Yoga in the New Normal

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Some things are the same – we all continue to live with the knowns and unknowns of SARS-CoV-2.  But, things are also changing as we reflect on the experience of “lockdown” and try to reimagine the full meaning of the word health. 

For one, I’m incredibly grateful for the results of the lockdown that is estimated to have spared the lives of over 3 million pe0ple in Europe alone.   But, the overall impact of lockdown has also been devastating as people have lost employment and many struggle to keep their homes and put food on the table.  And, the lockdown has brought forward issues that simply can no longer be denied.  Now we look full on at the long standing social, economic, and health disparities that shape the lives of people of color and deny our society the benefits of diversity

How do we go forward?  Perhaps the first thing we need to do is to acknowledge that life on permanent lockdown is not sustainable.  Then what?  While there’s a sense of “your guess is as good as mine” that’s not really true.  The virus is still with us and we don’t yet have a vaccine.  But we can stick to what we know – wearing masks, keeping physical distance from one another, and washing our hands.  Then, we can make a choice to emerge to whatever degree works for us.

Like so many businesses, First Street Yoga is committed to providing a range of options from “no contact yoga” (aka Virtual Yoga) to “limited contact yoga” (aka yoga in Studio A).  Please check out our website “Classes/Schedule” page to learn more about how we are working hard to keep yoga a part of the life of our community.

Wishing you all well!  Namaste, Carol

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FIRST STREET YOGA – We Are Still Here!

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Hi Everyone,

This is Carol Daly, one of the yoga teachers at First Street Yoga.  I’m writing as I enter the 6th week of social distancing at my house.  This time has been like no other with more ups and downs than I ever expected.  I’ll admit to breaking so many of my own rules for staying centered in times of stress.  Right now, I’m just beginning to find my way back to routine yoga practice.  And, as it usually does, it feels like the practice is creating a subtle shift toward a place where life is more predictable and safer.
It is HARD to do yoga at home – especially when we first start.  And, trying to do yoga online can be tricky – both as the student and as the teacher!  I found this article on Yoga International this morning and thought you all might find it helpful.  HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF ONLINE YOGA CLASSES.  I’m definitely going to try one of the suggestions in this article – mirroring my phone to my TV! 
If you haven’t “attended” one of our First Street Yoga Zoom Classes, but would like to give it a try, please reply to this message so that we can send you the class log on information for a free trial.  Our classes are scheduled on MONDAY from 6 – 7 pm and THURSDAY from 10 – 11 am.  Check out our FIRST STREET YOGA website for more information.
Wishing you all health and peace,
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Yoga in the Time of Covid19

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I’ve been searching this afternoon for the wisdom of others to help me know what to put on this YogaBlog post.  And, what I’ve concluded is that the most important thing that I can do right now, is to be as authentic a yoga teacher as I can possibly be.  For me, this means sticking to my own yoga practice and teaching from those experiences.  I know that we can shift the way we think and the way we feel through the ardent effort of our practice.  But, I also know that this is not easy!  Finding that thing that we describe as awareness and coaxing it toward the sensations of our own living being is not necessarily familiar.  But it is something that we can learn.  And, the results are far reaching – improved physical health, improved sense of well-being, and better sleep to name just a few.

While we are unable to practice yoga classes in lovely Studio A of First Street Community Center, we are still practicing together using Zoom video conferencing.  Please check out the description of our online classes on the First Street Yoga website “Classes/Schedule” page and think about joining us!  And, feel free to email* with any questions that you may have.

As we often do at the end of class, I’m closing this post with the Loving Kindness Meditation.  Thinking of all of you.  Namaste, Carol

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm,

May you be peaceful and happy,

May your body be strong and healthy, and heal itself over and over,

May you take care of yourself with ease and joy.

*[email protected] OR [email protected]

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Update to First Street Yoga Cancellation

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Everything around us is changing day to day and often minute to minute.  When we posted just 8 days ago we expected that life would be returning to normal by April 5.  Right now we know that the First Street Community Center Building is closed until April 13 so First Street Yoga is suspended until at least that time.  We will be in touch by email and through our website YogaBlog posts to let you know what we are offering for yoga classes at First Street Yoga.

