Barbara arrived in Mankato by way of southern California in 2008. Barbara and her husband, Earl, had decided to retire (early!) in Mankato, but timing had made it so she would live alone in Mankato for some time, while her husband finished his last months at work. “I had never lived alone,” Barb said, sharing that even though she was born and raised in southern California he never had felt at “home” there. But quickly after settling in, Barb began exploring Mankato, taking 200-Hour yoga teacher training at Mankato-staple, Sun Moon Yoga studio, connecting with like minded people, and finding the best local coffee and tea shops, and found to her surprise, Mankato felt like home!

Then one day at a local coffee shop, Barb happened across a Satori Violet business card and grabbed it thinking she would like to try belly dance out, but then tucked the card away and said she kind of forgot about it.

About a year later, same coffee shop, Barb found a second Satori Violet card, a different one, the same curiosity struck her and she picked up the card, brought it home, but once again tucked it away.

Third time is a charm! By that time, her husband, Earl, had made it to Mankato, and he frequented the same coffee shop, only to bring home a Satori Violet Belly Dance card, announcing to her, “You should try this!”

Barbara said she couldn’t ignore the signs any more, she was meant to belly dance! She got a friend to take a Belly Dance 101 class with her, and there she met the most awesome, passionate, and friendly instructor and students. She had such a blast that first class, she knew she was hooked! Barbara said, “I just knew, I had to be there.”

That same curiosity drew her to try the Wise Women’s class (every other Saturday 9am class designed for women 40 years old and up, but open to all women!). Barbara loved the simple belly dance and yoga movement and the supportive network of women! And as luck would have it, it turned out the previous teacher was just transitioning out of that class, and Barb offered to take over. She hasn’t looked back since!

It occurred to Barbara that she wanted to inspire women like her to forego excuses like, “I’m too old for that,” and give them the courage to try something new and to explore their curiosity (just like she did when she first found Satori Violet!). So, Barb started adding themed conversations at the beginning of each Wise Woman class to inspire and evoke rich and vibrant conversations about being Wise Women. One session Barbara shared about “wild women of the past,” another session the best “funny quotes,” and another session she shared some excerpts from author and artist, SARK. This Winter they will be learning about goddess archetypes!

“Wise Women is more than basic belly dance and gentle yoga (although we do that, too!), it is about engaging in a supportive community of friends and knowing that now is the time to live your life,” Barb said, “sometimes we even go out for coffee or tea after class to continue to share and enjoy each other’s company.”

Barb has now built a strong core group of women in class, including one that drives from Iowa to take class with her. So now, it has come full circle, she has become the inspiring teacher that make students exclaim, “I have to be there!” What a very wise woman, indeed.

Fun facts about Barbara:
1. Fur babies! Rocco and Roxy are Barb’s fur baby chihuahuas.
2. Performer at heart! Barb loves performing belly dance (and is terrified at the same time!) – I think we can all relate.
3. Energy worker extraordinaire! Barb is Reiki III certified and practices this healing energy work in one-on-one sessions.
4. Family! Barb has 1 husband, 3 daughters, and 6 grandchildren (ages 11-21)

Blog post by Betty Ann

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