Page 1


The Side of Yoga 05 the philosophy of oneness 06 o  pening the spirit through the bandhas 09  not eating: the “fast� track to enlightenment? 11  discovering joy in a sacred space


• SUMMER 2015


Dancing with Spirituality

OUT ABOUT SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 9-10AM Yoga in the Park, Gray’s Lake Join YogaIowa Editor Angela Ossian as she leads a free outdoor yoga class. For a listing of other yoga in the park events throughout Iowa, see page 17. SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 3-4PM Yoga at the Ballpark, Principal Park YogaIowa staffers will be handing out samples of Aura Cacia’s new Revive Body Cloths to the first 200 people who attend.


Come say hi! to us at our booth during the Iowa Yoga Festival, August 26-28. Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of yoga in Iowa delivered straight to your inbox and receive a Revive Body Cloth sample from Aura Cacia. Plus, register for your chance to win some great giveaways.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS Do you know a business owner, company president, lawyer, surgeon, bus driver, teacher, pilot, politician, microbiologist, clothing designer, community leader, or activist who practices yoga or meditation?

We’re searching for people to feature in the Fall issue, “Succeeding in Your Career with Yoga,” and we want your help. Please send the person’s name, title and company to editors@yoga-iowa.com by August 15. Please include your contact information with your submission. We appreciate your help and suggestions.

THEMES JUST ANNOUNCED Fall 2015 Succeeding in Your Career with Yoga Winter 2016 Yoga & Love Spring 2016 Yoga Giving Back Summer 2016 Yoga & Body Image

Leaving chronic headaches and the corporate world behind, Lisa Acheson, RYT 500, has yoga to thank for her new life of ease. Lisa is a Level 3 Certified Adamantine® Yoga teacher, sharing this practice in the Beaverdale neighborhood in Des Moines, IA. Visit lisaachesonyoga.com. Charlynn Avery, is an aromatherapist and educator for Aura Cacia (auracacia.com), a registered brand of Frontier Co-op. She travels the U.S. teaching safety and effective essential oil use. She has degrees from Iowa State University, the Carlson College of Massage Therapy, and the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Jim Bennitt began studying yoga, tantra, and Ayurveda in 1997 and began teaching in 2002. He combines a strong physical practice balanced by subtle breathing and meditation techniques. In Jim’s class, expect to sweat a little, breathe a lot, and leave with the state of mental clarity that defines yoga. Sheree Clark, M.Ed., AADP, CHHC, is a holistic health and nutrition expert with a private practice she calls Fork in the Road (fork-road.com). An inspiring author, television show host, teacher, motivator, and raw vegan chef, Sheree works with clients to help them get the most out of life by improving their health. John Cornish is a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and wellness specialist. For almost two decades, he’s passionately worked for his clients to find effective and creative ways for healthy living. His vast array of studies and certifications in healing and wellness aim to help people achieve their optimum lives. Find him at johncornish.com. Writer, musician, and activist Andy Douglas (andydouglas.net) lives in Iowa City. His memoir, The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga, was released in 2013. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa, sings and translates Bengali devotional songs, and is available for readings/concerts. Emily Eppens is currently a senior at Iowa State University with a major in journalism and a minor in religious studies. She is set to graduate in May 2016. This summer, she works as a news reporter intern at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

Jim Earles has been teaching Kundalini Yoga in Dubuque, IA since 2001. He has a deep interest in personal cultivation of yoga, as well as sharing information about various holistic health methods. Jim enjoys teaching people about nutrition from the perspective of the Weston A. Price Foundation (westonaprice.org). Justin Kaliszewski, author of The Outlaw Protocol: how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal, is the revolutionary creator of OUTLAW Yoga (outlawyoga.com). An avid student, artist, and adventurer, he infuses creativity and perseverance into his teachings, along with a distinct blend of humor and wisdom. YogaIowa’s Managing Editor Tracey L. Kelley, RYT 500, teaches at her boutique yoga studio in South Des Moines, IA, and specializes in working with beginning students. Tracey is also the founder of re: communications, a firm focused on improving communication through mindful listening. Learn more at recommunicationsmedia.com. Leslie Klipsch is the director of communications and development for Empower Tanzania. When she’s not writing, reading, or dreaming about her next adventure, she’s likely exploring the Quad Cities with her husband and three children. Olivia Kvitne is program director for Yoga for First Responders through the Give Back Yoga Foundation. She is a writer and editor for LA Yoga magazine and has been writing for YogaIowa since its inaugural issue. Follow her on twitter: @LoisLaneofYoga Ofelia Mohr is a yoga teacher certified by Atman International Federation of Yoga and Meditation, and a health coach certified by IIN New York and a Tachyon Energy Wellness Practitioner certified by the University of Integrated Sciences California. Ofelia teaches Esoteric Yoga® and chair yoga in Des Moines. Visit omnutrition.com. Bridget Toomey, RYT 200, is certified by the Kundalini Research Institute and teaches Kundalini Yoga at Heartland Yoga in Iowa City, a holistic approach using asanas, mantra, mudras, meditation, and pranayama. She is a member of IKYTA and a Master Reiki practitioner. On Instagram: IowaKundaliniYogini; on Facebook: Kundalini Yoga of Iowa City.

On our Cover

Julia Theisen, owner of Body & Soul in Dubuque, IA, at the Dubuque Arboretum. Photograph by Kirstin Pope

• SUMMER 2015

feel somewhat conflicted. You see, I have been a Catholic my entire life and my growing love for yoga led to me to a 200-hr certification program and an (almost) daily practice. Not until Managing Editor Tracey Kelley and I delved deeper into this issue did I feel I was on two complementary, yet different paths. Was I, unknowingly, committing a “sin” by practicing yoga? According to The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), you’d think I was giving demons a portal to enter my soul. (You can read it at vatican.va and paste the title into the search box.) The letter warns of “dangers and errors” in fusing Christian and non-Christian meditative methods. It was written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later to be known as Pope Benedict XVI, and approved for publication by then-Pope John Paul II. Understandably, the CDF wants to prevent Catholics from undermining Church doctrine, but the letter does more—it incites fear by judging eastern body practices as not just incompatible with Catholic What does this doctrine, but dangerous. topic evoke in you? I certainly don’t want to show What is your perspective? We injustice to both the people of God welcome and value your feedback and comments. Send us your input at and to the teaching authority of the editors@yoga-iowa.com. Church, but honestly, as my yoga practice deepens, so does my relationship with God. I personally don’t use it for religion. As I learn to balance my body in tree pose by engaging my core and keeping my focus on a still point, I also learn to balance my life by engaging my mind and keeping a focus on the One True God. We realize many of you engage in various beliefs and practices of different religions, so we tried to be as open to all belief systems as possible when planning this issue, because yoga allows for that. Whatever your spiritual hunger, it is my hope that this issue provides enlightenment, and together we will move forward using those gifts to deepen our beliefs, chosen faith, and dedicated service. Lastly, keep your own connection with God open through all the resources available to you: worship, prayer, community, fellowship and, of course, yoga. Devout and devoted,



Enlightening Up Shares the Spiritual Journey



Angela Banowetz Ossian M ANAGIN G E D I TOR Tracey L. Kelley ADV ERTISI NG AC C OUNT E X EC UT I V E Ron Klipfel PH OTOGRA PHE RS Kirstin Pope, Kerri Hays ART DIR ECT I ON

FIELD EDITORS: Central Iowa: Linsey Birusingh thehumblehedonist@gmail.com South Central Iowa: Brandi Kastler kastlermonte@centurylink.net Cedar Rapids: Kim Reed dancingbuddah@gmail.com

COPY EDI TOR Becky Langdon

Dubuque: Sheila O’Laughlin sheilaolaughlin@mchsi.com


Western Iowa: Trishia Gill trishia@evolvesiouxcity.com

HELP US CONSERVE RESOURCES. Share this publication with a friend. Recycle it when you are done. • SUMMER 2015

Send comments, story ideas, calendar submissions, press releases & public announcements: editors@yoga-iowa.com • 515.979.5585

Cooper Smith & Co.

