Harmony Yoga Retreat | Yelapa, Mexico

This was my first time out of the country and my first yoga retreat, so it was an amazing adventure, to say the least.

Yoga Journal Conference Midwest

Dharma Mittra, Seane Corn, Aadil Pakhilivala, Maty Ezraty, Jim Bennitt... Need I say more?

Saturday, July 3

Yoga in the Park | Des Moines, IA

LOCATION: The weekend I went there was quite a bit of rain and the river flooded. So they moved us to a school yard, which was less scenic but yoga outside was new to me, so still appealing. They did have excellent signage that led me to the right place (as I didn't know we were flooded out until I arrived that morning), and the school had free parking.
COST: Free!
STUDIO: Outside! (see location)
CLASS DESCRIPTION: The Des Moines Park and Recreation invites you to enjoy your Saturday morning by participating in a free weekly yoga session at Grays Lake. Maximize your stress relief by practicing yoga next to the water's edge while being led by local volunteer teachers—each week will be a different yoga experience!
INSTRUCTOR: Roxanne from Harmony Yoga was the instructor this morning. They rotate instructors each week.

Just Allow!

Roxanne kept sneaking this into the practice... just allow your breath to flow naturally, just allow yourself to sit in this pose, just allow yourself to reflect on your practice. It was a wonderful reminder for yoga and life in general. We went through a very similar order of things as I'm use to at home. This was the biggest class I've ever attended, probably 30-40 people I'd guess. That was really interesting too. I tried to get a picture of it, but at the beginning there weren't that many people, in the middle I'm not breaking my stride, and at the end everyone jetted out.

Partner yoga has been brought up a lot lately... at thai massages, in class, in magazines, etc. I'm not much of a group person. Maybe it's the only child in me that prefers the time alone... or maybe like everyone else, it's just uncomfortable. So this has never been really appealing to me. Well, at one point Roxanne said we had a great Kula [sanskrit for community or family] & asked people to form a line of 3-4 people or more. Sigh. We were asked to form our normal tree pose [vrksasana], but place our hands on the back of the people next to us. Once we all found our position we would press our hands into our other buddies back to help lift our hearts to the sky [which opens the chest and forms a stronger core for the position]. It was great. To my left was an elderly woman who was worried she'd knock us all down with her lack of balance, I assured her we'd help one another out... and in return, to share awkwardness, I pointed out it was probably worse to have to touch my gross, sweaty back. It was pretty gross. Then we lifted and held our pose. What a great experience, it really was nice to adjust my balance to not only the movement of myself but those on either side of me... and down the line. You could hear different groups giggling and impressed with their ability to do this... it was really rewarding.

At the end, after savasana, we brought ourselves up to our sitting position, normal for the yoga classes I've taken. But Roxanne went into a different mudra than normal. We placed our left hand on our heart and our right hand on the ground. It was a moment to recognize the energy we gain from the world around us, and that out of respect we should replenish the energy we removed. I love being reminded that I'm small, that I'm just a tiny cog in this ginormous universe. It makes my problems seem ridiculous and it makes my actions more meaningful. It's a nice place to be.

A fantastic morning, thank you Des Moines.