Our next Dabble Talks is with Alba Creales – a recent St. Louis transplant by way of Antwerp, and the owner of Swan River Yoga – one of Cherokee Street’s newest brick and mortar shops (right next to Athlete Eats).
In addition to a ply of great yoga classes currently being offered at Swan River you can now register for Kundalini, Yin, and Kids Yoga via Dabble. If any of this piques your interest be sure and pay Alba and her crew a visit. Swan River is the real deal. No pretense. Just the good stuff.
You recently relocated to St. Louis not too long ago. Where were you before and what prompted your move?
I actually moved here from Antwerp, Belgium. Like many transplants, I ended up here for a job opportunity that my partner at the time was pursuing.
How long was it before you opened up your studio on Cherokee?
Because I moved here when I was nearly 9 months pregnant, I opened the studio a little over two years later.
I dabbled (no pun intended) in yoga on and off for about 8ish years. I would drop in every now and then at a studio and was prone to going many months in between a single practice.
Then, when I became pregnant with my daughter, I felt a fierce calling to get real with myself and my body. I started practicing prenatal yoga in Belgium and when my daughter was about 3 weeks old, I started practicing Jivamukti Yoga at home. I pretty much started a home practice right off the bat. It was a super intense period where my mind and body began expanding at the same time, revealing all kinds of truths I hadn’t been aware of until then.
I would imagine that even as a yoga instructor there is always more to learn. Do you still take classes on your own?
Because I am the only certified Jivamukti Yoga instructor in the state of MO, I practice asana (physical postures) and sadhana (spiritual practice) primarily on my own. I definitely hit some local teachers’ classes when that gets stale and SatInder Khalsa, Kim Winn, Roxanne Krummenacher + Julie Funke have all helped me advance my practice. I also travel immensely to be closer to my teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life.
No matter how you learn, as a yogi you have to stay in that beginner’s mind in order to continue expanding, learning and finding your truth.
You’ve lived all over the world, from Paris to Antwerp to Africa. What brought you to these places and why did you end up leaving?
I’ve been wanderlusty since childhood. As a little girl, cultures and languages intrigued me and I remember watching foreign films with my dad or self teaching myself French with a children’s dictionary. Once I was college aged, I used any excuse I could to either study abroad or work for a non-profit abroad so that I could get visas to stay out of America. That being said, adapting to a new culture, learning a new language and always being an outsider is difficult. I am always grateful and happy to return to the states after being off the map.
How would you characterize St. Louis compared to the other places you’ve lived? As a recent transplant myself I think St. Louis, especially places like Cherokee St., are pretty special.
I’ll be honest, when I first moved here I didn’t think I’d find many creative, open minded types and I what I’ve learned since then is that I was the one being closed minded. The yoga community in St. Louis is filled with wonderful, supportive people and Cherokee St. reminds me so much of the eccentric Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods of New Orleans when I lived there..
Cherokee St. is such a great forum for personal / professional expression and collaboration. I am super pumped to have the studio on this street and feel very lucky to have found my way here.
What can new customers expect from Swan River? What makes you different from other studios and how many different classes/instructors do you currently have?
As a studio, we are committed to sharing various yoga practices that do not exclude the spiritual components that make yoga such a gift to oneself. By offering 9 different styles or methods, we hope that everyone can find an entry point that speaks to them.
All of our instructors are teaching styles that speak to them personally and that they are passionate about. Our staff is committed to yoga and living like yogis. These guys aren’t here because they needed a gig, they are here because they consider themselves fortunate to share their practices with others.
Obviously running a brand new business is a 24 hour job, but when you’re not in the studio what do you dabble in?
Surprise to no one: yoga.
What’s your mantra for the rest of the year as a new business owner?
“If you don’t have faith, you’ll lose hope when you don’t see immediate results”. –Radanath Swami
What’s your best piece of advice?
Running a business really requires that you take your yoga off the mat and there is an inherent formula in yoga practice for achieving any aspiration: Follow through every time.