything running smoothly and doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff like website, systems and maintenance. He built Yoga Santosha Mission and The Yoga Lounge! He’s also great at training people on all of the systems that he has in place! I love teaching yoga and I love the community aspect, as I thrive on connecting with people! I don’t teach as often as I used to, as I’m super busy with our 3 kids and all that they have going on. We offer at least 3 yoga teacher trainings a year and I teach in all of them – this is a huge passion of mine! The depth that is possible in the trainings is amazing to be a part of and of course, the deep connection to the people in the trainings is something that fills me right up!
Connection is so integral to you both. To know you is to feel that! Family is your foundation. With 3 growing children give us a glimpse of a typical day outside of the yoga studio.
A typical day for us outside of the studio is always shifting and changing, which is great! I don’t love routines or monotony (although there is huge value in routines with kids!). Currently, all 3 of our kids are in soccer, this is their passion, their life! Especially for our eldest son, Josh, who turned 16 on the 3rd of June! He’s been playing 5 times a week forever it seems, and now it’s closer to 8 times with school soccer! The other two play 3 and 4 times a week, so basically, we spend a lot of our time driving and cheering them on from the sidelines!
Al and I love to entertain. We have close friends over as often as we can, usually every weekend, or we go out with friends. We’re very social and so are our kids so it’s usually fun times at our house! We also love to travel and have in the past taken our kids out of school and home schooled them while traveling! Last year we took them to one of our old stomping grounds – Thailand. It was great to see them with their backpacks on, huge smiles on their faces and loving the freedom that comes with the spontaneity of traveling.
Feeling free and content is such a gift. That brings us to the Sanskrit word Santosha. What does Santosha mean to you?
Santosha means contentment…but how do you find it? I believe that not all of us are content but that is where true happiness is. When we are continually searching, grasping at the past, guessing what the future might bring, we are not being present, we are not able to rest in contentment, but when we do, even for a short while, we get a glimpse and that glimpse is so special and shows us that that is where we are meant to be… Right here right now…
May we all land here. Right here. Thank you for creating such incredible spaces. You shared that the community and the practice saved you. The truth is that it has saved so many of us. It has been a safe landing place to release, to heal, and to grow. There are so many of us that are eternally grateful for what you have created and what you continue to create. May we all walk onto our mats and into our lives filled with more moments of connection, acceptance and santosha.
Namaste Candace and Alastair.
They are the co-owners of two amazing yoga studios. The journey that brought them from there to here is filled with travels, adventure, excitement, and deep heartache.
The foundation of love and family, the connection of heart and dedication.