Recent topics at

Book: The 52 Lists Project
Yoga Is for Every Body
Meditate Much?
Self-Care: The Greatest Gift


It comes up frequently, so I'm going to share it again. "Unwind" - a collaboration with the Sync Project and Marconi Union, featuring the soundscape "Adrift" - is a fascinating way to use sound therapy for relaxation and meditation. Best heard on a mobile device near your head or with headphones. Here's the link.

Marconi Union is also known for creating the most relaxing song, according to a Kottke "neuromarketing" study. Its winning composition, "Weightless", was produced with assistance from the British Academy of Sound Therapy. There's an eight-minute version, and in the story above, a 10-hour version! (For those, "No, really, I MUST RELAX" moments!)
Movement Happenings!
The second winter session of Yoga Under the Stars is underway at the Science Center of Iowa's Star Theater Planetarium. Various instructors lead an evening class each Monday in the series. And hey! I'll host the session on Monday, February 19th! For more information about cost, time, and instructors, click here.

Hey Again! Come Practice with Me at Fitness by Design! (Temporarily, anyway!)
Miss having me hold you in Shoulder Roll I for 15 breaths per side? Curious about what new moves I might know? Wonder if I've combed my hair recently? Then join me when I fill in for Mary St. Onge at Fitness by Design (FBD)!

On Sunday, February 11th and Sunday, February 18th, I'll teach two classes:
*Hatha/Mixed-Level from 10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
*Gentle Yoga from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
There are often some wonderful people in these sessions, so you'll feel right at home! 

You'll register on FBD's site for class and pay the facility directly. Hope to see some familiar faces!

The popular Yoga in the Garden monthly series at the Des Moines Botanical Center takes it indoors this winter! Every last Wednesday in the month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., enjoy a warming tour of the Center before the hour-long class. Led by Drew Maifeld and assorted instructors. The next class is Wednesday, February 28th! Session cost: free for Center members; $20 for non-members. Register online.

There's still time to get early bird pricing for the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat on Saturday, April 7th at the Raccoon River Lodge in West Des Moines! Choose all day, a morning session, or an afternoon session. The Retreat features some legendary Des Moines instructors as well as some newer influences. Lunch is also available for purchase on site.

No Yogi Chat or Walk in February - we'll resume later in March. 

Meditation Happenings!
Meditation Around Town is a terrific program designed by founder Dennis Kelly to help attendees explore a variety of approaches to meditation. Each monthly session is set in a different location in the metro and features a new leader. Always fun and interesting! On Thursday, February 15th at 6:00 p.m., the wonderful Robin Bourjaily will guide the experience at the Rex Mathes Auditorium, 1601 Vine St. in West Des Moines. Always free! Learn more here.

Each Tuesday evening, the Des Moines Meditation Group hosts a mindfulness meditation sitting at the Friends Meeting House at 42nd and Grand. Newcomers can enjoy the first sitting from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with iconic Des Moines meditation leaders. The site needs updating, but you can reach out to some of the meditation leaders for more information by email. 

If you're looking for a more regular group meditation practice throughout the week, try the Des Moines Zen Center. Meditation sessions are typically 40 minutes long, and other events include potlucks and dharma talks. Review the schedule.

And consider experiencing a gong bath as meditation! Deb Jennings and Sounds for the Soul offers a number of sound therapy happenings each month. For information about location, cost, days, and full moon/new moon events in February, check out Deb's site.

If you'd like to have a more private meditation session, there are a number of resources you can use. Here are some recommendations from various students: Headspace, Insight Timer, and The Mindfulness App.

Private Sessions
Sometimes group classes aren't for everyone. Whether it's due to scheduling conflicts, personal circumstances, injury or illness recovery, or just to relish quiet time focused on  yourself, private sessions are an intimate, transformative way to explore yoga in a meaningful manner, 1:1, accessing a more effective practice.

This is never a cookie-cutter experience: private yoga sessions are intimate, created especially for your needs and goals for yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. I meet with clients in their homes or at the Des Moines Public Library Central Campus.

