YogaIowa: Harmonizing with Nature

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04 om away from home 08 water, water, everywhere 09 a natural state of mind, body, and spirit 11 yoga & nature: an invitation 14 beyond asana: the bliss of bhakti 18 in harmony with nature


20 ask the teacher


Deniece Gaudineer of Des Moines in full Lotus Pose (Padmasana) and Lotus Mudra (for cultivating love and affection) at Gray’s Lake, Des Moines.



An Invitation to Connect with and Care for the Earth

Mary Beth Young with her daughter, Terrapin Rose at 9 weeks old.

from the winter issue FOL LOW UP Mary Beth Young, who was pregnant at the time

she was photographed for the front cover of the last issue, gave birth on January 4, 2014 at home in water to a 6 pound, 3 oz. baby girl and is beginning Baby & Me yoga classes this spring at The Family Tree Yoga & Massage in Des Moines.

o most people, the outdoors is a transitional place — something they rush through on their way from one indoor environment to another; they’re not fully conscious of the world itself. What is lovely about a having a yoga practice is the realization that we are all interconnected. I am often reminded of this standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), feeling my feet solidly beneath me, spine lifted, rooting further into the earth with every inhale. I find myself more aware of our planet as a living vibrant entity and more attuned to the world’s natural rhythms. It is no wonder this inner shift seeps into your external life and nudges you to be more environmentally conscious. In this Harmonizing with Nature issue, we interviewed people and places throughout Iowa that have a vision for a brighter and healthier future for ourselves, the planet, and our children (pages 16-20). Learn how you can get involved in protecting our state’s waters (page 8). In the midst of natural disasters, some brought on by climate change, one woman finds peace in her beautifully written and insightful poem about flooding (page 23). There is more in this issue that will inspire your practice. We explore the kirtan scene that’s taking hold in Iowa (page 14) and how a busy young family implemented meditation into their daily lives (page 6). We are also introducing a new feature called Ask the Teacher (page 20); I hope you will submit your burning question for the summer issue. And connect with the essence of yoga and a deeper source of wellbeing through outdoor yoga events (page 22). As we welcome this season of growth and renewal, I hope you make time to immerse yourself in Nature and discover the secrets of healing, happiness and interconnectedness — whether it is in your garden, by the ocean, walking in the forest or watching the sunrise. Namaste,

COR R EC T ION We have an embarrassing mistake to correct

from our last issue: The photos that accompanied “Happy Babies,” including the center spread, were taken at the Sayre Montessori School in West Des Moines, not Cowles Montessori School. Our sincere apologies to Sayre Montessori School for this error.

HELP US CONSERVE RESOURCES. Share this publication with a friend. Recycle it when you are done.

Nature holds a vast capacity for promoting healing, reconnection, and reawakening to the beauty in and around us. get involved with Earth day april 22.



Angela Banowetz Ossian

Sheree Clark, holistic health and nutritional coach Diane Glass, facilitator, Tending Your Inner Garden Denny Kelly, founder of Yoga in the Park—Des Moines Ann York, Ann M. York, PT, PhD, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, Associate Professor, Des Moines University

TH IS ISSUE’S CO NT RI B UTORS Mary St. Onge, Rachel Regenold, Leslie Klipsch, Sandy Eimers, Lance Kinseth, Vincent Nola, Elizabeth Strait, Joel Hirshberg, Lisa Acheson, Teva Dawson, Lovar Davis Kidd


YogaIowa’s Newest Field Editors I am very excited to introduce to you new faces to our growing list of volunteer field editors and the areas of the state that they cover. Feel free to email them story ideas and events. They are the eyes and ears of YogaIowa who share the same passion for yoga and living a healthy lifestyle as you do. If you are interested in becoming a Field Editor, send a statement of interest to

PH OTOG R APH ERS Doug Smith, Theresa Macdonald, Ellie Walter, Robin Wasteney

Comments & submissions


Send comments, story ideas, calendar submissions, press releases & public announcements: • 515.979.5585

Sally Cooper Smith and Robin Wasteney, Cooper Smith & Co.


COPY EDITOR Becky Langdon ADV ERTISING SA L E S Nessa Doria • 515.633.7121

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Krista Squiers — a former beach dweller back in the Midwest and owner of Rolling Hills Yoga + Wellness in quaint, historic Mount Vernon.

Brandi Kastler — former owner of Green Lotus Yoga from 2008-2013 in Osceola. She currently resides in Bondurant.



Linsey Grams — a broadcast journalist just returning to Iowa and living in West Des Moines. She will receive her 200-hour certification in May.

Kim Reed — a world traveler and photojournalist living in Cedar Rapids. He has a ceramics studio at Illuminations in the New Bo (Bohemia) area of Cedar Rapids. 3


THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO ENCOURAGE SPIRITUAL UNFOLDING THAN TO RELINQUISH BUSY SCHEDULES AND PRACTICAL CONCERNS AND ESCAPE TO A YOGA RETREAT. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO GO, BUT HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH RETREAT IS BEST FOR YOU? BY MARY ST. ONGE • The known or the well-known? Many first-timers go on retreat if their favorite teacher offers one. If you prefer to know what you are going to get, this retreat option affords you time to deepen the practice you enjoy. Or, are you ready to venture out into new territory? If so, you may look for a teacher who is well known for a particular style to expand your practice.

• Location, location, location Do you picture yourself by a lake or ocean? In the mountains or desert? What in nature feeds your soul?

• Austere or luxe? Do you require your own room and high threadcount sheets? Are you willing to share, perhaps with strangers? Most yoga retreats are on the austere side, but once there, you may find your expectations and fears wash away. You become grateful for the simplest of accommodations and delight in finding new friends.

yourself? Most retreats are over a weekend or extend to 4–7 days. Do you want to be close enough to drive, or can you afford air travel? Many retreats are all-inclusive (excluding transportation) with lodging, meals, instruction and activities included in the price.

• What to pack? Unless you are traveling to Monte Carlo, leave the jewels at home. Check the local weather and think “layering” for clothes. Yoga clothes, jammies, swimsuit if you are by the water, a light jacket, a poncho in case of rain, and walking shoes should be enough. You will need less than you think, but remember to bring medications and toiletries that are essential. As you explore options that fit your style and needs, remember this is an adventure. You may discover you can live without meat for a few days (and fall in love with kale and curry). You may find a new tribe full of people who also understand the importance of investing in self and health. And most important, you may discover a new way of showing up in your life: a calmer, more centered and loving presence that is YOU. Mary St. Onge, E-RYT 500 and yoga therapist, received her yoga teacher certification in Colorado and advanced designations at White Lotus Foundation and Ananda Seva Yoga and Meditation Center in California. In addition to weekly yoga classes at Fitness by Design in Des Moines, Iowa, Mary offers Yoga+Recovery classes, Ayurvedic Cooking Classes, Aerial Yoga, and Grief Workshops. From June through September, Mary owns and operates Twin Pines Yoga on an island in Northern Minnesota where she offers daily classes and yoga retreats. See for more information.