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



ads@yoga-iowa.com • 515.554.4686


YogaIowa is available free of charge at Iowa yoga studios and more than 400 locations throughout central Iowa. To order an annual subscription delivered to your door, please send $15 to Subscription-YogaIowa, 522 NE Georgetown Blvd., Ankeny, IA 50021. For changes of address and other inquiries, contact us in writing at the address above, or subscriptions@yoga-iowa.com. To request delivery to your business, contact editors@yoga-iowa.com.

FACEBOOK.COM/YOGAIOWA YogaIowa is published four times annually by: YogaIowa, LLC, 522 NE Georgetown Blvd., Ankeny, IA 50021 Copyright 2015 Yoga Iowa LLC. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission by the publisher. All rights reserved. YogaIowa assumes no liability for damage or loss. Locally owned, locally minded. Printed in Webster City, Iowa


Comments & submissions

Scott & Jeanne Smith , founders of Enlightening Up onlin e magazine

t started with a dream. Scott and Jeanne Smith of Ankeny believe the path to spiritual enlightenment is a lifelong journey. They always thought it was important to raise their family in a nontraditional way regarding religions and other spiritual beliefs. They often practice Hatha yoga, meditation, and prayer, and consume organic foods and herbs as nourishment and medicine. “Enlightenment for us has to be a lot of fun,” Jeanne says. She refers to herself as a “skeptical spiritualist:” someone who must experience spiritual things and acts before she believes them. The Edge magazine, a monthly tabloid exploring the evolution of consciousness from the Twin Cities, was the couple’s favorite magazine concerning the metaphysical. They would pick up copies of The Edge at the Common Thread, a metaphysical group in Des Moines. However, The Edge’s content was based largely on the Minneapolis area. So Scott and Jeanne decided to act. Along with a friend, Fraya Parker, who has since retired from their endeavor, they worked to create a positive, thought-provoking publication that shared stories as well as community events in the Des Moines metro. Their online magazine, Enlightening Up, debuted in October 2014. The main goal of the magazine is to help readers on their personal search for enlightenment with uplifting stories concerning the spiritual and metaphysical, while still being helpful and informative. The Smiths published their magazine online with a handful of issues on a monthly basis. Initial reader feedback considered the amount of publications per month overwhelming, so the couple cut back to publishing twice a month. “We set up the magazine in a blog format,” Scott says. “This made it easy and accessible to our readers. Stories are still short enough that they can read through them in one sitting.” A unique aspect of the publication is that anyone is allowed to write articles on the Enlightening Up website. “We have had people write about biology, numerology, meditation, and even share a favorite recipe,” Jeanne says. “The term ‘pathway to enlightenment’ is so broad—it just leads you to everything.” The couple said the most difficult part of running the magazine is coming up with new ideas and themes for the magazine each month. They gladly welcome suggestions from their readers. “We want people to share the parts of their journey, their journey for truths. I believe there is not a fully universal truth; everyone carries a little piece of truth, little truths, with them,” Jeanne says. “People think that there is one truth and that is what life is all about. But in reality, every person’s journey to enlightenment is different.” To read Enlightening Up and learn more about the publication, visit enlighteningup.com.

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Smith


The Philosophy of


• SUMMER 2015

arlier this spring, Basile Catoméris offered a presentation in Dubuque entitled, “Jesus Christ and Yoga,” after the eponymous book written by his guru, Sri Shyam Sundar Goswami. Basile questioned members of the audience about how they would define happiness and how it can be obtained in a durable way. He suggested spirituality is the key, irrespective of what religion one may practice, and that yoga provides a reliable and efficient means of rousing the spiritual fire. Basile has searched for these answers for a long time, having spent more than two decades at the feet of Sri Shyam Sundar Goswami and eventually receiving the highest form of yogic initiation, brahma mantra diksha. Being the disciple and assistant of Sri Goswami was a coveted honor, as the Goswami family name has been held in high esteem for more than 700 years. Sri Goswami’s ancestors set the spiritual bar high, having historical connections with the great yogi, Chaitanya, and rumored connections with Vyasa, the author of the Vedas. Though Sri Goswami passed away in 1978, Basile continues an unbroken application of the yogic practice, which he inherited from his guru. During the lecture, Basile explained how Sri Goswami conducted a deep analysis of Jesus Christ A strict evaluation of as presented in Christian scriptures, and paid only what is presented particular attention to the life and activities of Jesus, in Christian scripture His sayings and parables, and the miracles attributed shows that Jesus’ life, to Him. All of this was weighed against the structure, teachings, mission, and practice, and historical personages from yoga. What emerged was a striking and profound similarity. miracles are extremely While several authors have explored the possibility harmonious with yoga. that Jesus traveled to India during the so-called “missing years,” or that He used esoteric yogic techniques to survive crucifixion, secretly living out the rest of His life in India, Sri Goswami avoids such speculation. A strict evaluation of only what is presented in Christian scripture shows that Jesus’ life, teachings, mission, and miracles are extremely harmonious with yoga. The bedrock foundations of yoga are the practices of yama (abstention) and niyama (observance), each containing five precepts to begin molding the practitioner into a spiritual life. Some of these individual precepts, such as practicing harmlessness, truthfulness, asceticism, and spiritual study, are so emblematic of Jesus that they require no effort whatsoever to link with Him. Basile noted that Sri Goswami carefully illustrates the remaining precepts, and the further elements of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs are also consonant with the Gospel testimony. The sayings and parables of Jesus, especially the Beatitudes, are consistent with the essential message of the Vedas and Upanishads, allowing for significant differences in cultural expression. The famous beginning of the Gospel of John may also be read as a detailed yogic explanation of the appearance of the created order through the power of the first mantra, the Pranava, or om. Jesus’ frequent references to “the Word of God” strongly imply the importance of mantra, and His assertion that “I and the Father are One” is the non-dualistic doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, or the philosophy of oneness and the essential divine nature of humankind. Perhaps most striking of all are the miracles of Jesus. It does not diminish their significance in any way to point out that advanced yogis throughout the ages have demonstrated the same miraculous powers. In his lecture, Basile told of a yogi who used his own spiritual powers to help a Christian monk have an ecstatic vision of Jesus during the Transfiguration on the Mount. This was a particular instance of yoga and Christianity existing quite harmoniously. If you practice yoga, as a Christian or otherwise, let this serve to strengthen your conviction that the realm of true spiritual practice is not afflicted with petty human divisions. Arise, awake, and approach Jesus Christ in yoga!

Photos by Kirstin Pope




Opening the Spirit through the


In modern yoga, bandhas are taught for structural support or to make transitions between postures flow more seamlessly. The ancient yogis, however, intentionally engaged the bandhas in seated postures during kumbhaka, or breath retention, which created a powerful internal pressure. The intensity would often cause sweating and shaking. They found that this somewhat traumatic experience would stir up the subconscious, including deeply rooted samskaras, more quickly than through meditation alone. With enough practice, yogis would have a spiritual experience they sometimes referred to as a Kundalini awakening, where the prana would stop circulating throughout the body and be directed into the main energy channel called the sushumna. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika even goes as far to say that there is no samadhi without the sushumna being awakened. Because of their intensity, these practices should only be learned from a qualified teacher. I knew I found my teacher when I experienced a sense of deep peace whenever in his presence. Once you find such a teacher, kumbhaka and bandha practices should proceed slowly and with caution while communication remains open.

