Recent topics at

When Asana Isn't Enough
Book: The 52 Lists Project
Yoga Is for Every Body
Meditate Much?


Most people learn the concept of yoga through the gateway of physical movement. Which is wonderful. But the practice is so much more than that.

Yogic philosophy embodies the Eight Limbs of Yoga: a concept derived by yoga master Patanjali's ancient texts, the Yoga Sutras. So in addition to asanas, or postures; and pranayama, or breath, there are six concepts of yoga to explore.

Asanas and pranayama allow us to create stillness in the body and welcome these other practices into our lives. There are numerous books on the subject, but if you'd like a quick overview, here's a good one.
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. I'll teach again on April 16th, but please continue to join in the fun between now and then. It's a peaceful and unique environment. And if you have little ones, or know of someone who does yoga with their kids, check out the special event "Downward Facing Dinos" on Thursday, March 15th at 6:00 p.m. The wonderful Terri Lynn Reese will lead the yoga session, and then attendees can attend the special exhibit afterward. Here are details.

Ben "Good Vibes" Spellman leads a community yoga class most Wednesday evenings at Windsor Heights Community and Events Center. Check out his Facebook page for more information.

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, March 28th! Session cost: free for Center members; $20 for non-members. Register online.

There's still time to register 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.

In lieu of the monthly Yogi Chat and Walk, I'll be participating in the March for Our Lives event at the state capitol on Saturday, March 24th. The event starts at noon, and there will probably be a lot of speakers. If you're interested in joining me, send an email and we'll arrange for a meeting place and time. Yogi Chat and Walk will resume in April.

Plan ahead for an entire yogic weekend at the Midwest Yoga and Oneness Festival in Dubuque! A variety of presenters offer a diverse selection of styles and philosophies. Learn more.

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, March 15th at 6:00 p.m., Mary McCarthy will lead a Yoga Nidra experience at the Iowa Food Bank, 2220 E. 17th St. in Des Moines. You'll need to bring a mat, blanket, and pillow. 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. -->Word from those in the know is there's a special beginner's session that you can attend if necessary. Review the schedule and reach out to the leaders for more information.

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 March, 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.

Beginning Students: DVD resources
To continue to practice what you learn in class, here are some good DVD options:

Rodney Yee's AM and PM Yoga - featuring two 25-minute sessions perfect for opening the body and settling the mind. The AM session is quite relaxing, while the PM version is more dynamic. Although he has other beginners' DVDS, this one really is. :) I recommend this one because it focuses on good alignment, focused breath, and he gives good instruction.

Presence Through Movement: Yin Yoga by Kim Eng and Eckhart Tolle - this DVD has a 30-minute practice and a 60-minute yin yoga practice.  I frequently recommend this DVD because it helps us understand what's happening when we hold poses and why it matters. It's a great practice when you're first starting out so you learn how to breathe into positions and how your body and mind change as a result.

Before practicing any DVD, watch the whole thing first so you become familiar with what will happen,  and that will make practice easier. This isn't about anticipation: when you're in class with a teacher, you have someone on-hand to guide you, provide variations or modifications, and help you deepen into the practice. With the one-dimensional perspective of following a DVD, it's helpful to have an idea of the flow so you can move and breathe with ease.

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

Jessamyn Stanley is a body positive yoga teacher in North Carolina who cares less about how you look in yoga and more about how you feel. She's one of many practitioners helping to change the concept of Western yoga.
This photo collage, featured as part of an interview on Curvesome Yoga, is probably never going to be on the cover of Yoga Journal, although it should be. It's a powerful statement to the universality of yoga, and why I always say yoga is for every body, regardless of age, weight, flexibility, or fitness level. Learn more about Jessamyn.

Consistent Practice: An Anchor of Comfort

Like any human, I have to prioritize time for my self-care. Like any human, I often find my days packed with a long list of to-dos and musts and can't forgets.

But I frequently need to remind myself that the car doesn't go without proper fuel. This includes prioritizing diet, sleep, movement, and an acknowledgement that self-care isn't selfish.

I've told students for years that my yoga practice constantly ebbs and flows. There's not always time for a 45-60 minute practice each day. So I improvise. But: I'm on my mat somehow, some way. It's a consistent place to center myself, to be still, a safe haven. It might only be for 10 minutes and if so, that's when I do the poses I need most, and then rest in final relaxation for two minutes.

There's a quote attributed to Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon: "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes each day; unless you're too busy. Then you should sit for an hour."

Using yoga and meditation as a way to anchor yourself on the prevailing seas of all that must be done provides consistent comfort for your wellbeing. In fact, many stress relief experts note numerous benefits.

So reschedule that meeting for 30 minutes later. Get up 20 minutes earlier than everyone in the house. Allow for an afternoon each weekend to refuel and recharge. See what happens.


What's the one thing you do that always brings you back to center? 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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