Photo: Julia Auerbach Photography in Minneapolis, Minn.

• Either time or money How much time do you have to nurture


training more than the WHETHER YOU WANT TO TEACH OR SIMPLY DIG DEEPER INTO YOUR PRACTICE, CHOOSING A PATH CAN BE DAUNTING. SPEND SOME TIME CONTEMPLATING TO MAKE THE BEST DECISION. BY RACHEL REGENOLD e patient and cultivate intention around yoga teacher training because “the right program has the potential to be life changing,” says Brette Scott, owner of Shakti Yoga Shop in Des Moines. For yogis considering teacher training, it’s important to find the right program by trying out classes at the studio, meeting the instructor, and finding a style they are comfortable with, because it is a significant investment of time and money. There are twelve Yoga Alliance registered yoga schools in Iowa, located in the Des Moines metro, Coralville, Iowa City, Dubuque, and Okoboji. Most programs meet on weekends over several months and range in cost from $2,400 to $3,200. “THE RIGHT Balancing training with work and family commitments can be challenging for many, PROGRAM HAS while students may also confront their THE POTENTIAL own limitations. Paul Witmer is a pastor TO BE LIFE who began training at Shakti Yoga Shop in November 2013. He has a fused spine with CHANGING” rods in his back so there are poses he cannot accomplish. Yet he has learned that even if he can’t achieve a pose himself, he can still direct a student into that pose. Lindsey Flannery, a fundraiser for non-profit organizations, graduated from Serenity Yoga in Iowa City in April 2013. She also has physical limitations that make inversions and arm balances hard. She appreciated learning how to modify poses depending on a student’s condition while still keeping the student safe. Not all yogis enter training to become instructors. After becoming certified, Witmer plans to add yoga to the retreats that he already offers, but may not seek out a teaching position. Flannery has not sought a teaching job yet, but when she does she wants “to create an experience that is accessible to everyone.” Kristen Kass, on the other hand, was excited to begin teaching as soon as she was certified upon graduation from Hot House Yoga in Coralville in May 2011. She teaches part time at Hot House Yoga in addition to being a restaurant manager. Graduates of teacher training spoke of the personal transformation aspect of their training, as well as their increasing love and knowledge of yoga. Molly Schreiber was already teaching yoga but wanted Yoga Alliance certification. While she expected that training would make her a better teacher, she was surprised to fall in love with meditation, which she had never tried before. Now she teaches guided meditation classes at Body & Soul in Dubuque, where she trained, and sells a guided meditation CD that she created.

Mary Steinbeck was introduced to yoga thirtyfive years ago and for a long time didn’t know anyone else practicing yoga. She practiced at home with videos and books. Steinbeck is a retired teacher who lives on a farm in northwest Iowa, and it has been rewarding for her to find a yoga community at Yoga Okoboji while enjoying the flexible schedule of the training program. It can be daunting to sift through all the possible teaching programs, so spend time contemplating. “Follow your heart,” Schreiber advises. “Listen to what pings for you – it’s Spirit guiding you there.”

Rachel Regenold is a seeker, writer, and yogi who blogs about finding meaning in everyday life at You can contact her at

find a training program near you

ANKENY • balanced breath school of yoga DES MOINES • The Family Tree Yoga & Massage & Roots Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training • Kris’ Hot Yoga • Power Life Yoga • 4025 Yoga and Wellness at Tula Yoga & • Shakti Yoga Shop • James Miller Yoga DUBUQUE • Body & Soul IOWA CITY/CORALVILLE • Hot House Yoga • Serenity Yoga & Pilates Studio OKOBOJI • Yoga Okoboji

Editor’s note: There are other options for certification that are not registered with Yoga Alliance, such as traveling programs that sometimes offer 200-hour trainings in Iowa, but are not based in Iowa, and hundreds of programs in the United States that you can travel to and earn your certification.



Seeking Peace and Happiness Amid the Busyness of

family life Submitted photo


My husband Jake and I have been married for ten years. We have three young children, gratifying careers, and a home to call our own. We take nice vacations every once in awhile and have enough resources leftover to buy a decent bottle of wine if an occasion calls. We generally strive to embrace a posture of utter thankfulness, but last winter, as we’d clean up our kitchen night after night at the end of long days, we found ourselves asking over and over again: Are we happy? It’s an age-old question, of course, and it seems to be one that everyone asks at one point or another, but Jake and I had landed at a place where finding an answer seemed increasingly crucial. While reading all kinds of articles and clever memoirs written by Gen Xers seeking happiness, the topic of meditation kept emerging. The more I read about the innumerable benefits, the more I wanted to learn how to implement the practice into my life and the life of those I love. With a deep curiosity and an intense desire for contentedness, I sought out Angela Sands, the owner of Davenportbased Cloud Nine Meditation, who taught our family of five the magic of meditation on a breezy afternoon early last summer. Ms. Sands believes that as families find themselves busier and more stressed than ever, they become vulnerable to the mounting pressures of daily life. When families meditate, it gives each member a tool for rediscovering the peace that’s already lying within, and the accumulated stress is dissolved. Since our initial class with Ms. Sands, Jake and I continue to explore how to fit the twice-daily practice into our lives. We try to rise early and meditate before our children wake—sometimes we do this side-by-side, other times in separate spaces. There have been moments of complete quiet and moments when our eyes are closed in concentration and our three-year-old pounces into our laps. Either way, we’ve noticed that the gentle spirit our meditation coach brought into our home during our first learning session has lingered in noticeable ways. Not only do our children witness our individual pursuits of self-development, but our family has discovered a new vocabulary with which to understand the things we value. Meditation focuses on the peace we hold within ourselves and emphasizes the importance of compassion toward others— both are crucial ideas we hope to put into action within our household. Studies have shown that meditation boosts compassion toward others, but we’ve found it to nurture self-compassion as well. By taking the time to sit

WHEN FAMILIES MEDITATE, IT GIVES EACH MEMBER A TOOL FOR REDISCOVERING THE PEACE THAT’S ALREADY LYING WITHIN, AND THE ACCUMULATED STRESS IS DISSOLVED. still for short periods of time and by being kind to myself during meditation, I feel more able to exhibit kindness to those around me, a posture that benefits my relationships with my husband and children, all of whom require my attention, patience, and energy no matter what the day brings. At some level, kindness, compassion, and connection are things that all of us— no matter what our stage of life—crave. With the responsibilities of jobs, children, homeownership and marriage, Jake and I had begun to disconnect from our naturally peaceful selves and found ourselves spending time in hot pursuit of seemingly elusive treasure. Learning more about meditation and developing our own practice has encouraged us to reconnect with the peace and happiness that has been there all along. Leslie Klipsch is a writer and editor who lives in Davenport, Iowa. She writes about food, faith, and healthy living, all the while endeavoring to provide a joyful, creative childhood for her three young children. Read more of her work at

