Spirit of the Lake Yoga is a Wellness Haven in the Heart of Excelsior

Studio owner Nicole Lovald shares her personal yoga journey with students of all stripes.
Spirit of the Lake owner Nicole Lovald started practicing yoga during her husband’s deployment to Iraq several years ago.

Many lake-area yogis consider Spirit of the Lake Yoga & Wellness Center to be a hidden gem. One client describes it as “a true sanctuary among the busyness on Water Street,” and we’re inclined to agree: Housed in a beautiful old building with exposed brick, vintage chandeliers and brightly colored walls, Spirit of the Lake is a haven for yoga practitioners and more general wellness-seekers.

Spirit of the Lake was founded by Lisa Bergley five years ago, and current owner Nicole Lovald and her husband bought the studio from Bergley in 2015. Lovald continues the studio’s mission with therapeutic methods, more than 10 types of yoga classes, five wellness practices, and a variety of workshops and retreats.

Why buy the studio? Lovald explains that yoga has had a huge positive impact on her own life. “I found yoga when my husband was deployed to Iraq six years ago and I had a 2-year-old son at home. [I was] super-stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and constantly worried,” she says. “My mind was on overdrive, and I found that yoga became that one hour, once a week, where I could take care of myself: shut my brain down, stop the worry, stop the anxiety and find peace and quiet.”

With personal experience of yoga’s healing power and a passion for wellness, Lovald continued practicing yoga even as she worked in the corporate world. “I have been the corporate person,” she says, “working way too many hours, stressed, sitting at a desk all day long, and I found a way to integrate yoga into that busy life.” Now, as co-owner of Spirit of the Lake, Lovald’s understanding of the 9-to-5 lifestyle motivated her to add early-morning and late-evening classes to the studio’s repertoire at its grand reopening last fall. The class times provide options for busy professionals and parents alike. “I feel like anybody can come here, because we have so many different offerings,” Lovald says.

Spirit of the Lake’s staff focuses on helping students develop proper alignment, as well as the “eight limbs” of yoga, touching on concepts that go far beyond postures and poses. When asked what sets Spirit of the Lake apart from other studios, Lovald says there’s one big differentiator: “the level of experience and breadth of knowledge that our teachers bring to the classes.” She mentions Momi Jhung, an instructor who has been teaching for more than 20 years and has traveled to India several times to deepen her understanding of the practice. “We have 12 different yoga teachers right now, all with various backgrounds,” Lovald says. With two teachers trained in Thai bodywork, and Lovald’s master’s degree in counseling and training in life coaching, Spirit of the Lake is an environment where the varied strengths and backgrounds of the teachers are highlighted, allowing students to develop a deep and customized understanding of their practices.

Lovald is excited about what’s ahead for Spirit of the Lake. She’s planning a retreat to Mexico for students and teachers this month, and spring offerings just around the corner in March. No matter the time of year, Lovald’s desire to help her clients live a better, healthier life is constant. “What I want most is for people to find some kind of self-care. Whether that’s through massage (offerings include cranial sacral, deep tissue and therapeutic massage) or yoga, I want them to find a way to integrate ways to relax into their daily lives.”