• SUMMER 2015

Photo: flickr

atanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutra, said we suffer because we identify with the mind. Raja Yoga, or the yoga of meditation, is the process of stilling the mind so we stop identifying with it and are then able to make the connection to spirit. In the process, we become more aware of the content of the mind and its subconscious patterns. These patterns, or samskaras, are usually the cause of our problems and why we suffer. Through Raja Yoga, you become aware of the content of the mind and are able to view its patterns with dispassion. When we realize that we are not the mind but that which is watching it unfold, we have made a connection to spirit. Around the sixth century CE, a group of radical yogis saw that meditation was the main spiritual practice being taught but the preparatory exercises were being ignored while ethical and moral principles were overemphasized. These radical yogis believed that instead of seeing the physical body as a distraction to spirituality, one could actually use the physical body to accelerate spiritual growth and reach samadhi, Hatha yogis believe the ultimate goal in Raja Yoga. This process, that when the prana called Hatha Yoga, began with asanas, or physical stops, so does the postures, then moved onto pranayama, or the chitta, or the mind. breathing techniques of yoga. Once the breath was under control, advanced practices called bandhas and mudras, or physical locks and gestures, helped to seal in, redirect, and ultimately stop the flow of energy. Stopping the flow of energy is the key here. Hatha yogis believe that when the prana stops, so does the chitta, or the mind. Instead of struggling with the mind directly, Hatha yogis focus on pranayama and bandha to stop the breath and the movement of the vital life force, which in turn stops the mind from thinking. According to the Gheranda Samhita, mula bandha, or the root lock, is a contraction of the musculature between the anus and navel, which stops the downward circulation of energy. Uddiyana bandha, or the abdominal lock, is a contraction of the upper abdomen, which helps to strengthen the digestive fire. Jalandhara bandha, or the throat lock, is when you lower your chin to the sternum, which helps to stop the upward circulation of energy.



Spirituality Unbounded BY JUSTIN KALISZEWSKI Spirituality can sometimes show up as a loaded term. But what if by spirit we simply substituted the word consciousness? We might free ourselves from a bit of the dogmatic baggage of religion while we’re at it. (The hackles up yet? Good.) What if instead of God and country we all came together to serve the common cause of humanity, creating conditions for the growth of consciousness not only in our neighborhoods or in our country, but also around the entire world? Every moment we practice our presence we contribute to the awakening of consciousness, mindfully depositing a coin in the cosmic piggy bank. Sharing our be-here-and-be-now-ness is a spiritual act no matter where or with whom it is performed; grace— or the moment-to-moment practice of gratitude, humility, and service—is a conscious, spiritual act for the entire human race. Worship would become a word synonymous not with prostration, frustration, and—as has been the case throughout history— devastation, but the awakening of the awareness in each of us that we are one people, that we have more in common than not, that titles, traditions, and scriptures do not divide us any more than the color of our skin does. By embracing this notion of spirituality, consciousness embodied, we can come together to celebrate this divine comedy. At times, maybe even getting a little rowdy—consciously doing what we want, but first and foremost without doing any harm. Spirituality not taken so god-d@mned seriously. Because it is based in non-violence, yoga can’t conflict with a religion system unless the religion is one that conflicts with non-hostile systems outside of it. If you’re feeling a conflict between your Sunday worship and your Monday practice, you might consider that it’s not the words of Jesus—built on loving kindness and the acceptance of all aware beings and patently identical to all of the great and peaceful world teachings—but the ever present need of the small-self for drama. The need, sometimes so sharp in each of us to be right, that it would do so at the expense of us being happy. At the end of worship we say amen and at the end of our yoga practice we say namaste, beautiful and identical encapsulations of the golden rule. And on the day that we truly see “you in me” and “me in you,” then we will start acting in kind, our actions invariably becoming more kind, accepting, and loving and infused with the holiest of spirits, the conscious, collective awareness that we are one. Whether you are a Jew, a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Christian, you are first and foremost a human.

Be kind. It’s that simple. No conflict, no mess, no need for deliberation. Be kind. This is the power of conscious spirit.

• SUMMER 2015

Photo b courtesy of Justin Kaliszewski

Within this inclusive notion of spirit we might all connect harmoniously to the only directive the world needs and start treating each other as we would like to be treated in kind.


WHY DO WE DO THIS? We Adamantine® Yoga practitioners are not many. Not yet. But we all have one thing in common. We gather the best of ourselves each and every day and hold it up to the light of our yoga practice. Sometimes that light illuminates our edges and allows for us to view new horizons. For a moment we dare to dream of realizing the full potential of our bodies to move through space, to float free of tension, to be strong, flexible, and vibrant. Sometimes that light illuminates the darkest parts of our souls and reminds us that there is still much work to do. There are days when the practice feels nothing short of transcendent, and then just as often, they are followed by days that feel more like grueling feats of endurance. Why do we do this? Is it the challenge? Is it the changes we seek? Or is it something more? It’s not likely that life will ever ask that we have the physical dexterity to hold a Handstand, or the flexibility to drop effortlessly into Front Splits. Any yet, day after day, we find ourselves working to develop these skills. Personally, I think we do it in order to discover who we might be. We meet ourselves every morning with a burning curiosity to find out who we could become if we continue to bump into the limits of our present potential and ask with a loud and clear voice to be more.


Our practice is a way of dreaming our future selves into being as the best possible expression of what it means to be physically sound, emotionally balanced, mentally stable, and spiritually free. To the untrained eye this practice may look like some strange form of exercise. To the dedicated practitioner, it becomes so much more. —James Miller, founder, Adamantine® Yoga






Not Eating: THE


to Enlightenment?

asting—and spiritual fasting in particular—is not a new idea. The Bible gives many examples of people who used different types of fasts for a variety of reasons. And many modern religious sects abstain from consuming particular foods and beverages, while others restrict consumption during their holy days. Fasting, quite simply, is a rest from food. It “When you fast is also a process of extreme detoxification. It the light will promotes self-healing within the body by casting illuminate you.” off toxins and setting the stage so the body can heal itself. ~ Mahatma Gandhi I personally have juice fasted on several occasions, the longest being ninety-two consecutive days. During that time I continued to work a full-time job, which involved a great deal of travel. I exercised daily, and I attended two black-tie dinners. I had an absolutely amazing and transformative three-month experience, the likes of which I have not experienced before or since. I had amazing energy and calmness of mind. My skin looked better and my joints felt much more flexible. My hunger left on day four, and while it did resurface occasionally, it was manageable and often was not true hunger but rather thirst, boredom, or a desire for emotional escape. Not all of my fasts have been what I would call successful, but in each case I walked away with something of value. I find that I am much most satisfied with the fasting experience when I step into it prepared. For me this means asking myself a series of questions in advance.

ice ju r u o y h it w y g g ji g Gettin us and th ally when you’re fasting, eci esp , rut ce jui a o int ll ces, as It’s easy to fa blends with herbs and spi ing r you up z jaz to is ck tri juicing often. A coconut or sparkl ins,” such as a splash of a little. well as other liquid “add up as to help you shake it water. Here are a few ide


½ small pineapple 4 carrots Small knob fresh ginger ¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon Combine ingredients, balancing flavors according h to taste. Top with a splas lk of homemade walnut mi ! if you’re not juice fasting


3 peaches, pits removed 1 orange, peeled on) ½ lime (OK to leave skin ter wa ²⁄³ cup sparkling mineral ts Juice first three ingredien th wi p To . ice er and pour ov mineral water.

