Business Spotlight: Creating space at The Nest in Cloquet


March 1, 2024

Yoga teacher Carolyn Ripp offers yoga and strength classes The Nest yoga studio in the West End of Cloquet. Just look for the building with the big Ave C on top.

We practice yoga for many reasons. Some of us come to the mat to find a community connection. Some people come for the strengthening and balance that yoga provides, while others come for help with flexibility. Still, others come to their mat for assistance with finding calm, and learn new ways to tame an overactive mind.

This is why it's impossible to compare yourself to others while practicing yoga. Not only does everyone have their own agenda, but they come with their own strengths and weaknesses unique to them.

What we all have in common is a need to create space within ourselves. I think of this aspect of yoga practice as emotional, mental and physical housekeeping. Whether it's creating more space within our bodies with our flexibility, or releasing pent-up emotions, or letting go of a behavior such as needing to be right - when we practice yoga and observe our bodies, minds, and hearts, we are able to decide where we want to spend our energy. And that gives us more space for playfulness, creativity, and especially JOY.

"I came to The Nest as soon as the pandemic eased with lots of stuff to unload (laziness, worry, loneliness for starters)," said Emily Fuerste Swanson. "It truly lives up to its name - this studio is a warm, inviting, cozy spot with Carolyn teaching and nurturing everyone at their own pace. The poet John O'Donohue captures exactly what Carolyn offers: you will feel 'at home at the hearth of your soul.'"

Kathleen Fischer agreed, adding that she feels "the stress of the day melt away the minute" she walks into the studio.

The classes have also helped her increase her strength and flexibility for marathon and triathlon training. "Carolyn is knowledgeable about exercises and poses for healing and injury recovery," she said, adding that she has incorporated many of the exercises she learns there into pre- and post-workout routines.

Diane Felde-Finke came to The Nest after an injury, and later added strength classes at the yoga studio. Being part of a class was a boon for the former owner of Finke's Berry Farm.

"I don't do a good job on my own; I am not consistent," Felde-Finke said. "I do not work enough muscles or stretch all of my limbs. I need the yoga and mat work classes at The Nest because Carolyn really understands what she is teaching and how best to keep a body flexible, balanced and strong. She makes sure that we move our bodies correctly in order to prevent injuries. It's like having a personal trainer."

Her end results? More energy, well-being and confidence.

"Plus the ability to roll around on the floor with my 1-year-old grandson," she added.

There is more to yoga than the physical.

Practicing yoga requires us to sit with ourselves, and be the observer without judgment. It's helpful to look at our journey to ourselves as a way to collect data. Examples of this are having an emotion surface that we haven't forgiven ourselves for. Another example would be discovering a feeling of heaviness between the shoulder blades that we hadn't noticed before sitting down in silence and unplugging everything. What a weird concept, right?

Taking time for ourselves is critical to recharge and restore our nervous system. Just as we need to digest what we take into our bodies while eating, we need to digest what we take in through our senses: whatever we are listening to, watching, reading or otherwise spending our energy on. At yoga, we can accomplish this during savasana at the end of class, when we sit or lie down in a relaxed environment and "be, rather than do." Ideally, it's a time to reset the nervous system, a time to open your heart and mind and be the observer.

We live in a time where we recharge our watches, our computers, our phones, our cars. We need to add the most important thing to the list - ourselves!

The Nest Spring schedule


5:15-6:15 p.m. Mat Works, focusing on strength

6:45-8 p.m. Slow Flow Yoga, strength, flexibility & balance


10-11:15 a.m. Slow Flow


6:45-8 p.m. Relax and Restore, stretching & deep relaxation


10-11:15 a.m. Functional Yoga, range of motion & balance


9:15-10:30 a.m. Beginning Yoga Flow, strength, flexibility, balance & calm

Visit, Google "The Nest in Cloquet," or stop by a class for details.

Carolyn Ripp is the owner of The Nest Wellness Studio, at 207 Ave. C in Cloquet (the building with the big "Ave C" sign on top). She's a registered nurse, has a master's in health education and wellness from University of Minnesota Duluth, is an ACE-certified fitness instructor, registered yoga teacher RYT-500, and reiki level 2 certified.


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