Big Raven Yoga Brings New Purpose to Stratford Farm in Spring Grove | Company

Editor-in-Chief, The Caledonia Argus

It’s an iconic farm just south of Spring Grove, and it has several new purposes including yoga, a retreat center, and a bed and breakfast.

Big Raven Yoga is thrilled to have a new home on the old Stratford Farm. Owners Joleen Emery and Darin Warling have relocated from Minneapolis, bringing with them their yoga practice and custom yoga mat business.

The beauty of the drift-free area and modern farm amenities drew them to the farm, Warling said, not to mention the location between La Crosse, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota.

“The view from our property … we were really lucky,” Emery added. “We’ve been entrepreneurs for a long time and the idea of ​​having to drive in a commercial space … we wanted to all work and live in the same space.”

Emery is an E500 certified yoga teacher. She has been teaching for 10 years and has 500 hours of teaching and training. There are different levels, from beginner to experienced, and Emery is able to help you at all levels.

“Some people, when you ask them about yoga, tell you about poses and physical practice. It’s an important part of flexibility and strength, ”said Emery. “This is important because it helps us adjust our breathing to our movement and helps us turn inward.”

Emery teaches Beginner’s Slow Flow Yoga, Ageless Yoga, Relaxation Yoga, Yoga Flow and Power Yoga. Flow Yoga continuously moves from one pose to another.

She also has two other teachers currently on the farm with her. Megan Peter leads Prenatal Yoga and Kriya Yoga, which is a breathing class that teaches stress-relieving techniques and provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in deep meditation.

Ryan Hoefs runs free DDP yoga classes as he prepares for his instructor certificate. This type of exercise is gentle on the joints, but still gives a good cardio workout. Most classes are offered at least twice a week.

With plenty of classes offered, Big Raven Yoga also offers a range of pricing options. A single walk-in class costs $ 15, an unlimited monthly class pass is $ 79, a 10 class pass costs $ 125, and a special new member is $ 197 which includes a yoga mat personalized, a mala bracelet and a pass for 10 lessons. People can also work individually or in a small group with Emery for $ 200.

“There is something everyday … Monday through Saturday. Yoga is one of the three things we do, ”Emery said. “Designer retreats for artists of all mediums … [and] an operational guest room.

While not designed for pottery and clay mediums, artists can bring their supplies and projects while they are on the farm. Weddings are always available to host on the farm. To stay, customers can book through the website or on AirBNB. Recently, the farm hosted guests for the Caledonia / Spring Grove Film Festival, including Daniel Baldwin and his daughters. The rooms also feature works of art by Emery.

“Darin is an engineer. He probably never thought he would be a yoga mat maker and retreat center owner, ”Emery said. “He makes so many things possible. “

“It’s definitely a collaboration between us. Joleen is the visionary, ”he replied.

Plus, Emery and Warling brought their yoga mat printing business with them. As art director, Emery has around 300 different designs created by herself or a member of her team. There are also 30 guest artists who present their work on the rugs and receive a commission.

“Some of them have strong social media audiences,” Emery said. “Their fans can’t afford to buy original artwork, but they can make a yoga mat. They feel connected to the artists and can use their carpet every day.

These are also not your typical yoga mats that you find in average department stores. Big Raven Yoga mats are made from natural rubber, which gives them a weight of 7 lbs. In order to print many fantastic colors and patterns on a yoga mat, a microfiber suede is printed and then fused to the rubber. The microfiber suede allows “a really nice color, won’t fade, chip or crack,” Emery explained. The ink is also water-based, durable and environmentally friendly.

Warling added that they can print the rugs on site and ship them quickly. Or for more local orders, people can pick it up from the farm. They can even go through the process and lend a hand, if they wish.

For the sake of durability, Big Raven Yoga only prints mats that have already been sold. They also allow for customizations, such as names.

And if they can push their rugs a little further, they do. Yoga mats usually have a company name tag attached to the mat, but instead of attaching tags, their name is cleverly hidden in the design.

“It’s being in art, not in art. You will find it on everyone. It’s all about art, ”Emery said.

The reason for starting a business with artistically designed yoga mats comes from a “little thief” in the locker room, Emery says.

About five years ago, Emery had a serious bicycle accident at night. She and Warling were riding bikes and her tire got stuck between train tracks and landed on her shoulder and head.

This accident left her with a broken leg and compartment / compression syndrome (which blocks the blood supply to a limb) and four surgeries, as well as two weeks in the hospital and screws and plates installed. in her leg, and three months of Warling taking care of her. Emery was finally able to resume yoga after a year without practice.

In the locker room, a yogi (yoga student) accidentally mistook Emery’s mat for his because they looked exactly alike, although Emery’s was older and more worn. A Google search found that many yoga mats were black or purple and had similar designs.

“I turned to my husband and told him we need to put my art on a yoga mat,” she said. “We have 300 models and now we are here. That little thief in the locker room, I love her.

Big Raven Yoga has retreats coming up in August and October for Uffda Fest. Check out their website at and and on Facebook or email [email protected] The retreat center is located at 19315 Stratford Drive, Spring Grove. Keep watching this story online for more photos.

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