Recent blog topics at

Hey! I Wrote an Essay About Yoga!
Book: Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle
The Yoga of Sleeping
Mind Patrol: Past, Present, or Future?


So in the previous newsletter (see the link below to find it if it passed by you), I talked about the importance of regular standing throughout the day.

Word on the street is there's another crucial aspect of movement we need to incorporate on a regular basis: squatting. Bascially, if you can squat easily, your joints are awesome. If you can squat down without trouble, it means your hips are open, and the spine is healthy. A researcher quoted in the following article says, "Mobility is an indicator of health, because it involves being both flexible AND strong." 


This is a great article about the concept. And look out, classes--more squats to come!
Movement Happenings!
Summer outdoor yoga events are in full swing throughout the metro! Most will continue through September. They include:

*Ankeny Yoga in the Park on Saturdays. Visit the City of Ankeny website for schedule.

*Pop Up Yoga at various times, days, and locations. Check out its Facebook page for information.

*Yoga by the Lake in Johnston on July 21st and August 4th. Find details on this Facebook page

*Yoga on the Lawn in West Des Moines on Sundays. Visit West Des Moines Parks and Recreation for schedule.

*Yoga in the Park at Gray's Lake (usually - depends on the water situation, although the park seems fine now) on Saturdays. Visit Des Moines Parks and Recreation for schedule.

Some events are free: others require a small fee or freewill donation. 

If you want something a little more in-depth, the Field of Yogis Festival is August 10-12 in Cedar Rapids. It features a variety of programs and music from local, regional, and nationally-known instructors and performers. Check it out!

The Midwest Flow Fest kicks off its second year in Chicago September 8-9, offering circus arts, dance, yoga, acroyoga, and other fun movement things! Most of the festival is free, but some workshops require day or workshop pass purchase. Click here for more info.

The Yogi Chat and Walk resumes in September.

Thank you again to all the lovely and familiar faces who stopped in while I was subbing at Fitness by Design this summer! As always, it fills my heart with joy to see you again. Let's plan on seeing each other again at a Yogi Chat and Walk!

Meditation Happenings!
Meditation Around Town continues at various locations around the city, courtesy of the wonderful Dennis Kelly. Each monthly session features a different leader. Always fun and interesting! On Thursday, August 16th at 6:00 p.m., the delightful Teri Lynn Reeves leads a session at Water Works Park, 2201 George Flagg Pkwy in Des Moines. More than likely you'll need to bring a yoga mat or chair.  Always free! Learn more here.

Eric Daishin McCabe will lead half-day Zen Retreats at Pure Land Iowa in Clive on July 28th and again on September 1st beginning at 1:30 p.m. Registration is required. Visit Pure Land for more details.

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, full moon/new moon events in July and August, and chances to learn how to play gong, check out Deb's site.

Private Sessions
If you're ready to learn more about your personal practice, consider a private session or two. I meet with clients in their homes or at the Des Moines Public Library Central Campus to create a more custom experience to address specific goals, continue recovery from an injury, or provide in-depth instruction outside of class. Personalized sequences are developed so you can follow a path of your design.

If you or someone you know desires this type of personal attention, please reach out for more information.

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.

Ready for a Personal Consultation?
Hey hey, my wonderful corporate yogis! If we have yet to do your personal consultation (especially if you just signed on with a program in the last couple of months), please reach out with your best times and days and we'll schedule one for you!

Chair Yoga Students: Clips for You
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. 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

Is this yoga?

If you can't do this, are you still a yogi?

Is Noah McKenna, yoga teacher and chiropractor, impressive to see in Dragonfly, or

Can you, now or eventually, do this, too?

The question is why?

Remember: yoga is more than acrobatics.

You Asked Questions. Here Are Some Answers!

Often, I like to make note of the various questions people ask and share them in the newsletter so everyone can see the answers. Here are some of the more recent ones--review previous issues for others.

Q: I find yoga to be too easy physically, and sometimes get bored. Should I continue to do it? 
A: That really depends on all the other reasons you do yoga. Physically, if it provides a nice movement break in your normal workout routine--say a lot of cardio or strength training--then yoga once or twice a week is a good recovery option. The goal is to practice in a way that's less challenging than your other movement choices--that's the balance. Not everything can be full of power, just as not everything can be super mellow. In mixed-level class settings, I often suggest to more advanced practitioners that when we do a restorative or yin session they think less about the physical and more about the mental and emotional benefits: breath control, clearing the mind, understanding when to deepen a posture and for how long, creating a heightened awareness, and so on. Remove the need to accomplish an HIIT goal with yoga and take it to a completely different level. No reason to be bored when you do that!

Q: How do I know the difference between taking a pose too far and "meeting my edge?"
A: If you can't breathe, you've gone too far. If you can't breathe, more than likely you're in a zone that will cause pain or even injury pretty soon. Pain is the second indicator that the pose is beyond the realm of ability in that moment. Not good! However, there's a difference between pain and discomfort. We can often be uncomfortable and still breathe, even if it requires all our focus to do so. Usually we're not in that space: we either go too far too quickly, or not far enough to notice the shift into discomfort--and that's the "edge." Discomfort will pass with steady breath and time.

Q: I still feel really self-conscious when I can't do what others do in class. Should I stop? 
A: Not at all! First, your teacher should do his or her best to make the practice accessible to you. If he or she isn't paying attention to what presents a challenge for you, make a point to bring up any issue after class so a solution can be created. Second, your practice isn't about what others do in class. It's about what you do. Yes, on one hand, you have to kind of follow the general class structure. On the other hand, you can work with your teacher to learn modifications or variations that are more suitable for what you need now. Trust the journey and use each class to learn how you'll progress. Third, there isn't competition on the mat (nor should there ever be). Many people have heard me say this repeatedly over the years, but the message is still important to embrace. Work with your teacher to determine guideposts in your practice.

Q: How do I know when I'm ready to advance in a particular posture if the class doesn't do it?
A: Yes, this is often a challenge in mixed-level classes, where as Spock says, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few--or the one. Most teachers have to consider the overall experience for everyone when creating a sequence. But if he or she is paying attention to you, that's when you may receive an adjustment or suggestion that takes you to a different level. And as I've said before, discuss with your teacher what you notice during class, and ask for options.

Q: I find it hard to breathe "right"--how do I fix this?
A: Practice, practice, practice! Many people know how often I refer to using a counting method during class to help guide breath control. If you haven't done that yet, it might be helpful. Also, in previous classes, I've used a metronome to help create a better association with breath, and I still think it's a great technique. Finally, practice breathing exercises -outside- of class in order to have a stronger relationship with breath. That knowledge will extend into any aspect of movement you pair it with, and provide a deeper understanding of it and how you feel.

Any other questions? Send me a note!


How does your practice help you explore a deeper association with self and the world around you? Share your thoughts privately with Tracey, or start a discussion on the TKY Facebook page.





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