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“Every man has a vocation to be someone, but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself.” –Thomas Merton The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope In high school it was simple: we copied our friends behavior (or not), fit in (or not), and wandered through the teen years. But as adults it gets trickier. Stephen Cope’s thoughts and suggestions on how to navigate daily living to find a greater purpose and meaning in life is transformational for the reader. Do you jump out of bed in the morning to master your life’s work? Do you know someone who literally lights up when talking about their life’s work? Cope sites example after example of ordinary people who created extraordinary lives and inspires you to do the same: identify your gift and align with dharma. Although I would highly recommend this text to

anyone who wishes to live his or her life on purpose, the book does contain numerous references to the Bhagavad Gita, and your comprehension will be enhanced if you are familiar with its teachings. How important is the great work of your life? The Bhagavad Gita Introduced & Translated by Eknath Easwaran When you study yoga, at some point the classic Indian tale of Arjuna and his adventures with his charioteer driver, Krishna, will be shared. Arjuna wages war on the battlefield, but the story is not literal. The Gita’s subject is the war within—the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage to live a life that is meaningful. It’s a great story that thousands of years later has the ability to guide us deeper within ourselves to explore and nurture the authentic self. The stories of the Gita offer us a map and guidebook: what to pack for the journey and what to leave behind. The physical body and five senses are simply our base camp; we are meant to be as much at home in consciousness as in the world of physical reality, and the Gita is

a practical guide for raising consciousness. Chapter introductions give clear explanations of key concepts before sharing actual translations of the Sanskrit text to English. There’s even a Sanskrit glossary with tips for pronunciation. Of course, there are hundreds of interpretations of this classic story, but Eknath Easwaran’s translation is so well written, you may actually figure out the true meaning of life! Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith If the chakra system is the key to our journey of awakening, then Anodea Judith has provided us with a map for finding contentment. Judith describes each chakra as an essential chamber in the temple of the self, each one housing an aspect of the sacred, necessary for wholeness and balance. The more we define and organize the temple, the more receptive we become to balance in our lives. Judith has such a keen understanding of the challenges of daily living that at times you may feel as if she is referring directly to you. The text weighs in

at over 450 printed pages, but it’s one of those books you can open to any chapter and dive in. You will return to this book over and over as you work to transform yourself and your world. Meditation Made Easy by Loren Roche Roche describes meditation as “making friends with life.” He supports a no-rules style of meditation that is simple to use and makes spending time with yourself enjoyable. Trying too hard actually makes you restless, and meditation for people who live in the real world can simply be anything that connects you to a passion. All of the meditative exercises in Roche’s book are simple sensory-alertness exercises, as he truly believes that meditation is enthusiasm for the simple things. My favorite meditation in his book involves chanting the vowels of the English alphabet. For those of you that must have rules and boundaries in your practice, he includes a list of fifteen ways to make yourself miserable in meditation. Loren does make meditating easy, even for us “type A” personalities.

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Water, Water,

• Become a member by making a donation at Members receive important updates through our member newsletter. • Find volunteer opportunities or attend an event near you. Go to, then click on “Field Trips and Events” for information. • Visit one of our preserves. Go to, then click on “Places We Protect” for a map of locations.

As Iowans, we live in one of the most beautiful and productive places on Earth. Year round, people of all ages enjoy the state’s scenic natural landscape for outdoor activities, education, and even lifesustaining nourishment. As we continually search for ways to improve our overall health, it’s easy to overlook the individual responsibility we each hold in keeping our natural resources healthy as well. One of the best ways for improving the quality of life for Iowans is by protecting the water we all depend on. In addition to thousands of lakes and streams, Iowa has more than 73,000 miles of rivers that provide drinking water and recreation for our citizens, as well as life-sustaining habitats for water-dwelling species. Unfortunately, our rivers and lakes have some of the poorest water quality in the nation. According to an analysis using the Iowa Water Quality Index, sixty percent of the ninety-eight stream segments monitored were rated “poor” or “very poor” as of 2011. None of the sites were rated “excellent,” and only one was rated “good.” What’s more, flooding along Iowa rivers, including the Cedar and Missouri Rivers, has caused billions of dollars in damages to homes, businesses, and municipalities over the last five years. That’s why The Nature Conservancy in Iowa is partnering with farmers and businesses statewide to promote conservation practices that improve water quality and reduce flooding downstream. The Conservancy is dedicated to conserving the lands, waters, and agricultural systems that support wildlife and provide for people here in Iowa and around the world. The Conservancy’s ultimate goal is to make Iowa an even better place to live now and in the future.

One of the best ways for improving the quality of life for Iowans is by protecting the water we all depend on. Some of the Conservancy’s projects include:

• Working to make the Boone River Watershed the first to meet the state’s goal of forty-five percent nutrient reduction. • Collaborating with farmers and companies in the agricultural supply chain to implement practices that reduce flooding and improve water quality. • Returning frequently flooded farmland to wetlands, creating floodplains that won’t require costly repairs when flooded. • Complete mapping that identifies where flood reduction practices will deliver the most flood-risk reduction downstream. • Building awareness among communities and citizens about the importance of improving water quality.

By helping The Conservancy work with nature instead of against it, Iowans can turn challenges into opportunities to make the state’s water cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable—so generations of Iowans can continue to enjoy the natural beauty our state has to offer. Article courtesy of The Nature Conservancy in Iowa


Photo courtesy of Ty Smedes

How to get involved with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa

Submitted photo


Natural A

state of Body, Mind, and Spirit BY VINCENT NOLA

When I hear the word nature, my first thought is life. Whether I am capturing a photo of nature, sitting in a deer stand collecting my thoughts and observing the landscape filled with animals surrounding me, or logging time on my surf board, nature feeds me the fuel I crave to feel alive and be part of something way larger than life itself. I choose to connect with nature as a way to slow down and get back to what is really important: spirituality, love, and God.

Opening your heart to a more fulfilling life Kevin Thoren • (515) 577-7847 Massage • CranioSacral Therapy • Qigong Healing Therapy Far Infrared Bio Mat Distributor • John of God Crystal Lights

I feel fortunate to be a native Californian growing up near the Pacific Ocean, my west coast sanctuary, where I learned to surf. Santa Cruz has a very strong local vibe where locals protect waves like their sisters or girlfriends. Not only was I challenged physically, but surfing in a competitive environment played mental games with my ego. Similar to yoga, my beginning journey was about the physical challenges of the practice and had become all ego based. It wasn’t until much later though that I fully understood the importance of the ocean serving me as a meditative sanctuary. From the moment my feet touch the sand, I enter into a whole new state of being. The sand has a calming element that permeates through my entire body. I feel a sense of spiritual connection from the smell of the water, taste of salt, and sounds of sea life in the breeze coming off the ocean surface. Gazing over the ocean I notice the magnitude in size of the water’s surface that has no end in sight. It’s this magnitude that humbles me, God’s creation of this earth and our universe. But there is so much more to this connection. I take a few moments to reflect on life, slow down my breath, and close my eyes to listen and take it all in. It’s during these moments I give thanks to God for giving me an opportunity to connect to all creation. Similar to starting my yoga practice, I give thanks to God and dedicate my life to Him (Isvarapranidana). I grab my board, step into the ocean, and begin to paddle out. The cool water splashes across my face leaving its mark with a big smile, showing I have entered into a higher conscious vibration. It’s here in these moments I feel awake and alive. Pelicans and sea gulls fly above and dive down for fish. Schools of dolphins play along my side and occasionally share a wave with me. Seals pop their whiskered noses up from beneath and smile with curiosity above the surface. I begin to paddle for an oncoming wave, setting myself up to drop in and ride one in. The strength and un-forgiveness of Mother Nature kicks in her energy from thousand miles away finally making way to shore. I am captivated by her power and humbled in these moments of feeling alive.

