Yoga in the Time of Covid19

Share with your friends

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.

*firststreetyoga@gmail.com OR carolt.daly@gmail.com


Update to First Street Yoga Cancellation

Share with your friends

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

First Street Yoga Classes – Canceled Until April

Share with your friends

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 carolt.daly@gmail.com

Jen Zimmerman-Bronder  jenniferzimm2004@yahoo.com

Ann Fleckenstein  ann.ccre@gmail.com

Devon Olberding  devonmcd@hotmail.com


Winding Down on Winter?

Share with your friends

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.  






Creating Space

Share with your friends
During my own weekly yoga class today, my teacher, Fannie Hungerford, talked about the Sanskrit word, sukha.  Sukha is literally translated as “space” and in yoga philosophy space is considered to be something that is inherently beneficial.  The space of sukha allows for a sense of ease, comfort and lightness in the body.  Space also provides us with room.  This can be something as straightforward as room to maneuver, but also with things less tangible like the room to change our minds, room to change position on long held beliefs, room to change our habits, and room to see things from a new angle.
Restorative yoga is a practice of creating space.  During restorative yoga, props are used to support the entire body in a position of comfort.  Because we are comfortable, it becomes effortless to rest in a position designed to release tight muscles and relieve accumulated stress.  As we deeply relax, the body has an opportunity to replenish stores of energy and recover a sense of ease.  It is here that the body and the mind are brought into balance to quietly support one another and promote healing.  No matter where you are in your journey of yoga you will find restorative yoga a perfect adjunct to your regular practice.
Our usual first Sunday of the month Restorative class is this weekend on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2, FROM 4 – 5:30 pm and we hope that you can join us.  This class does require pre-registration which you can do by contacting us at First Street Yoga or by directly emailing Carol Daly. She will confirm your registration and send a reminder email on Saturday, the 1st.  Cost is $10 or one class punch for current students and $15 when dropping in for this special 90 minute class.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Contact info for Restorative Yoga: 
firststreetyoga@gmail.com or carolt.daly@gmail.com 

Why Come to Yoga Class?

Share with your friends

I spent some time recently talking to students in my yoga classes.  I was curious about what they were thinking about when they made the decision to start coming to a yoga class.  Some were new to yoga and others had years of experience, but there were some common themes in what they had to tell me.

Most people I talked to told me they had decided to come to yoga for its physical benefits – strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance.  Within this conversation about physical fitness, however, there often emerged a second theme – the need for stress relief, time for personal growth, and an opportunity to practice mindfulness with the support of others.

Despite initial uncertainty (“…maybe I’m not flexible enough to do yoga”), these students found that yoga allowed them to slow down and open to present moment awareness.  Instead of comparing themselves to others, they found their attention moving away from distracting and negative thoughts and toward the way that yoga made them feel.  Yoga class gives us a designated time to experience the unique combination of much needed physical movement and breath awareness without self-judgement.  These words by Buddhist monk, Pema Chodron, say it all.

“Practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better.  It’s about befriending who we already are…We experience moments of being right here that feel simple, direct, and uncluttered.”

We hope to see you for a yoga class here at the First Street Community Center whenever you can join us!  Check out our Classes and Calendar at firststreetccyoga.com.