What’s my objective?

Why am I fasting? Am I seeking spiritual renewal or is the primary objective physical in nature? If my intention is physical improvement, I do best when I am coming from a place of seeking to upgrade my health, rather than as a form of punishment for some past transgressions.

What is my commitment level?

What does the fast look like? How long do I intend to go? What will be included in the fast in terms of nourishment? What about other activities, such as exercise, quiet time, and so on: where will those things fit in? What does my calendar look like and how will I navigate any social obligations?

Am I prepared?

Do I have all the supplies I need? Am I mentally in a good place to start? Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Am I physically strong enough for the length and type of fast I am considering? Do I have a support system in place if I need one? Where do you begin? If you’re new to fasting, I suggest transitioning with a pre-fast diet of about three days or even longer. During this time you’ll taper off coffee if you imbibe (herbal tea is okay during a fast, but it’s best to avoid all caffeine). Start to eliminate any of the processed and convenience foods you might typically eat. Don’t view this transition time as a sort of “last supper” or an excuse to binge, as tempting as it may be. Finally, pick a day to start the actual fast. I usually begin fasts on a Saturday or Sunday in order to avoid the challenges of the workweek during the initial 24-48 hours. Once you break your fast, view your body as a clean slate. If you were able to abandon some old, bad habits during your break from food, resist the temptation to let them creep back in.

• SUMMER 2015

If you want to try it yourself


PRAC TI CE Taught by Kate Cardamon, MSPT, and Libby Trausch, DPT, DMU physical therapists trained in Medical Therapeutic Yoga

Yoga@DMU ✷­ ­ Perfect for beginners or those wanting to refine their practice ✷ ­­ Emphasizes stability and balance over flexibility

four paths of yoga BY ANDY DOUGLAS

✷ ­­ Promotes mindfulness and meditation ✷ ­­ Recognizes the breath as the foundation

Landing in sultry Calcutta many years ago, intent on studying in a yoga ashram with a spiritual teacher, I found some of my expectations subverted. What I discovered was that yoga is a comprehensive practice designed to bring joy to all aspects of the human experience. Although physical exercises, or asanas, are important, they’re just part of the package. At its core, yoga, my teacher explained, is about expansion— broadening the mind, opening the heart, and connecting through action to an ever-widening circle of creation.

for movement

Since people are diverse, there are different approaches to this expansive goal of yoga, varying roads to the mountaintop. Each is important, and a synthesis can help you develop yourself fully. The following paths, briefly sketched, are some of the main approaches:

PhYsioYoga 101 For absolute beginners Tuesdays, 4:30-5:15 pm aug 4-sept 8 $50 for 6 wks

PhYsioYoga 102 For those with some yoga experience Mondays, 4:30-5:15 pm aug 3-october 26 $100 for 12 weeks (no class Labor Day)

 K  arma Yoga is the yoga of

Register at www.dmu.edu/clinic/physical-therapy

14-15.554 PT Clinic-Yoga Life ad.indd 1

6/9/15 11:36 AM

Two Rivers Acupuncture & Bodyworks

“I noticed a difference from the very first session” Melissa Harris, Yoga Teacher

Morgan Rivers, LAc

5 Element Acupuncture Zero Balancing Bodywork Craniosacral 

Enhancing health and well being through the healing arts since 1991



9001 Hickman Rd. Suite 300 Urbandale, IA 50322

• SUMMER 2015



a t s p a w u s h i o n s


catspawcushions.com 10

The most fundamental and sacred relationship we have is the one with our self.


work and service. The idea is to work without being attached to any outcome. Let’s say you offer to mow your neighbor’s lawn. If your ego is in the driver’s seat, you may be thinking, “I hope I get brownie points for this and am acknowledged as an extra-helpful person.” Karma yoga would have you say, “Here’s a chance to serve. I’ll put my ego in its proper place and simply let doing good be its own reward.” The philosophy of karma suggests that whenever you act, a reaction is created in potential form that you have to undergo at some point, like a bank account accruing interest. Good or bad karma, ultimately you want to be free of both. Remove your ego, surrender the results, and karma doesn’t have to accrue. Raja Yoga is the “king” of yoga practices, an effort to develop yourself through practices like breath control, chakra purification, and mantra meditation. Meditation trains the mind to identify with an expanded sense of self: “As you think, so you become.” In a big, philosophical sense, the goal of Raja Yoga is union with God. In everyday life, you might experience through a daily embrace of these practices a deep sense of peace and the ability to let go of habits that no longer serve.  nana Yoga (pronounced gyana) is the yoga of J knowledge, the study of spiritual teachings, and understanding and integrating those lessons into daily life. Jnana helps your intellect work in concert with your heart, not put up dogmatic barriers or spin out endless distinctions and rationalizations. It’s about understanding your life’s goal and focusing on it. I’ve left my favorite path for last. Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of love and devotion. From the movement of celestial bodies to the affection of lovers, attraction is the deep abiding force that binds us together. This attraction represents an all-pervading divine essence. Cultivating love for the divine, through devotional singing, for example, can help make your mind soft, strong, and balanced. A bhakta doesn’t sweat the little things, but sees the sacred light shining through and loves all. In the years since I left India, I’ve tried to put these lessons into practice: selfless service, study, meditation, and love. It’s not always easy. But it’s worth the effort.

Discovering Joy in a Sacred




The Harvest Preserve

Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center

The Harvest Preserve survives via donations, memberships, and rentals. We are not associated with any city, state, or federal program. Also, all of our sculptures have either been donated or are currently on loan from various contributors. We believe nature is one of the best arenas to find peace in one’s life. Although we’re located within the Iowa City limits, there are times when members and/or visitors find themselves all alone on the 100 acres, whether it is in the seventeen acres of forest reserve, sitting by our one-acre pond, or meditating in the middle of the Sacred Stone Circle.” ~Julie Decker, Program Director • harvestpreserve.org

“Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center is a retreat and conference center focused on ecology and spirituality—or, as we call it, eco-spirituality. It’s nestled in a natural setting of seventy acres of prairie and woodland in Hiawatha on the northern edge of Cedar Rapids. Prairiewoods is funded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, a Catholic organization, but it is open to people of all faiths and cultures. As a spirituality center, Prairiewoods is unique because it is LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold certified by the US Green Building Council and offers a variety of holistic services, such as massage, reflexology, and spiritual direction. Prairiewoods serves as a natural oasis for all of creation, offering lodging for thirty-five people, healthy meals featuring local ingredients, 2.5 miles of peace-filled walking trails, cutting-edge examples of sustainable living, a cosmic walk depicting the story of the universe, and an outdoor labyrinth.” ~Andi Lewis, Marketing Coordinator • prairiewoods.org • SUMMER 2015

“The Harvest Preserve is a protected natural space that we call a spiritual sanctuary. We consider it holy ground where invited guests may quietly commune with whatever aspect or manifestation of the Divine they find personally appealing. We are unique in that we are not a church, nor a museum, but we have combined nature, art, and spirituality into our 100 acres of Iowa paradise. The Preserve is a place to feel welcome, embraced, and openhearted, and to indulge in the awe and wonder of nature.