A friend who owned a Bikram studio in New York City years ago introduced Vincent Nola, co-founder of Power Life Yoga, to yoga. “It was the most humbling ninety minutes of strenuous physical exercise that I had ever experienced,” says Nola. He decided to seek out more yoga once he returned home to Southern California where he experienced a strong yoga community. He moved to Des Moines in 2010.



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1830 SE PrincEton DrivE · GrimES Yoga_Ad_FLAT.pdf 1 3/19/2014 10:36:43 AM

is the new health care BY SANDY EIMERS The ancient Indian practices of yoga and Ayurveda are based on five levels of being. While the physical body is the only level that is visible to the naked eye, the integrated whole being also includes an energetic, psycho-emotional, wisdom, and spiritual body. Separation or dis-ease can occur at any of the five levels of being. Just as health (ease) is a reflection of unity, dis-ease and illness are a reflection of separation. Unity is experienced as a sense of oneness within the person at all levels, including the physical body, the mind, emotions, and spirit. The goal of therapeutic yoga is to identify areas of separation in an effort to bring greater unity. Yoga therapy holds the belief that both illness and healing exist at all dimensions of the person, and the healing journey is unique for each individual. Yoga therapy is student-centered, molding the teachings to the needs of the student. Instead of focusing on the removal of symptoms, as in allopathic medicine, yoga therapy views the healing process as a means of bringing the entire being into wellness. Over time, as the student expands physically, emotionally, and energetically, the dis-ease becomes smaller in proportion to the whole person.



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Therapeutic Yoga:


Rather than offering a diagnosis and treatment for a specific condition, the yoga therapist creates a program for optimal health based on the specific needs of the student. Working with the body (asana) and breath (pranayama) addresses the physical aspects of healing, while practicing stress reduction techniques reduces the psychological load. Yoga therapy focuses on the path of yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to all five levels of being through an experiential awakening of the student’s essential nature. There is no absolute boundary between health and illness. If the stress of modern living creates endless stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (arousal), and yoga therapy teaches an individual how to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation); the end result is balance. Synchronicity of the nervous system is critical; because the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems cannot dominate simultaneously; one is the gas pedal and one is the brake. If stressfilled lives are represented by the gas pedal, and there is no brake applied, the only way to stop is to crash. As more and more patients collapse into a state of dis-ease, healthcare practitioners may become more accepting of complementary and alternative care options.









Client Heather Fox receives gentle guidance during a yoga therapy session.


Sandy Eimers is a pharmacist, yoga therapist, and owner of balance yoga lounge and balanced breath school of yoga, in Ankeny, Iowa. She recently completed four weeks of study at the Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health in western Massachusetts with Joseph LePage of Integrative Yoga Therapy. She is available to work with health care practitioners interested in learning how therapeutic yoga can assist in managing chronic dis-ease, and works one-to-one with students in search of health through unity.





e are deeply lost in nature; there is really no “outside.” The driving force in ancestral yoga is a sense of the bodymind—“the little universe”—aspiring to come into harmony and balance with the larger universe for optimal health, human development, and gratitude.


The earth is in our practice. A praise of the sun—the 12 asanas of traditional Surya [sun] Namaskar—is basically the heart of what we term “vinyasa flow.” Even videos of Indian practice of Surya Namaskar on YouTube convey its profound depth. And there are other sequences that explicitly attend to the natural, such as, the “Earth Sequence,” a related “Grounding Sequence,” Chandra [moon] Namaskar, and “The Sequence To The Four Directions,” and for some, facing east (the rising sun) or north (polar magnetic lines). It is difficult to be around the yoga community and not find a rich eco-sensitivity involving a general affection for nature and specific actions to reduce one’s eco-footprint. This sensitivity extends into everything, into natural fiber clothing and bamboo flooring and most other products, as well as practice and presence in unbuilt landscapes. Practitioners may go deep enough to ask as Ganga White does in Yoga Beyond Belief:

What if the temple was the earth, If forests were our church If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans While eco-sensitivity is important, it does not equal eco-literacy. We will likely never have holy water if we sense ourselves standing outside nature. In our eco-literacy, water might still remain a “resource.” And we will continue to perceive ourselves to be domesticated, not wild. We become our words. “Ecology” is a rather new term, becoming popularized in 1970 with our view of Earthrise over moonscape. As theologian Thomas Berry has suggested in The Great Work, our renascent task in this era is to integrate into the larger Earth community. Because it is so body-mind, yoga can play a role in both transforming our sense of the nature of health and this eco-integration. As Henry Beston noted in The Outermost House, “We hunger for fire [the elemental] before the hands,” because we are fundamentally from nature and know it in our heart of hearts.

Tree Pose (Vrksasana) reminds us to find balance, keep a strong foundation, strive to grow and reach higher, no matter what the outside elements are doing around us. Writer Lance Kinseth photographed by Doug Smith

Now in wondrous spring, as the whole earth increasingly tilts toward the sun, and we become sensitive to the rich changes around us, we might invite Earth deeply into our practice.

Lance Kinseth teaches Yoga Metta (Kindness) in weekly restorative-yin yoga and soft power yoga classes at Unity Church in Des Moines and in private sessions. He writes a blog on yoga that is international in its reach: Islands Of Grace, In addition, Lance is a master martial artist [Facebook: search Martial Spirit—Iowa], visual artist and environmental author.