While we cannot meet in Studio A for yoga right now, we can still meet virtually to breathe, move, quiet down, and support one another.  Please join Carol for a free yoga class THIS THURSDAY, March 26, at 10 am viz Zoom.  
If you haven’t used Zoom for virtual meetings before, check out these videos for a quick tutorial on how to Join a Meeting and once in the meeting how to use the Meeting Controls.  Your microphone will be muted and your video camera disabled when you join the meeting so feel free to do yoga in your pajamas if you’d like!  If you prefer using your phone or iPad download the Zoom app.  Please feel free to share this opportunity with a friend – our Zoom video conference session can hold up to 100 people!
Take care and please stay in touch.
Namaste, First Street Yoga
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First Street Yoga Classes – Canceled Until April

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Dear First Street Yoga Community,

Like so many of you, we are finding that our understanding of the Coronavirus pandemic is changing daily – and sometimes from moment to moment.  Yesterday, Yoga Alliance, the body that provides accreditation of yoga teacher training programs and registers yoga teachers (RYT-200, RYT-500), sent a communication recommending that all in-person community based yoga class instruction be cancelled until the need for social distancing has past.  This news was quickly followed by Governor Reynolds’ announcement of expanded community spread of the Coronavirus in the state of Iowa and a recommendation for school closings across the state.

Because of this new information, we have decided to suspend all First Street Yoga classes until April 5 at which time we will reassess the situation.  This decision is based on recommendations and evidence, but most importantly on our sincere concern for each of you and for our community.  As many are reminding us, social distancing is not done solely out of fear or selfishness.  It is an act of caring and compassion intended to reduce interactions that may become the vector for the transmission of a serious illness.

We will stay in touch.  Please feel free to contact any of us if you have questions or concerns.


Carol Daly [email protected]

Jen Zimmerman-Bronder  jenniferzim[email protected]

Ann Fleckenstein  ann.ccre@gmail.com

Devon Olberding  devonmcd@hotmail.com

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Winding Down on Winter?

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I don’t know about you, but it feels like I’m in some kind of “in between” place where at any moment winter could turn into spring or visa versa!  It’s hard to know how many layers to put on in the morning or what kind of coat to put on in the afternoon.  And, then there is the question of how to spend one’s free time – inside with a good book or outside on a hike?

With time seemingly weirdly suspended, I’ve been working to figure out how I can use my yoga practice to help me find a sense of stability and ease.  The word yoga means “union” and often is interpreted to mean the union between the body, breath, and the mind.  The choices that we make in on our yoga mat potentially impact all three.  Here are a few examples for times that you may want to make a shift in how you feel.

Strengthen and Lengthen – If winter has meant too much time on the couch, yoga can be a great way to build strength and increase the flexibility you need for spring and summer activities.  When you want a strength-based practice think about downward facing dog to strengthen the arms, shoulders, and back while stretching hamstrings and calves, plank pose to build the core, and triangle pose to build leg strength and endurance.

Energize – When you are looking for more energy think about expansive standing asanas that emphasize opening the chest and deep breathing and adding backbends like camel, cobra, and locust pose once you are warmed up.

Calm – When you feel like there is just too much going on think about including child’s pose, crocodile pose, simple twists, and legs up the wall.

No matter what combinations of asana you choose, combining breath control with movement is key to the final link that yoga promises to make between body, breath, and mind.  At the beginning of your practice, take the time to tune into the sensation of the breath and keep checking in throughout your practice.  “One to one” breathing (inhale and exhale equal in length) and breath connected movement (expanding on the inhale and softening on the exhale) not only make the physical exercise of yoga more attainable – they create the sense of calm and ease we are looking for during AND at the end of our practice.

Thanks for being part of the First Street Yoga community.  Looking forward to seeing you soon.