Photo courtesy Andi Lewis

Photo courtesy Todd Adamson




Ryumonji Zen Monastery “Ryumonji Zen Monastery is unique in that it’s the first entity in the United States built specifically as a Japanese Soto Zen training monastery. Monks and lay people participate in meditation retreats and longer-term residential practice periods following the traditional Zen practice of living together in community within traditional structures. The design of the buildings follows plans imported from Japan (with rural Northeast Iowa influences), utilizing twenty-firstcentury building innovations. One thing that repeatedly strikes newcomers is the beauty of the Driftless Region of Northeast Iowa. Ryumonji is situated in a very rural setting that enables both newcomers and long-time practitioners to settle into daily living with a minimum of distraction. Ryumonji Zen Monastery offers Angos, or practice periods, for training in the Soto Zen way of life as well as Sesshins, or intensive meditation retreats. The primary practice at Ryumonji is taking care of the everyday life right in front of you without picking and choosing—letting go of preferences. The daily schedule of meditation, work, rest, and communal meals provides ongoing opportunities to engage in this practice. As we say, ‘Enlightenment is right under your foot.’ Peace is right there as well.” ~Abbot Shoken Winecoff, Founder and Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi • ryumonji.org MADRID

Hindu Temple and Cultural Center “The primary purpose of the Hindu Temple is to provide a place of worship for all Hindus living in Central Iowa. We follow all rituals and prayers practiced in Hinduism for over 5,000 years. The Temple also welcomes all visitors to tour and learn about Hinduism, and we conduct youth programs to teach values and Hindu culture. 

more sacred spaces If you observe a particular faith, your organization may have a more complete listing of sacred spaces. If you’re a spiritual traveler, you may find the following to be enlightening steps along an interesting journey.

• Amma Spiritual Center, Homestead • • • • • •

• •

Our temple is located in a peaceful place away from heavy traffic and population. It is also located near the Des Moines River and provides a serene place for prayers and silent worship.

• Visitors can find peace in the rich sculpture and quiet environment to pray and practice meditation. Hinduism follows ancient practice of Patanjali Yoga. As part of worship and rituals, prayers include yoga asana practiced during the morning prayers.” ~Manju Lakshmipathy, Executive Chair Person • iowatemple.org

• •


St. Mary’s Monastery/ Benet House Retreat Center “Something powerful takes place when you make a retreat on the grounds of a prayerful community. Such is the case at Benet House Retreat Center with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery. You enter into the quiet rhythm of prayerfulness, silence, and your own heart’s desire to love God. You enjoy community and individual prayer, meals, walks, rest, or just sitting on a bench watching the ripples of the lake. Come expecting to experience a sense of peace and awareness of God’s love.

• SUMMER 2015

Benet House Retreat Center is ‘a place apart’ to seek the Holy One for persons of all faiths. You might be surprised to stumble upon it, as it is tucked into a quiet corner of Rock Island, adjacent to a family neighborhood. Although the space itself encourages peace with its quiet and comfortable welcome, you begin to find peace in your own heart.” ~Susan Flansburg, Communications Director • smmsisters.org


• •

amma.org/groups/north-america/ homestead-iowa Cedar Rapids Zen Center cedarrapidszencenter.org Caspe Terrace, Waukee jewishdesmoines.org/about-us-3/aboutthe-caspe-terrace-facility Des Moines Zen Center dmzencenter.org Effigy Mounds, Dubuque nps.gov/efmo/index.htm Illuminations Healing Arts, Cedar Rapids illuminationshealingarts.com Iowa Islamic Heritage and Cultural Center, Cedar Rapids mothermosque.org Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, Wahpeton lakeshorecenteratokoboji.org Lamrim Kadmpa Buddhist Center, Davenport meditateiniowa.org Maharishi Peace Palace, Fairfield tm.org/transcendental-meditationfairfield Our Lady of the Prairie, Wheatland chmiowa.org/prairie_retreat.php Satva Center, Rock Island, IL satvacenter.com Rock River Retreat, Webster City rockriverretreat.org Shalom Spirituality Center, Dubuque shalomretreats.org



Kundalini: The Yoga of Awareness

One part theory. One part practice.


undalini Yoga is known as the Yoga of Awareness. While strengthening the physical body is a part of Kundalini Yoga, this is a side effect of its true nature. Its true focus is on self-awareness and delivering an experience for the highest consciousness. The technology that is Kundalini Yoga uses the mind and body to elevate the spirit. This practice combines pranayama, mantra, mudra, body locks, and asanas to help practitioners awaken their true potential. Specific kriyas—a series of movements, mantra, and pranayama—are taught to guide the energies of your body that result in a change of consciousness. Meditation for Through kriyas, a Kundalini yogi awakens the kundalini through the Spiritual, Mental, chakra system and recognizes his or and Physical her awareness, refine it, and expand it to the unlimited self. Through this, Balance you are able to clear any inner duality • Sit in Easy Pose with a and move toward inner stillness. straight spine. Every Kundalini Yoga class begins • Place your hands in front with the same mantra to tune in: of the chest at the level of the “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.” In Heart Center with your forearms English this means, “I bow to the parallel to the ground. subtle divine wisdom, I bow to the • Spread your fingers wide divine teacher within.” This mantra and press the fingers and reminds you in every class that you are thumbs of opposite hands the teacher, and all practice comes together from the tip to the from within. Every class ends with the first joint. The fingers point mantra, “Sat Nam,” which in English forward and the thumbs point means, “true name” or “truth is my toward the chest. The fingers identity.” Sat Nam can also be used are bent back at the knuckles, as a greeting: “I see your true nature” but the base of the fingers do or “I recognize the divinity in you.” not meet. Apply maximum Kundalini Yoga is a very individual pressure at the finger pages. practice, and you only have to look • Inhale deeply and completely within to find spiritual awareness and through the nose, exhale in spiritual awakening. eight strokes through the While all Kundalini Yoga kriyas mouth. Keep your eyes at the and meditations assist in your path tip of nose. Start practicing for to spiritual awakening, here is one three minutes and work up to meditation you can do anytime.

with BREttE BERLiN SCOtt

august 22

Forward Folds october 17

pranayama/ meditation SatuRdayS • 1-4pM


s h akti yo g ad m. c o m

Exquisite malas, made from sacred rudraksha seeds, steeped in tradition, full of contemporary beauty and bliss.

• SUMMER 2015

Photo by Kirstin Pope

five minutes, and then eleven.

Bali Malas



pon taking a job with an Iowa-based non-governmental organization working in rural Tanzania, I traveled to the sub-Saharan African nation this past spring to learn about the organization’s projects and to assist in the conclusion of an eight-year-long program that trained community health workers to deliver end-of-life care to AIDS patients in their communities. Everywhere we went, our team was welcomed by modest meals cooked by hard-working women over a three-stone fire. As we moved through northeastern Tanzania, we ate plantains fried in oil in a meeting hall in Hedaru and drank lemongrass tea in a teacher’s home in the Pare Mountains. Before our tour of Gonjo Hospital, we ate yams and chapati (flat bread). Rose, one of our organization’s volunteers, served mandazi (a sweet bun) in her small living room as we mourned the loss of her husband. Each of these small meals gave us the opportunity to engage our generous hosts. What is it like to live in one of the poorest countries in the world? How are you? As Mary Simon, one of Empower Tanzania’s most successful goat farmers, lit her new bio-gas stovetop, she described life before: She spent six hours every day collecting firewood so that she could cook for her family. Over grape Fanta, we celebrated Mwanaidi Chargma’s role as a community health worker and the invaluable service she provides within a country where there are only two doctors per 100,000 people. After gifting our staff with a small bag of fresh eggs, Judith Mtaita, a successful chicken farmer, proudly told us about the feast she prepared (three chickens!) for her family on Easter Sunday. Before sitting down to rice and goat stew in a remote Maasai village, Sara Aza explained how she and the women of her community walk miles every day to fetch water for their families. Not only do they face the threat of attack by wild animals, but because they gather water from


a mud hole, what they carry home in buckets often includes parasites that ultimately kill their young children. This sort of travel takes awhile to unpack. I washed and folded my long skirts and scraped the red mud from the soles of my sandals within a couple of days of my return to Iowa, but the impression of rural Tanzania lingers, and I find myself clinging to a new perspective and savoring the pungent taste of shared humanity. The bright colors of Sara’s traditional Maasai clothing and the sound of relief in Mary’s voice remain alive in my memory. Both prompt intense gratitude each time I turn on my kitchen faucet or drive my child to see a doctor. Perspective is always broadened by travel and what you bring home is often complex, nuanced, and sometimes even uncomfortable— much like my view of Mount Kilimanjaro from our vehicle as we drove to the airport, exhausted and transformed. The snow-capped mountain is always there, but swift-moving clouds often keep the magnificent peak hidden from plain view. A glimpse requires a certain amount of resolve; you have to keep your eyes peeled and your neck craned awkwardly out the window. In the end, it’s worth some discomfort. But such consciousness doesn’t come without the struggle: you have to want to see it.