In this pose—Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)—as in life— we need to both touch the ground and reach for the sky. Mathew Koder of Des Moines, Voted CityView’s 2014 Best Yoga Instructor Photograph by Doug Smith


Singing re ul, openhearted, centere f y o j — e r u t a n l a i t n e s minds us of our es d, an d bl issf ul




n the West, when we think of yoga, we first think of Raja Yoga, which includes Hatha, the yoga of asana, pranayama, and meditation. But yoga has many forms and practices all with the same aim of healing the body, quieting the mind, and connecting with the spirit. One practice that is gaining popularity in Iowa and the Midwest is the ancient chanting practice of kirtan (KEER-tahn). Kirtan is a form of bhakti (BHAK-tee), the yoga of devotion; jnana (gyah-nah), the yoga of wisdom; and mantra, the yoga of sound. For those who find meditation difficult, kirtan offers the possibility for the same stillness of the mind without the struggle of striving to concentrate. In kirtan, or call-and-response devotional singing, we lift our voices to heal our spirits and raise our vibrations. We use repetition (often in Sanskrit, the mother tongue) in order to loosen mental chatter, to move from the head to the heart and become one-pointedly focused, just as in meditation. Traditionally, kirtan is sung in a group with the “kirtan wallah,” or chant leader, calling out words or phrases, which the audience repeats in kind. Popular American (or well-known) wallahs who began bringing kirtan to US yoga studios are Krishna Das, Snatam Khaur, Deva Premal, Sean Johnson, and the Lotus Band and Wah!, to name a few. Kirtan received national exposure in 2004 when kirtan musician Jai Uttal was nominated for a Grammy for his album ‘Mondo Rama’. The singing is often accompanied by a harmonium, a freestanding keyboard instrument that sounds similar to an accordion, drums, guitars, flutes, bells, and finger cymbals. Everyone is encouraged to join in. No prior experience is required! It may feel intimidating at first if one doesn’t know the words, but that soon dissipates with repetition. In 2012, Bhakti Fest, the premier yoga and world music festival from California, added a midwest festival in Madison, Wisconsin. This year’s festival is June 20-22, 2014. This epic yoga and kirtan festival offers non-stop kirtan in addition to all-day yoga classes, lectures, and more. “The Midwest is extremely receptive to kirtan and the chanting of the Divine names,” says Sridhar Silberfein, Bhakti Fest’s founder and executive producer. “They are robust in their enthusiasm, and through that enthusiasm the artists are feeling their joy and expressing deeper their own talents. It is a great honor and pleasure that we are coming back to the Midwest for our third year.” The Festival is featuring the king of kirtan, Krishna Das, who will be making his only midwest appearance this year, giving a three-hour kirtan on Saturday night as well as a three-hour workshop on Sunday during the festival. Sound has the power to awaken our physical and energetic bodies. Singing reminds us of our essential nature—joyful, openhearted, centered, and blissful. We sing to have a visceral experience of being and to feel the connectedness and joyousness of all things. In chanting the names of different deities, we chant

Photo by Robin Wasteney

Try this Spend five minutes focusing on your breath or heartbeat, and then spend five minutes humming and focusing on that hum. Take an inner inventory after each exercise. Which leaves you feeling more balanced? More alert? More energetic?

local kirtan events

Kirtan-centric bhakti yoga events such as these are nurturing a new generation of kirtan artists and enthusiasts: AMES • Ames Yoga Center, Friday, April 4, 7PM ANKENY • Balance Yoga Lounge, Friday, April 25, 5:30PM CEDAR RAPIDS • TriYoga, Mondays, 8:30PM DES MOINES • Radiant Om Yoga, first Saturday of the month, October-June IOWA CITY • Conscious Living Center, bi-monthly, Zenergi Hot Yoga Studio OMAHA • Omaha Yoga & Bodywork Center, Mondays, 7PM

not to an external force, but rather we invoke the qualities and essences which they represent, which we also embody. We tap into our subtle energy: the true secret sauce of yoga. Remember, kirtan is courting the divine. It is not about performance, but rather participation. And when we meld our voices, our energies intertwine to raise the vibration of us all. It’s called entrainment. When we support each other for our highest good, our highest form, we in turn are raised up. Whether it’s a sense of community, the joy of devotion, or the pure love of singing that draws you to kirtan, consider it another kind of yoga to explore this coming year. This celebratory practice allows us to go deep inside and connect to the god or goddess within us all. Jai Ma!

Mary St. Onge, E-RYT 500, enjoys raising a joyful voice and leading kirtan the first Saturday of the month at Radiant Om Yoga, and teaching Hatha, Yin, Aerial, Gentle, and Recovery yoga classes at Fitness by Design in Des Moines. She studied harmonium with Daniel Tucker at Kripalu. As a certified yoga therapist, Mary has been empowering people to manage and accept real life challenges and organize healthy physical and emotional practices employing ayurvedic and yogic principles since she founded Sattva Yoga Therapy in 2009. You can reach her at



Submitted artist rendering

ow often is the idea of construction seen as synonymous with destruction? Builders level ground for foundations, uproot trees, alter waterways, and can leave a large area surrounding a newly constructed building either scarred or merely reconstructed into an artificial and unnatural landscape. The residential home pictured defies those preconceptions and more. With the natural topography and vision of the client in mind, the site lent itself to the design of a bridge spanning the ravine. Architect Jonathan Ramsey, project lead for FLOOR TO CEILING this residential building, works for BNIM, a firm in Des Moines whose aim is to “deliver beautiful, GLASS WINDOWS integrated, living environments that inspire ALLOW THE MOST change and enhance the human condition.” INTENSE CONNECTION One of the terms that Ramsey and his colleagues use to describe their approach is WITH NATURE. “high performance integrated design,” a term that describes both a knowledge as well as an attitude of the firm. This approach uses the collaborative (or integrated) effort of the entire firm, as well as the client, to create measurable excellence throughout the final product. They don’t scroll through a menu of “eco-friendly” options and tack them on at the end of a project. The firm’s thirty plus years of experience with sustainable design allow them to build or integrate the sustainable elements into their plans from the very beginning. Another approach is generous pragmatism, or the idea that “what a building does matters as much as how it looks.” Under this design ethic they employ pragmatic problem solving to create a balance between beauty and performance.

The aim is to create buildings that operate generously and give back to the inhabitants as well as the environment. Ramsey sees their projects harmonizing with nature not just in the traditional sense of creating buildings that are environmentally responsible, but also in the economic and social aspects of the build. If all of the strategies to make the building perform well, use less energy, and be good for the environment are too extravagant—either initially or long term—then the owner will not be able to afford them. It would be great to do everything you can every time, and there is a lot you can do with a moderate investment, but if the idea isn’t economically feasible, then it won’t be possible to build it at all. The social aspect is how the people who will inhabit the building will experience nature through it. The house spanning the ravine was designed so that the main living quarters—the kitchen, the dining room, the living room— are all located on the bridge where the floor to ceiling glass windows allow the most intense connection with nature throughout the changing seasons. Through projects such as this, both residential and commercial, BNIM is working to shape the worldwide agenda for design and responsible architecture. With their efforts perhaps one day it won’t be such a stretch to bridge the gap between man-made construction and harmony with nature.

Elizabeth Strait earned a BA in English with concentrations in writing and creative writing from Colorado State University in 2013 and just recently relocated from Colorado to Iowa. She has been practicing yoga for three years; it has become an integral aspect of her life, and she hopes to later begin teacher training when the time is right.