If you or someone you know desires this type of personal attention, reach out for more information and/or referral cards.

Missed a newsletter or just want to learn more? Here's a link!
Some people have asked to look for tips provided in previous TKY newsletters. Thank you for your interest! You can find a helpful list of them by following this link.

Chair Yoga Students: Clips for You
By popular demand, here are links to home-based chair yoga practices. Some students asked for these specifically, but they're also good supplemental options when you're at work, feeling under the weather but still wanting to move a bit, or just need gentle movement options. I even hear stories of people doing these sequences with friends and family at home, which is terrific! Please give me feedback as to how you like them!

Notice how these videos are from qualified health facilities. This is why I say  everyone can safely practice chair yoga, even if they're dealing with specific issues. The medical community at large supports it! There's no reason to set aside your practice--simply talk with me about variations or modifications so you can receive all the other benefits.

*UK Health Care: three short videos - this one, or this one, or maybe this one! Or do all three!

*Moffitt Cancer Center developed a lovely, peaceful session.

*Gentle Chair Yoga from the Toronto Rehab Center

"I don't believe in age, I believe in energy. Don't let age dictate what you can or cannot do."
~Tao Porchon Lynch, yoga guru, ballroom dancer, now 99 years young! As many people know, I love Tao, have workshopped with her, and consider her to be a guiding light of ability and grace.

She's not pictured here because I loved the dynamic of this distinguished gentleman in Astavakrasana, or Eight-Angle Pose  (and I've featured her in previous newsletters many times before!).

But if you want to learn more about Tao (and you should!) click here!

Stillness Is Good. So Why Can't We Do It?

Earlier this week, in four different yoga classes, cell phones went off during session. Including my own! Ooops! (I really need to set my phone to both "silent" and "do not disturb" every time, not just one or the other).

This happens from time-to-time, although it's better when it doesn't. Especially when someone's ringtone is "The Thong Song" and goes off during final relaxation (I'm not making this up).

So yes, sometimes before class, we forget to shut off our phones. That's a simple oversight. But to look at the phone while it's going off, especially during final relaxation, especially when you're not expecting a call from, say, a child who needs to be picked up or when you're providing care for someone--that's different. Unfortunately, more often than not, people just want to know who it is, and deliberately remove themselves from dedicated quiet time to find out.

As a society, we have a problem with stillness. Our world moves too fast sometimes, and we continue to lose the ability to shut it down. "Busy" becomes the definition of self, and it's harder to avoid distraction. I see this in class all the time. The person who rolls up a strap during final relaxation, already two steps ahead and ready to leave. An individual who doesn't take off his or her watch and checks it frequently during session. Fidgeting during poses with fingers, toes, nail polish, lint, hair, outfits, glasses, towel-straightening, etc....Talking frequently throughout class. Leaving eyes open and looking around while others have their eyes closed. Moving through the poses but frequently leaving before savasana.

Some of these aspects may be characteristic of an individual's personality or past experiences, and require compassion. Others express something different. The ever-present concept of time, obligation, restlessness, discomfort.

What's amazing to witness from my bird's eye view is when someone prone to these behaviors is suddenly still. His or her breaths become longer. Fingers soften out of a fold. The crease between the brow diminishes. There's a deeper release into the mat. Paying attention to these micro-expressions is often how teachers gauge time spent in final relaxation and determines when to bring attendees back to awareness, how quickly, and with what technique.

And observing both the restless and the rested salient details is how we know what works for each person to have the best experience.

Often stress presents in myriad ways, compounding our inability to relax and be still. Psychologists are studying this and the resulting effects. We have to make a conscious decision to seek stillness and find techniques that work best for this purpose. Yoga is wonderful for a lot of reasons, but achieving stillness is its main objective.

In addition to practicing yoga, you might be curious about other avenues for relaxation. The Stillness Project is one of many interesting endeavors.


Do you find peace in stillness? Why or why not? Share your thoughts privately with Tracey, or start a discussion on the TKY Facebook page. Thank you for sharing your time and space with us!





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