Empower Tanzania is an Iowa-based NGO that works in partnership with the people of rural Tanzania to offer sustainable solutions through education, improved healthcare, and economic opportunity. The organization will offer a Friend of Empower Tanzania excursion in June of 2016. This two-week cultural expedition includes an exclusive look at dozens of Empower Tanzania projects and programs, a tour of an authentic Maasai community, an optional homestay in the Pare Mountains, and several days of safari at the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Learn more at empowertz.org and on Facebook.

fts I Brought iatHoionmofehow fortunate we Three GreatestnatGi ion prompts a deep apprec

Photos courtesy of Tracey L. Kelley • SUMMER 2015

• Time in a developing


e is a cation, and healthcare. Perspectiv edu re, ctu tru ras inf id sol e hav are to gift to cling to and treasure. a local tailor the work of Empower Tanzania, ional • In an expression of thanks for ted me with a custom-made tradit an sen pre and s ent rem asu me my k too was batik ensemble fits beautifully and dress and head wrap. The green honor to receive. beadwork is their handcrafted jewelry. Their for wn kno is e trib i asa Ma e e pieces Th • tural significance. I brought hom cul of l ful o als but , ful uti bea y not onl for donors and friends.

have a yogic trip to share? E-MAIL US AT EDITORS@YOGA-IOWA.COM

Photos courtesy of Leslie Klipsch


Photo by Kirstin Pope

A gong bath during the Dub

uque Yoga Festival in May

Discover your true spirit with a self practice.

Step #1

THE RISE OF midwest yoga festIVALS

book your free starter session now.


For many years, major yoga happenings for Midwesterners primarily occurred east of the Mississippi. From Wanderlust to Bhakti Fest to Yoga Journal conferences, enthusiasts had to travel great distances to enjoy live interaction with talent previously experienced only through DVDs and books.

upcoming yoga festivals

Iowa Yoga Festival, Des Moines August 28-30, 2015 iowayogafestival.com

In 2010, James Miller developed the Iowa City Minneapolis Yoga Festival as a way to “create an accessible and Yoga Conference celebratory place for yoga in the Midwest.” It was the April 15-17, 2016 first comprehensive weekend event in Iowa to feature mplsyogaconference.com both local and international yoga experts. Five years later, the rise of yoga festivals within and near Iowa Dubuque Yoga Festival reflects the passionate interest of practitioners to April 29/30 – May 1, 2016 expand their practices with more intimate exposure to dubuqueyogafestival.com influential teachings.

Private Sessions Guided Self Practice Adamantine® Yoga

2815 Beaver Ave, Suite 210 | Des Moines lisa@lisaachesonyoga.com lisaachesonyoga.com

lisaacheson YOGA

Mathew Koder is the producer of the 2015 Iowa Yoga Festival in Des Moines. He believes regional festivals are important “because they’re like a yoga food tasting. They give people a chance to sample teachers, ideas, techniques, and products,” he says. “A local festival also removes a lot of travel obstacles for people, and brings teachers to them.”




More events in the Midwest also help practitioners experience aspects of yoga that cultivate greater awareness and unity. Jessa Walters and Amy Patee created the Minneapolis Yoga Conference in 2013. Walters says one important objective of the Conference is “to foster diversity and bring in energy and expertise from other parts of the country and world, and allowing those energies to join with energies and expertise rooted right here in the Midwest,” she says. “We feel a very potent energy arises from this alchemy.” Celebrating diversity is a common theme of Midwest-based festivals. Julia Theisen, founder of the Dubuque Yoga Festival, highlights that a festival should be accessible to “all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and all levels of fitness and experience are welcome—beginners included.” Some of the feedback she received for her inaugural event earlier this spring was that it was “very inclusive of all people,” and Theisen is delighted with this response. “Our vision is for the festival to always be based in love and to embrace diversity,” she says. Theisen also believes festivals provide a fabulous platform to showcase yoga teachers from the heartland. “We received as many positive reviews for local talent as we did our national presenters, and sharing that feedback emboldens them to take the next step.”

Each festival participant leaves with a different impression, which adds to the value of the experience. Walters says attendees share “poignant stories of transformation with us. People leave the weekend changed.” Koder agrees, saying a big yoga event “facilitates rejuvenation, learning, and friendships.” He encourages newcomers to remember that “festive is the right name—it’s a party! Even if you’ve never done yoga and know nothing about it, you still wouldn’t want to miss a good time, would you?”

• SUMMER 2015




Enhancing Yoga with Essential Oils Yoga is much more than just a form of physical exercise; it’s a disciplined practice that touches upon the health and wellbeing of your entire body, mind, and spirit. Like yoga, the practice of aromatherapy strives to support the wellbeing of body, mind, and spirit. Aromatherapy achieves its effects through the application and diffusion of pure plant essential oils that influence physical wellness, a positive emotional state, and mental clarity. Combining aromatherapy with yoga can powerfully enhance your yoga journey.

AC Yoga Iowa Ad.pdf



8:54 AM

Three key methods of application are: • Diffusing – aromatic essential oils are evaporated into the yoga practice space to create an inspiring/motivating mood and to enhance breathing. • Purifying – essential oils are applied as powerful cleansing agents to wipe down and deodorize the yoga mat or used to clear the atmosphere. • Anointing – essential oils are used in applications of massage to enhance body stretching and recovery or worn as a scent to support visualization, meditation, and focus.

How to use oils in yoga

• Diffuse essential oils during your yoga session with a candle lamp. Candle lamps consist of a bowl of water over a small tea light-style candle. Just add six to ten drops of essential oil to 1/4 cup water in the bowl, and then light the candle. The flickering flame, coupled with the gentle release of aroma, will create a potent ambience during your yoga practice. Oils to consider: tangerine and peppermint are inspiring and motivating. Eucalyptus and cypress open the breathing process. Sandalwood and vetiver, which is similar to patchouli, are grounding and strengthening. • Create a purifying mist that doubles as a yoga mat cleanser and room deodorizing spray. Combine twelve drops of sweet orange, six drops of tea tree, and six drops of lavender with four ounces of water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and mist over your mat, wiping it clean with a soft towel before and after each use. Or, mist the air of your practice space to create a clean, motivationally aromatic atmosphere. • Blend one or more versions of your own signature massage or anointing oil formulas. Start with four tablespoons of a light, nongreasy carrier oil such as jojoba or grapeseed oil and then add twelve drops of essential oils. You can customize the blend of essential oils to create several yoga-centered benefits.








