Ripple Effects

Guest Blog by Nicole Ross (BSYR Ranch Hand)


Today was a normal Saturday. Or, I should say, it was my “new normal” sort of Saturday.

Among other things, it involved watching the sun rise over snowcapped mountains, spotting a majestic Golden Eagle, schooling my horse Remington over ground poles, practicing “boxing and fencing” cows, checking in on my virtual business’ projects via iPhone, snuggling my Beagle, enjoying a hearty homemade soup, and crawling back into bed with that “good tired” feeling.

It’s my “new normal” because eight months ago I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Bozeman, Montana. Like packed-up-my-entire-life-and-drove-1,500-miles-west-by-myself moved.

Looking back, I can trace this decision back to a single day more than four years ago — October 30, 2012. That was the day I registered for my first Luxe Cowgirl Yoga retreat. I’d wavered about it for a year, periodically visiting the website and daydreaming about the better version of myself I knew was waiting for me in Montana.

It was a lot of money. I’d be going by myself. I’d done yoga about four times in my life. I wouldn’t know anyone. And, though I rode horses growing up, I hadn’t really ridden in years.

Saying yes felt risky. Yet, saying no felt wrong. So, I said yes.

11139387_10155527623875408_9177410249640601390_n-minAt the time, I had no idea that single decision would completely alter the course of my life. But, that’s the beauty of ripple effects, isn’t it? A ripple effect is any situation in which, like ripples expand across the water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally.

And that’s exactly what happened to me.

I arrived in Montana in the summer of 2013 as a single, 30-year-old Corporate America stress-ball searching for peace, clarity, and inspiration. I returned to Montana in the summer of 2016 as a (still) single, 34-year-old owner of a virtual marketing company (Creative Quarterback) confident about who she was, what she wanted, and where her life was going.

(Um, hello, it was going to Montana!)

The catalyst was Big Sky Yoga Retreats. I’ll be forever grateful to Margaret for a life-changing experience that left my heart (and belly) full, my body rested, and my spirit truly hopeful. Simply put:

  • I fell in love with the people.
  • I fell in love with the place.
  • I feel in love with who I was when I was with those people in that place.


So, I kept coming back. Over the next three years, I returned to the Double-T River Ranch for more Luxe Cowgirl Yoga and Cowgirl Yogatography. I even went to Margaret’s first Cowgirl Yoga Costa Rica (trust me, just go).

Montana became my happy place, and the idea of moving started to take hold. I was tired of my routine. I was tired of my job. I was tired of Indiana. Frankly, I was just plain tired.

Though it took a few years to make that dream a reality, I eventually made it happen. And the ripple effects keep expanding.

  • I quit my corporate job in 2014 and started Creative Quarterback, a 100% virtual marketing agency that allowed me to move across the country and work remotely. (We did BSYR’s new brand and site, too, so hope you like it!)
  • I cultivated friendships with folks like Margaret, Lisa, and many of the women I met on retreats.
  • My sister quit her corporate job and moved to Salt Lake City (now we’re within driving distance for the first time in more than a decade).
  • My parents retired and, after visiting a few times, also decided to move from Indiana to Bozeman.
  • I started volunteering at Cowgirls vs. Cancer and remain in awe of these courageous women.
  • I joined the BSYR staff and helped teach groundwork on all the horsey retreats.
  • I found a new barn and began riding again on a spunky Thoroughbred mare named Onion (yep, really).
  • I (finally!) bought a horse of my own. More about Remington coming in a future post 🙂
  • My mom and I went on Yoga & Hiking and Yoga & Yellowstone (and didn’t get eaten by bears).
  • More than a dozen Indiana friends have (or will) visit Montana during my first year, alone.
  • And the list goes on.

I may not owe my life to Big Sky Yoga Retreats, but I do owe this life to them. Even if your retreat doesn’t result in a Montana move (though, never say never!), you’ll see the beautiful ripple effects of your trip for years to come. I speak from experience.

Think about it. Invest in yourself. Take a chance.

I’ll be here waiting for you with open arms and a big-sky hug!