“Authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability” were the first words spoken to me by Lola Pittenger. Those words not only represent Pittenger’s beliefs, but also the values that she promotes in her brand, Glow by Lola. As I sat down with Pittenger in her personal yoga studio, I noticed the smells of sandalwood, frankincense, and rose infused in the air, creating a peaceful yet revitalizing atmosphere. Spiritual-themed paintings are hung on the walls, many of them featuring the body and spirit unifying. All of these elements deepen the safe environment and promote Pittenger’s universal message: to love yourself and community.

The inspiration and drive that built Glow by Lola began at a young age for Pittenger. “I’ve been a performer my whole life," she tells me, “but, I never felt like I fit in.” In her twenties, Pittenger took her first transformative step towards self love. First, she changed her eating habits. Absorbing herself in the fruits and vegetables of Brazil on a study abroad trip, Pittenger not only educated herself on their tastes, but also their benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. The magnetization towards yoga came shortly afterwards. Pittenger’s breakthrough occurred during a yoga practice on a beach in Rio de Janeiro. Immersed in the sounds of the waves and her own breath, she suddenly heard a voice whisper, “I love you." Never in her twenty years had Pittenger spoken these words to herself and the impact they had changed her life forever. After much reflection, a sudden understanding washed over Pittenger: Promoting love, acceptance, and empowerment was her life’s purpose.

After completing her master's degree in education and receiving her Illinois teaching license, Pittenger’s leadership and communication skills only grew as she was awarded positions like Director of Health and Wellness at Namaste Charter School in Chicago and acted as a life coach and nutritionist for various clients. However, Pittenger was not fully satisfied. Her hunger for learning about spiritual healing and passion to help others was a continuous tug in the back of her mind. Over the years, Pittenger was earned several certifications such as her 200 hour yoga certification, life coaching certification, Reiki Master certification, and ZUMBA certification. From interacting with various energy healers, Pittenger discovered her love of essential oils and the multifarious benefits they had. After receiving her aromatherapy certification, she learned to use aromatherapy to classify and personalize the needs of her clients. This included their physical components, such as helping them through fatigue or a lack of focus, along with spiritual awakening to guide her clients towards their true purpose(s) in life.

Still, Pittenger felt that she wasn’t making a large enough impact in her community. Thus the business, Glow by Lola was awakened to promote discovery and activation of one’s own light. Pittenger’s message of personal and universal acceptance of one’s being, as well as everlasting self love, shines in her product line, workshops, and retreats. Each of her spiritual skin care products are personalized to fit her clients’ needs and are charged with distinct crystals to further enhance their healing effects. Pittenger has also chosen to make the prices consumer friendly so that every individual can experience the divine effects of her merchandise.

Additionally, Pittenger’s hosts Yoga Hikes and Forest Baths once a week, along with monthly workshops at local venues like Common Ground Food Co-op and Hatha Yoga and Fitness. “When you are feeling a lack of power, depressed, or tired, the fastest way to feel in power is to get among the trees and bathe yourself in the forests’ energy,” Pittenger tells me. The Yoga Hikes and Forest Baths event lasts for an hour. During this time, Pittenger encourages her participants to embrace the rejuvenating energy of the forest by touching the plants and trees, engaging in certain yoga poses and breathing exercises, or simply being mindful of their surroundings. Pittenger’s monthly workshops also provide a safe space to educate participants about the various modalities featured in Glow by Lola. This includes classes on essential oils, synchronicity, crystal healing, EFT tapping, reiki, chakra balancing and activation, and more. Pittenger found that her students are always seeking ways to better themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By providing a comforting yet engaging environment, Pittenger is able to do just that. Her teachings are accepting, open to all, and personalized to fit the needs of each individual.

For those that are looking to further their spiritual journey and awareness, Pittenger offers two full day retreats four times a year. As a certified Reiki master, Pittenger teaches her members the art of reiki along with spiritual yoga. Moreover, she features distinguished guests such as Jessica Nolen, a reiki master and massage therapist, Mary Shores, author of Conscious Communication, and local live musicians, all aimed to deepen the Glow by Lola experience. Once completed, Pittenger’s wish is that her participants leave knowing that their uniqueness is their strength. She aspires for all of them to feel worthy of love and growth, and to practice this message in their current and future communities.

It takes great strength and courage to question one’s present conditions and work towards changing them. With tenacity, Pittenger continuously energizes herself and her community to work towards a more fulfilling and plentiful life. Whether it is enlightening the soul, celebrating diversity, or teaching people about different modalities, Glow by Lola makes an empowering and unforgettable impact.

Lola’s next event is Yoga Hikes/Forest Baths on June 26th at 5:30 p.m. at Busey Woods in Urbana.

You can find out more Glow by Lola on Lola’s website, Facebook, Instagram at @glowbylola, and on YouTube at @glowbylola.

Photos by Nicole Schimmel, Lola Pittenger, and from Glow by Lola’s website.