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BY JOEL HIRSHBERG If you’ve ever walked on a cork floor, you know it’s delightfully different from a concrete or hardwood floor. Your knees and back feel immediate relief. You can relax. Ahhh. Isn’t that what you want when you practice your yoga? So, what makes cork so special? Cork is nature’s most sustainable flooring. Why? Because it’s 100-percent natural, derived from the bark of the cork oak tree. Every eight to twelve years, the cork farmer peels off a two-inch thick strip of bark. Unlike most trees, removing the bark doesn’t harm it in any way. It’s then brought to the mill where thin layers are veneered from the dense outer bark and used to manufacture flooring. The bark grows back almost fifty times over the 500-year life of the tree. Now that’s what we call renewable. What makes it so soft to the touch, yet firm underfoot? Each cubic inch is made of three to four million cells containing suberin, a rubbery substance that has some amazing properties. For one, it provides buoyancy to the cork and is highly resilient. Drop a heavy object on it and it will dent; wait a few hours, and it bounces back to normal. Suberin also prevents moisture from penetrating the tissue. That’s why cork stoppers have been used in wine bottles for centuries, without mold or mildew. No chemicals are added, as it’s naturally antimicrobial. Insects don’t like it either.

Cork is nature’s most sustainable flooring. Why? Because it’s 100 percent natural, derived from the bark of the cork oak tree.

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If that were not enough, cork also has some other unique characteristics. It’s highly prized as a sound deadener and is specified in apartment buildings and condos because it provides excellent acoustical insulation. In addition, it’s a thermal insulator. Cork has an R-value of about two which is double that of most hardwoods and some carpets. Use it on a basement floor, and you’ll not feel cold on your feet. It will stop condensation from appearing on the floor because cold will no longer transfer through it. Finally, cork is a DIY product that’s easy to install, especially right over concrete, vinyl or tile floors without extra floor prep. This can save time and money. Now you can enjoy your basement for your yoga practice, and your kids can use it as a rec room. Prices range from $3.99 to $5.99 per square foot, which is comparable to most hardwoods, carpet, and tile. Cork flooring comes in dozens of beautiful colors and styles. Most is available in twelve-inch by thirty-six-inch planks that click together without glue. The natural colors of cork blend perfectly with almost any cabinetry or furniture, but what is really remarkable is how well it hides dirt. Cleaning and maintenance is even easier than most wood, bamboo, or linoleum flooring because it disguises any mineral residue, footprints, streaks, or smudges. For hundreds of years cork has been used extensively in art galleries, courtrooms, offices, and yoga studios around the world. Today it’s made even better than ever. There are some manufacturers that make cork with no added urea formaldehyde and zero VOC finishes making it one of the greenest and most sustainable floors on the planet.

Joel Hirshberg is owner and president of Green Building Supply in Fairfield, Iowa.




n a rural corner of northeast Iowa near Decorah you can find the extensive ornamental and food-producing gardens of Pepperfield Farm and very little cell reception. David Cavagnaro, President and founder of the Pepperfield Project, sees this remoteness as a major benefit. Surrounded by the beauty and energy of the valley, his education and retreat center intends connect people to something more meaningful than a cell-phone tower. Cavagnaro hopes it is a place where people find themselves reconnecting with what really matters, like the natural world and the rhythm of nature. While they offer education in gardening, Cavagnaro sees learning to garden as secondary. More important than learning how to use the earth for provisions is understanding what it naturally provides PEOPLE FIND without our manipulation. THEMSELVES Cavagnaro has worked on similar projects over the past forty years. He landed with his family in Decorah in RECONNECTING 1987 to work with the Seed Savers Exchange. Four years WITH WHAT later they bought the farm that eventually became the REALLY MATTERS, Pepperfield Project and built a home there. A combination LIKE THE NATURAL of Cavagnaro’s involvement in the Kellogg Foundation Food and Fitness Initiative with the need for school gardens led WORLD AND him to conceive of the Pepperfield Project in 2008, which was granted official nonprofit status in 2010. THE RHYTHM For the 2014 season Pepperfield is being run by three OF NATURE. interns and one full-time employee along with two onsite chefs for food events. The project currently operates primarily during the summer, beginning sometime in March (weather depending). When in full swing they offer gardening classes, dinner events, and other workshops, but retreats are welcome year round. The events put on or hosted there can be garden related but are not required to be. They are open to companies, organizations, small groups, or even individuals who just happen to wander up the driveway. There are neither guidelines for retreats nor expectations for experiences; it is a public place for people to create meaning for themselves. Even the farm itself is allowed to create its own destiny; Cavagnaro never planned on bringing in goats until an intern saw a need for their presence and built a goat shed. No one knows for sure in what direction the Pepperfield Project will unfold next, but the way it invites creativity, growth, and development promises it will continue to grow in a direction of its own accord.


Photos courtesy David Cavagnaro



Treading Gently on

Mother Earth


In 1973 the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids became incorporated as a nonprofit. When they secured a lease on Penningroth farm shortly after, they became the very first nature center in the state of Iowa. In February of this year, they revealed the renderings for a campus that will mark another first—but this time they will not only be the first in the state of Iowa, they will be the first Nature Center in the world to take on the “Living Building Challenge.” The requirements for achieving the Living Building Challenge are more rigorous than those for other sustainable building standards, such as the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. Living

Photos courtesy and

Amazing Space at Indian Creek Nature Center Buildings must meet a list of twenty challenging imperatives, which are divided between seven petals: Site (coexistence with nature), Water (water independence), Energy (relying only on current solar income), Health (maximizing physical/psychological wellbeing), Materials (products /processes safe for all species through time), Equity (supporting a just, equitable world), and Beauty (celebrating design that creates transformative change). Executive Director John Myers states, “Sustainability is an important part of our mission and this project should challenge other businesses and organizations to realize that adapting these technologies can be both cost effective and environmentally friendly.”

With fundraising for the campus already underway, some elements will be developed this year, and they hope to break ground within the next two. For more information, please visit:

more to explore

Sometimes we’re so busy that when we have an unbooked afternoon or weekend, we don’t know what to do. The next time you have a little extra time in your schedule, consider doing something off the beaten path— something that will help you reconnect with nature. There are a lot of activities that you can try that don’t hurt the environment, don’t cost anything, and give back to you many times over in the form of stress relief. Here are a few places that my family enjoys:

Honey Creek Resort In southern Iowa within Appanoose County, the Honey Creek Resort acts as a gateway to the 828 acres of Honey Creek State Park in more than just the physical sense; the resort hopes to act as an accessible outlet to attract visitors to the rest of the parks and the outdoors in general. Guests can choose to stay in luxury rooms or cottages or at deluxe lakeside RV campsites. They have an onsite water park as well as a public golf course. Rathbun Lake offers canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, and fishing in addition to the Rathbun Lakeside Grille. But Honey Creek Resort is far more than a luxury hotel; it offers these wonderful facilities and amenities as an opportunity to create awareness of natural options and ways to engage with nature. They are one of Iowa’s only hotels to receive a LEED certification for building design and energy efficiency. They also have an Audubon certification for their golf course, and their activities building—designed by Iowa State University students—was entered in the 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC. Honey Creek has multiple programs for reducing consumption including low-flow showerheads, single and double flush options for public toilets, encouraged reuse of linens and towels, electronic receipts, bike rentals, and special parking for energy-efficient vehicles. Their restaurant uses local produce and herbs that are grown on site.