Benefits of Essential Oils

• Vetiver, ginger, and patchouli will be grounding and earth-


• SUMMER 2015

• •


connecting while sandalwood and cedarwood are stabilizing, strengthening and centering. All of these essential oils will help with balance and stability in your yoga poses. Myrrh, frankincense, eucalyptus, and rosemary encourage the flow of energy, self-expression and help you achieve steady, deep inhalations and exhalations. (Mastering your breathing process is as important to successful yoga practice as the poses.) Lavender, geranium, and chamomile are calming and relaxing. Bergamot, lemon, and orange lend a sense of fulfillment and spiritual nourishment to your yoga quest. Neroli, jasmine, ylang, and rose promote transcendence and spiritual expression.

Yoga is a journey to a soulfully balanced body that is properly aligned with mind and spirit. Incorporating the powerfully effective properties of aromatic essential oils—often described as the soul of the plant—into your practice can help you fulfill your journey.

Photo courtesy of Aura Cacia


Whether it’s in the park, along the river, or on a paddle board, we’ve gathered information about outdoor yoga events for you to try this summer! All events are open-tothe-public; most are free, but some may require a nominal fee. Here are a few tips: Arrive early, bring your own mat, and have plenty of water on hand. You might consider having an extra mat or blanket to use as a pad underneath your mat to avoid sticks, rocks, and hard concrete. Remember to be at peace with the pure unpredictability of Mother Nature—including an ant or two that may crawl across your mat.


Bandshell Park 6th St. and Duff Ave. Saturdays, 10-11 a.m. through August 1st The Band Shell 410 West 1st St. Saturdays, 8-9 a.m. through September

Yoga at the Plaza Brenton Skating Plaza, 520 Robert D. Ray Dr. Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.12:15 p.m. through August 26th




Clear Lake Sea Wall Saturdays, 7-8 a.m. through August 1st


Yoga in the Park Vander Veer Botanical Park, 215 W. Central Park Ave. Saturdays, 10-11 a.m. through mid-August



Yoga on the River RiverLoop Amphitheatre Saturdays, 8-9 a.m. through August 29th


Yoga on the Lawn 4200 Mills Civic Parkway Sundays, 9-10 a.m., through August 30th

Buxton Park North Buxton St. and West Girard Ave. Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. through July 14th


Chris Larson Park Larson Park Ave. Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. through August 29th

Pop-Up Yoga Varying times and locations, details on Facebook. Try a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga class. Prices vary and classes fill up early, so call ahead for details. Most include equipment rental with the cost of the class. Flow SUP Co. Mississippi River Rock Island, IL indiogogrrr@yahoo.com

Big River SUP Mississippi River Dubuque, IA BigRiverSUP@gmail.com

No Coast SUP Copper Creek Lake Park Pleasant Hill, IA NoCoastStandUp@hotmail.com

SUP Iowa Lake Okoboji Arnolds Park, IA info@supiowa.com

Know of another outdoor yoga event?


• SUMMER 2015

Photo scourtesy of Flow SUP Co, SUP Iowa, Theresa Macdonald, and Kerri Hays

Yoga in the Park Grey’s Lake, 2101 Fleur Dr. Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. through September 26th




NEW STUDENT SPECIAL: One month unlimited group classes for

• SUMMER 2015



Yoga for men BY JOHN CORNISH

hat do men struggle with today? What goes on in day-to-day life that needs attention? Does the practice of physical asana have anything to do with any of this? These are some of the questions that jettisoned out of my head and onto this paper when pondering the topic of why men should practice yoga and, in this case, spirituality. Come again? Yoga? I ask myself some of these as I struggle to get up at hours normally reserved for sleep, take a deep breath, and move my body I have learned a all with the ultimate goal of lot about myself. becoming a better person, Yoga does this a better man. I’ve been teaching yoga for to a person. It several years and have been cracks you open. practicing at least twice as long. I have learned a lot about myself. It shines a bright light on aspects Yoga does this to a person. It cracks you open. It shines a of your being that bright light on aspects of your really could use a being that really could use a little little attention. attention. For me, this is where yoga can help you to answer some of the questions above in a way that is evolutionary for you, in a way that’s accessible regardless of your personal beliefs, unanswered questions, or fears. I get asked all of the time about spirituality in yoga. Is it there? Does it belong? Is it really yoga without it? My response is typically crafted individually, but I do inherently know that when I move on the mat, I’m working deeper into layers that are considerably more subtle than what I see in the mirror. As important as that might be, it’s not what motivates me to get to the mat each day. For me, it has to be in my face. You know, tangible things. Things that truly make an impact in my life and help me relate to people better, to not flip out in traffic or act in a way that would make my Grandmother shake her head. So don’t become burdened with what yoga might be, but rather, use it for what it is to you. Each day brings degrees of challenge, stressors, successes, and reasons to smile. As we embrace and chip away at it all, we’re generally left with some more work to do. In the end, you need tools in your toolbox you can count on. For me, it’s about enhancing the things that really matter. It’s living with the vitality of a child. It’s creating joy while extinguishing fear, self-doubt, anger, and sadness. It’s embracing those cracks in my armor and sharing what I find with the world. Yoga is one of these tools. Use it. It’s a daily practice that helps you along your way. It isn’t always pretty, it isn’t always spiritual or Zen, but it is always there. Waiting for you to break it out and do the work that needs to be done.

Photo courtesy of John Cornish




The Wisdom of the Vedas by Jagadish Chatterji Chatterji believes the study of the Vedas, which are the most venerable Hindu scriptures, enlightens a reader to a more comprehensive understanding of many Eastern religions.

Yoga for everyone from young to young at heart B BALANCED · B YOU · B POWERFUL B RESTORED · B SCULPTED · B A KID · MOMMY TO B B3 - BREATHE, BODY & BEING

Come B whatever you want to B. Just B You.

1830 SE PRINCETON DRIVE · GRIMES facebook.com/studioBiowa studioBiowa.com




on our


Stretched thin? YOGA if your finances could use some flexibility, call us today.

Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali by B.K.S. Iyengar Often referred to as the preeminent spiritual teachings of yoga, Iyengar’s translation and commentary on these ancient texts provide access to the most influential yoga philosophies.

incoMe tAx buSineSS conSulting

Steven V. Small, CPA 4090 Westown Parkway, Ste A1 West Des Moines • 515.222.1735

The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga by Andy Douglas In this heartfelt memoir, Douglas, the son of missionaries, reveals an extensive spiritual and yogic journey through Asia and beyond, including his years as an Ananda Marga monk.

Indie Spiritualist: A NoBullshit Exploration of Spirituality by Chris Grosso


embrace local / natural / vegan homemade / amazing

Grosso, a former substance abuser and a popular attraction on the yoga festival circuit, carves a no-dogma spiritual path in this collection of essays and stories. MC Yogi says, “Grosso offers insight for an emerging generation of truth seekers.”

Contemplative Practices in Action by Thomas G. Plante In this compilation, Plante, a professor of psychology of religion and spirituality at Santa Clara University, and other authors show how to incorporate beneficial spiritual practices from many methodologies, including Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and meditation.

teacher, physical therapist, and an expert in EastWest psychology. In this lighthearted but practical book, she reveals various ways to apply yoga’s ancient wisdom to modern life.

