Pause, Breathe, Smile

I did a typical run this morning, although for the first time in two years, I was spending my Saturday morning run time on the beautiful Mountain-Bay Trail, rather than the Fox River Trail.

Yang energy was rising with the sun, and the wind was waking enough to bring promise of a clear sky.  Sunlight filtered through the skeletal trees to dapple the path with an intermix of Yin shadowing to offset the light.  The birds were chirping merrily, undoubtedly wondering why us humans were going by with masks on…or not.  The path was clear as far as I could see in either direction, yet I was struggling to find the customary peace I usually experience after mile 10 in my runs. 

Small Business Closure

My heart was heavy because yesterday, myself and the De Pere community lost a dear friend. As a business consultant, I sometimes wonder if anyone other than another business owner can understand the struggles, triumph, heartache and heartwarming moments that small business owners pass through during the lifetime of their businesses. 

A small business starts out as a venture, a challenge, a commitment, but it ends up being so much more to those who are successful.  Your small business becomes your child. You sacrifice for it, guide it, worry about it, laugh with it in the good times, cry with it when you can’t laugh.  You discipline it, give it routines, watch it grow with a yearning pride that dreams about the potential and possibilities.

I have so much respect for Allie Pedretti, the owner of Pedretti Power Yoga, the business we lost yesterday.  Through her ten years of dedicated service to her business, an ideal of healthy lifestyle, and leadership to the local business community, she accomplished something that all of us aspire to, but so few of us have the courage or knowledge to achieve.  She branded her personality into her business model.  Whenever I spoke with others in the community, her name was synonymous with the name of her business. 

Allie unflaggingly stood by her core principles as the industry around her would change and a sometimes-fickle customer base would try to pressure her into experimenting with the new fad of the day.  She had the vision, the strength, and the will power to give us all a clean, well intentioned and professional service housed in an arena of love and safety.  She did one other thing that still inspires and astonishes me – she unapologetically pursued joy in her daily life, work and practice.

I was running the Mountain Bay Trail today because my normal stopping point after a long, pre-dawn Saturday morning run was Allie’s studio for her first class of the day.  Every Saturday for the past two years, I would finish my run at 808 George St at 6:05 AM and Allie would greet me at the door with a smile and a question: “How many miles today, Dave?”  Whether the answer was 6 or 62, her enthusiasm and joy would be the same.

I will miss my friends there for many reasons:

  • Gina, for her sweetness and ability to make me feel welcome
  • Karen and Deb for their smiles, laughter and dedication
  • June for her inspirational athletic accomplishments
  • Laurie for her wit and ability to make me look stupid doing the 100
  • Carrie for always beating me to the studio even on the coldest mornings
  • Kim for keeping up with every exercise and making it look easy
  • Bob for his funny interjections and hard work
  • Owen for his every Saturday without fail attitude
  • Sarah and Theresa for outworking me and then letting me put their weights away as if it really was helpful
  • Heather for making it to class, even when she really really wanted to sleep in
  • Liz for her commitment to health
  • The two blond ladies who would line up across from me and yet refrain from laughing at me when I would drop a weight (I’m sorry I don’t know your names)
  • Tammy who never shied away from being my workout partner
  • Hannah who always said hi and made me laugh 
  • And of course, my dear friend Shelly, who introduced me to Allie and stayed protectively by me while I learned enough to get rid of my training wheels.

And in other classes and times:


  • Tyler, whose quiet enthusiasm is a great life lesson for us all – you will make a fantastic father!
  • Sam, whose fun loving approach and love of infant aquatic predators will play in my mind at the most inopportune times
  • Kristie whose passion and knowledge has helped me navigate the internal struggles that often accompany novice yogis
  • Ariana, whose perfect poses are something I aspire to
  • Tina, whose healing touch during restorative classes were always worth the night time commitment
  • And Jenn – her calming presence and amazing hugs will certainly be missed.


  • Kathleen and Monica:  whose grace and beauty while sweating through those hot afternoon classes consistently made me feel like a lump of coal amidst a field of diamonds.  I am so excited to see everything life brings you over the coming years!
  • Steve who is probably biking uphill across the country right now
  • There are so many of you I see in my mind and would happily greet with a smile or a hug, but didn’t know your names.  I will miss you and the entire community.

Most of all, I will miss our dear friend, Allie for reasons that go beyond her knowledge, passion and dedication to amazing customer service.  You have enriched my life in so many ways, and through my tears, I am SO excited to see the next chapter in your life develop.  Pedretti Power Yoga will live on in our hearts and minds, as well as our bodies.  The ripple effect of your ten years of sacrifice will continue on through this generation and the next.

I will continue to wear my PPY hat in honorable memory, and now, as I move to my mat for practice, I will make sure my sun salutations are accompanied by a proper ujjayi breath, that my hands are in the right position for chaturanga’s and that I do clamshells every other day for the rest of my life.  I don’t know what you are feeling during this time of sadness at PPY closing.  But I’m sure it will end up being JOY, so I will endeavor to Pause, Breathe, and (mask my) Smile.

To anyone who reads this: Please reach out to me if you have a comment or question, especially if you are a fellow Pedretti fan or client.