They have two full time naturalists who offer free programs where visitors can learn or refine outdoor skills, such as hiking, knot tying, bird watching, or GPS basics. These classes are integral for encouraging guests to continue developing these skills and to get outdoors even after their vacation at Honey Creek ends. Honey Creek Resort also has a wide range of special activities and festivals including quarterly yoga retreats, which often focus on harmonizing your practice with nature to promote physical and mental wellness. They plan to add yoga classes to their regular activities schedule and offer abbreviated teacher training courses.

• • • •

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See more at Iowa DNR.

Elizabeth Strait earned a BA in English with concentrations in writing and creative writing from Colorado State University in 2013 and just recently relocated from Colorado to Iowa. She has been practicing yoga for three years; it has become an integral aspect of her life, and she hopes to later begin teacher training when the time is right.

Through their facilities and programs, the intention of Honey Creek Resort State Park is for guests to harmonize with nature, to experience a beautiful natural setting where they can build a foundation for interacting with nature that will endure well beyond their stay.


With “Ask the Teacher” we want to give you the opportunity to learn more about yoga teachers across Iowa and its neighboring borders. We invite you to submit questions to YogaIowa to share with our teacher network. Questions could be about asana, breath work, diet, lifestyle— anything you’re curious about. We’ll select a question for each issue and share a few teacher responses. Through their answers you’ll learn more about our wonderfully diverse yoga community, and you may just be introduced to a teacher that speaks to you.


“When do you make time to practice yoga and what does your practice consist of?” MARIA DUMMERMUTH


I make time for my own practice as frequently as possible, whether it is at home or in another instructor’s class. I especially love taking classes from fellow instructors. There is something new to be learned from every instructor and class. My body and mind crave the benefits of practicing yoga in the morning. Some days my practice is on the mat practicing yoga. Other days my practice may include a moving meditation, and some days my practice is simply seated meditation. I follow my intuition. Whatever sounds good to me that day is usually what my body needs. Allowing my “internal compass” to guide me helps me develop a personal practice that is simply what I need.

Through the training I received from my Kundalini Yoga teachers, I learned to maintain an early morning practice. This helps set the tone for the day. I arrive on my mat, sit, and say some prayers. Then I set an intention. I check in with myself to see what type of breath work I need that day. Next, I use my intuition to decide what I need for my physical practice, a process I learned from my teacher, Ganga White. Lastly, I have two meditations that I do that are about gratitude. I end my practice with three repetitions of Om Shanti, bow and say thank you for the gift of yoga!





Alongside a full schedule of classes, twenty massage clients a week, and teacher training, our spare time is filled with raising three kids. My personal practice is deliberate and planned. On the mat I practice a mix of Yin and Ashtanga Monday and Friday from 5:30-6:45 a.m. at home. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I work through an Ashtanga practice around 2 p.m. and on Wednesdays I take a 10 a.m. class, no clients pending, to get in some variety. I do twenty minutes of Yin yoga on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before my 5:45 a.m. class. In addition I meditate for five minutes morning and night, mostly.


I’m inspired to hear how others practice. For me my own practice is top priority. I know it’s the key to what makes me a good teacher for my students. The challenges I face on my mat each day prepare me for the challenges I will face in teaching, in building relationships—essentially everything that happens in my life—and allows me to face it all with much greater ease than when I don’t practice. Personally I practice the Adamantine® Yoga sequence six mornings a week, five of those days on my own and then one with my teacher at Guided Self Practice. It’s this structured, physical practice that guides me to practice yoga throughout my everyday life.

Leaving chronic headaches and the corporate world behind, Lisa Acheson, RYT 500, has yoga to thank for her new life of ease. Lisa is an authorized Adamantine® Yoga teacher, sharing this sequence with students via Guided Self Practice and private sessions in the Beaverdale neighborhood in Des Moines, Iowa.

Please submit your ask the teacher questions to 20


Favorite yoga pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose). It’s the perfect balance of flexibility and strength. Wheel Pose challenges me every day to find balance in my ever-changing life.

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Yoga has really grounded me. I have a clearer focus on personal goals and take my own health into consideration more than I did in the past. Yoga has opened me up to new discoveries about the human body, and yoga has become more than enough for my daily workout. It has replaced the gym and ideas that I used to have about the need for jointstressing exercise.

Which profession would your alter ego choose and why? If you weren’t teaching yoga, what would you be doing? I honestly have the best of multiple worlds. When I am not teaching yoga I am blessed to run my non-profit dance company, MOvMNT Dance Company, as well as work as a licensed massage therapist. On the weekends I drum for my church and choreograph and perform in local theatre productions, as well as choreograph for middle school, high school, and college show choirs throughout the Midwest. I have a really blessed life and am truly doing all the things I love to do!

What did you find most challenging about learning yoga, and how did you overcome that challenge? I still find that mental focus can be one of the most challenging aspects of my yoga practice. With all the other things that I do on a weekly basis it’s hard for me to find that stillness. When I do find it, the rest of my day is nirvana!

What was your most memorable experience from teaching or practicing yoga? I recently had the privilege of teaching a yoga/

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dance fusion class at the 2013 Iowa City Yoga Festival. The response and reviews from the students in the class were overwhelming— people connecting breath and movement in the body in some really new and amazing ways. Some were brought to tears while others found new joy in movement.

What advice would you give to someone new to yoga who may feel intimidated? You DO NOT have to be flexible or strong to do yoga. Those things will come with continued practice. Also, if you’ve had one bad experience with yoga, give another teacher and another style of yoga a try. There is yoga out there for everyone!

Feel clean and good. Here’s $25 toward your carpet cleaning service. We’re waiting for you at

Why do you practice and teach yoga? It keeps me mentally and physically sharp for my crazy life. It also reminds me to breathe into every situation.

yoga is taught and learned in relationships...

What’s the most frequently asked question you get as a yoga teacher? Am I doing this posture right? We may not all look like the


Yoga Journal cover model when doing our asana practice. But trust that your body will go through changes and you will get closer to the full expression of each asana over time.

How has the yoga philosophy resonated with you? I think the better question is how does it not? Yoga creates balance in our body and mind, and connects the two together. When this is attained we become selfless people focused on loving others more than ourselves. Materials have less value and people do. For this reason alone I want more people to practice yoga!


Upcoming Highlights: In January 2014 I will begin to host yoga

Email to receive further details. New session begins September 2014.

and yoga-related workshops, starting with an Acro Yoga workshop with the multi-talented Los Angeles/New York-based yogi Ms. Josie Say. I will also begin the first Cedar Rapids Guided Self Practice in Adamantine® Yoga.

Experiential learning in small weekend classes over nine months. On-site overnight accommodations available.