• SUMMER 2015

Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Lasater Lasater is a yoga

Cindy Hick 515.720.5060 www.cindyhick.beautycounter.com, @abeautycounter



pleasures at the table LT ORGANIC FARMS • WAUKEE

f you want a unique and worldly dining experience with an unassuming and homegrown Iowa feel, you’ll love LT Organic Farm and Restaurant. Not far from the bustling city of Des Moines, it’s an sustainable LT Organic Farms and organic community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm, 32513 UTE Ave. restaurant, and store in Waukee. LT Organic Farm and Waukee, IA 50263 Restaurant is run by a family whose only wish is to heal you with 515-987-3561 delicious locally-grown organic and vine-ripened fruits and ltorganicfarm.org vegetables cultivated by their loving hands. The rustic restaurant sits in the center of the farm where the food you are served grows from the earth that surrounds you. Upon stepping inside, a small cowbell attached to the doorknob announces your arrival as if you are being welcomed in a neighbor’s home for dinner. Seating is available inside an old corncrib originally built in 1953, or outside on picnic benches underneath an awning. All meals are a blend of Indian, Mediterranean, and Caribbean cuisine with herbs grown in the garden or sent from extended family in South America. The layering of herbs and spices enhances the flavors making traditional cuisine an original experience. The fixed menu changes to fit seasonal vegetable availability and meals are made fresh daily. Accommodations can be made for gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan options. I enjoyed red beans in coconut tomato sauce, sautéed spinach, potato chutney, falafels in pea sauce, and seasoned chickpeas on a bed of jasmine rice topped with cucumber yogurt salad. To feel refreshed, enjoy a lemon-ginger herb beverage to cleanse your pallet before a light and creamy strawberry cheesecake. The freshness of the dairy in the dessert gives the essence of down-on-the-farm dining, yet there’s a sophistication and complexity

to the flavors of the entire meal. Be sure to take a tour of the farm led by the youngest of the four children: charming, well-spoken and soon-tobe eighth grader, Neel. He took us around the property pointing out his family’s “free spirit” way of farming. “Where grass grows you can plant anything,” he says. Vegetables and herbs scatter the land, some in tilled rows or holes of cinder blocks, and others in raised PVC pipes. “It doesn’t matter the amount of space you have, just that you use it wisely and efficiently,” Neel continued. He may be too young to realize it now, but his words of wisdom go far beyond soil and sunshine. The intimate community experience and education on the healing ability of food doesn’t have to stop with your meal! Other opportunities at LT Organic Farm include a gift shop featuring local artists, a preventative medicine program, and CSA memberships, which include a cooking class and suggested recipes with each weekly produce package.




The Rolf Method is both technique & the art of connective tissue manipulation which realigns and rebalances the major segments of the body and releases chronic muscle tension and pain.


Of Structural Integration

Frank Epstein BA, LMT, CNMT, NCTMB 274-3417

• SUMMER 2015



zero residue zero worries

Feel clean and good. Here’s $20 toward your carpet cleaning service. We’re waiting for you at zerorezdesmoines.com/yoga.

Photos by Olivia Kvitne




Over the years my yoga practice has evolved from a tool for purely physical and mental health to a

daily spiritual discipline that asks me to continuously look within. My practice continues to evolve but is rooted in what I feel is a spiritual journey to reveal and live from my true nature. Our teachers across the state beautifully reflect on being spiritual in this issue’s “Ask the Teacher.”

“Being spiritual means…” MARY ST ONGE


…opening your mind to possibilities that are not reduced to the confines of religious doctrine or cultural conditioning. It is allowing for directly experiencing and trusting the “Great Mystery” that cannot fully be understood. It is being in awe of the orderly perfection of the patterns and beauty found in nature. It is seeing your fellow humans as souls instead of bodies. And it is like trying to describe falling in love. Words fail. But it is felt in the heart.



…finding bliss, happiness, joy, and peace in everything I do. Whether I’m practicing yoga, riding my bike, printing shirts, or being with family and friends, I’m learning to be in the moment and be aware of the joy and peace around me. Some people focus on the negative, either with themselves or with others. Being able to stop, breathe, and go slowly helps me focus on the positive side of everything. Being this way helps me to be a better wife, teacher, and businesswoman.

… to be truly yourself! Forrest Gump is a great example of someone very spiritual; he is always himself, no ego nor greed, just acting on each moment as needed with love, and by doing these things, he changes people’s lives for the better without talking about spirituality!


…returning to our center and saying YES to the endless practice of becoming the person we were born to be. Having a spiritual practice invites us to embrace the ongoing journey of awakening to the dynamic wholeness of life in all its messiness and unpredictability. A daily practice asks us to find and embrace our own true nature and open our hearts. Pema Chodron reminds us to, “Start where you are.”

Please submit your questions for Ask the Teacher to editors@yogaiowa.com.

• SUMMER 2015








GET TO KNOW OFELIA MOHR Where do you teach? I teach Esoteric Yoga® at US Yoga Academy in Des Moines under the umbrella of Atman: The International Federation of Yoga and Meditation.


Favorite yoga pose: Utkatasana, or Chair Pose.


Something you splurge on: Good healthy food and spiritual journeys.

One thing people don’t know about you: I like to meditate with my dog next to me sometimes for hours. He seems to enjoy it very much and stays still and quiet.   Upcoming Highlights: A series of free events on July 18, September 19, and October 18 at Harvest Preserve in Iowa City. The event is “Meditation in a Spiral Formation,” along with Hatha Yoga, Sacred Sounds, and Pyramid Experience.  

4715 Grand Ave ~ Des Moines


Could you please describe the difference that yoga has made in your life? As a child I was like a “tomboy” growing up in an


atheist society. Yoga helped me to discover my femininity and sensitivity. It also helped me to become aware that everything is the creation of God.   What makes your style of teaching unique? The Esoteric Yoga® I teach helps students to transform their entire life into a spiritual adventure. For me yoga practice is not a workout, but a meditative practice in which all my energy structures implode in a blissful experience.  

Let us guide you on your Fitness Journey! Visit our website for a Complimentary Class Pass for a Yoga, Strength, HIIT, or Pilates Mat class.

RENEE DALRYMPLE Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine

Chiropractic Traditions

If you weren’t teaching yoga, what would you be doing? I love working outdoors with plants and animals. I would probably establish a community of people that live in perfect harmony with nature.  


What advice would you give to someone new to yoga who may feel intimidated? Start slow and allow yourself to spiritually evolve in a

Doctor of Chiropractic

Licensed Acupuncturist


I understand that in essence we are all the same, divine, pure, and perfect. We just need to remember and recognize it.


We are mother/daughter team dedicated to your wellness. Call for an appointment today.

1517 N. 1st St • Indianola

Photo by Kerri Hays

Soaring Crane Acupuncture

What was your most memorable experience from teaching or practicing yoga? I realized the infinity of human consciousness.

natural way. There are techniques in yoga suitable for everybody, regardless of age or physical condition. Yoga is not about how flexible or strong you are, but about a magic journey to awaken your soul.

Who or what inspires your practice and your teaching?

I am inspired by my yoga teacher and mentor, Grieg and by Paramahansa Yogananda. Also, when my students are able to improve their lives—when I see them become healthier, happier, and find new spiritual meanings— there is no stronger motivation for me.

• SUMMER 2015

How has the yoga philosophy resonated with you? The yoga philosophy and


practice helped me answer some fundamental questions such as: Who am I? Where do I come from? What happens with me after I die? What is my role in the universe? I had these questions as a teenager. Life did not make much sense without being able to answer them, so discovering yoga was a major turning point for me.


• SUMMER 2015


• SUMMER 2015

Profile for YogaIowa

YogaIowa: The Spiritual Side of Yoga  

This issue explores the practice of yoga spiritually and the ritualistic aspect that guides us into intimacy with ourselves and others that...

YogaIowa: The Spiritual Side of Yoga  

This issue explores the practice of yoga spiritually and the ritualistic aspect that guides us into intimacy with ourselves and others that...

Profile for yogaiowa