2202 west first street ankeny 515.210.8138 21


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About What You Buy 3


Photo by Theresa Macdonald

1. Aveda’s Light the Way™ Earth Month Candle Created in honor of Earth Month, this plantfriendly, limited-edition soy wax candle will raise over $1.6 million throughout April for clean water projects around the globe. These candles feature a blend of certified organic essential oils, including vanilla, cinnamon, and ylang-ylang, all sourced from Madagascar. They’re even held in 100%-reclaimed glass beverage bottles, and the box is 70% post-consumer recycled paper. Aveda has donated Earth Month proceeds to organizations working to combat the clean water crisis. To date more than twenty million dollars have been directed to support hundreds of clean water projects on six continents. $12

2. Aura Cacia Chakra Roll-ons These seven essential oil blends correspond to each of the chakras to help support emotional and spiritual well-being, and they smell heavenly! Artfully blended using organic essential oils, they can be used as all-natural perfumes as well. Aura Cacia operates a 1% fund that donates 1% of sales (that’s sales, not profits) to support small farmers and their communities, such as the preschool they recently built for children in Madagascar. $15.99

3. Eco Lips ONE WORLD™ Lip Balm Pucker up! In January 2014, Eco Lips, one of the nation’s largest natural lip balm companies and one of the first B Corps (the B stands for “benefit”) in Iowa, launched the world’s first FSC Certified, biodegradable lip balm line. Eco Lips ONE WORLD™ lip balms fuse Fair Trade Certified™ Cocoa Butter, USDA Organic Certified ingredients and exotic oils from around the globe to bring you beautifully crafted lip balms with amazing properties.

Introductory Tea Tastings at Gong Fu Tea Explore a five-sample flight of Chinese Teas, including one each of the following: white tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea, and puerh tea. May 13 and August 12 at 7 p.m. $25


The lip balms are packaged in large 0.30 oz. paper push-up tubes that are backyard compostable. As a B Corps, they strive to be not just best in the world, but best FOR the world! $5.99 4. Gong Fu Tea An extremely rare specialty tea, Ceylon Black Tips is manufactured in Lumbini Tea Factory in Sri Lanka, which strongly focuses on corporate social responsibility programs that enhance life standards for its employees. Programs include providing educational scholarships for employees’ children, lodging for workers and their families, cultivating vegetables and offering them free to employees families, plus more. 2 oz: $5.00, 4 oz: $ 10.00, 8 oz: $20.00

• AMES Saturdays, June 7-

AND INTO NATURE TO EXPERIENCE YOGA AS IT WAS • ORIGINALLY INTENDED. We’ve rounded up information about outdoor yoga for you to try this summer. Arrive early to stake out your favorite spot in picturesque parks, and get some fresh air while you feel part of a boundless existence with the universe. Here are a few tips: pack sunglasses, pad your mat from sticks, and be at peace with the pure unpredictability of Mother Nature– including an ant or two that may crawl across your mat during down dog. Bring your own mat. 22

• • • •

August 2 (not July 5), 10-11 a.m., Bandshell Park ANKENY Saturday beginning May 31-October 11, 7:30-8:30 a.m., The Band Shell at Wagner Park BONDURANT Every other Saturday, June 14, 7-8 a.m., Lake Petocka DES MOINES Saturdays, June 7-September 27, 9-10 a.m., Gray’s Lake INDIANOLA Saturdays, June 7July 12, 9-10 a.m., Buxton Park IOWA CITY “Yoga at the Market,” Saturday June 14, July 12, and August 9, Downtown Farmer’s Market, 10:30 a.m. for kids, 11 a.m. for adults

5. SoapBox Soaps This handmade, certified organic soap can be a lifesaving item because every time you buy a bar, a bar of soap is sent to a child in need. Reaching homeless shelters both in the U.S. and abroad, SoapBox Soaps provides children a basic necessity. According to the SoapBox Soaps website, more than 3,000 children’s lives could be saved every day from diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid by washing with clean water and a simple bar of soap. Made in the USA. Get yours in eight scents (lemongrass smells blissful, by the way). $4.99 6. Arbonne Arbonne’s products are vegan friendly and they’re committed to environmental responsibility. In fact in 2012, they re-launched their product lines with more earth-friendly packaging, resulting in a 50% material source reduction, plus 90% of their personal care product packaging is recyclable. They support responsible harvesting of all botanical ingredients and never utilize endangered plant species.

• WEST DES MOINES Sundays, June

• •

1-August 31, 9 a.m., West Des Moines City Hall, north lawn; ‘Yoga at the Glen’, Friday, June 13, August 1 and September 12, 6-7 p.m., West Glen Town Center lawn OKOBOJI–WEST LAKE Tuesdays, June 3-August 26, 7-8 a.m., Arnold’s Park, near the tent in the green space (Preservation Plaza). $$ WINTERSET Every Saturday in June, 9:30–10:30a.m., North Shelter, Winterset City Park. $$ CLEAR LAKE “Yoga on the Lake,” Saturdays, June 7-August 9, 7-8 a.m., Clear Lake Sea Wall area. $1 payable to the instructor.

$$ Denotes a small fee, otherwise free


Inevitable B RAN D CO MM I T MENT IS M O RE T H A N S KI N D EEP. Call today for a free consultation.

Mathew Koder & Cally Mills







Rivers flood… an inevitable surprise So too life’s interruptions The death of a dear friend And the Raccoon poured over its banks Leaving me groundless We push against the flood We push against grief We try to control, harden, armor Roads cut off, nothing to hold onto Float—unarmored participation Finding new modes Like river carp, taking in the new scenery It takes great courage Like fire to prairie To allow the disruption To trust the regenerative power Rivers flood—so what if No more walls of protection No more levees Flowing is vulnerability without fear No more channeling the water Only to create more force downstream Let grief fill me fully I know it will not always be this way The flood will recede Leaving rich sediment Recharged riparian habitat What if Like ancient Egyptians We planted crops in the rhythm of the floods Believing the higher the flood the better the year’s harvest Rivers flood Unforeseeable disruptions are inevitable Rivers are never stable Ours are dynamic lives Constantly shaped anew


As a senior transportation planner with the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Teva Dawson strives to bring resilient thinking to infrastructure planning, integrating nature into urban planning and experimenting with strategies to exemplify how urban areas and ecology can be mutually beneficial systems. Teva has primarily swapped out her yoga mat for a cushion, sharing quiet space in the company of the small and supportive Buddhist community at the Des Moines Zen Center. You can contact her at




Make Everyday Victorious With regular therapeutic massage or custom dermalogica® facials, you can get the relaxation and relief you need to be the best you can be.

Introductory 1-hour custom massage

with free aromatherapy – $4999* Introductory 1-hour custom facial

with free aromatherapy – $5999*

Massage Heights Iowa Ames Ankeny Clive Coralville

Ingersoll Johnston Merle Hay West Des Moines

Now hiring licensed massage therapists! *Introductory rate valid for Members and first-time Guests only. Actual massage and facial time is 50-Minutes hands-on. Additional local taxes and fees may apply. See Retreat for details. Each Massage Heights Retreat is independently owned and operated. Franchise opportunities available. ©2013 Massage Heights, LLC.

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