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Starting Your Day with an Intention

By | Life Inspiration from a Yogi | No Comments

What would your day look like if you started by setting your intention?  First of all, what does that even mean?!  Well, starting with setting an intention for me looks like deciding how my energy should be for the day before I encounter any outside factors.  I’ll admit, I’m a SERIAL phone-scroller in the morning.  Facebook, Instagram, emails- you name it + I’ve already checked it.  What is this really doing for me though?  Allowing other people’s energy to affect mine before I’ve set in stone how I want my day to be & what I will need to amplify within myself in order to do what I need to get done that day.

Speaking of intention- what does setting an intention look like?  I LOVE to use affirmations as an intention setter.  A powerful one I use in yoga a lot is “I am ________”.  Usually this will be the first word that comes to your mind- let’s be real, for a lot of us on a Monday morning its “I am tired”.  But, telling yourself that you are tired will NOT find you more energy!  I’m not asking you to lie to yourself, but think of it as creating the result that you desire.  You are deserving of energy.  You are worthy of waking up & creating an amazing life for yourself each and every day.  “I am awake”, “I am alive”, “I am free” might be a more accurate and powerful affirmation that will start to shift your mindset from where you are to where you want to be in the morning.

Need help getting started?  I have a $5/45 minute opportunity & solution for you!  Maybe you’ve already guessed it, but we have Rise & Shine hot yoga 3x a week for this exact purpose!!  Yoga gets our heart pumping, energy lifted, endorphins going, and good vibes FLOWING.  Think of how powerful it will be for you to start your day the way YOU want to rather than by being greeted with stress, a to-do list, noisy kids, etc.  Start with yourself & make it a priority to get on your mat.  Set your alarm, make an accountability partner, write yourself a sticky note & stick it to your bathroom mirror… whatever you need to do to start your day off in a way that will continue to set you up for success.



Taking a yoga workshop?! What to expect.

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One of my FAVORITE things to do is take a couple hours on a weekend or week night to find a yoga workshop.  This might require traveling to places like Iowa City, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Des Moines, Chicago, etc. but its always SO fulfilling!!  Working with different yoga teachers has taught me a lot about my practice and has gotten me out of the rut that I as a yoga teacher am totally guilty of creating- those same go-to poses/flows/sequences.  As much as I try to make every class unique, sometimes it is SO refreshing to hear someone who believes something totally DIFFERENT about the practice than I’ve ever even considered.


Back in March I road tripped with two of my fellow teachers up to Chicago to take a class with Ali Brashler & a workshop with Bradshaw Wish.  We were blown AWAY by how much our practices were forever changed just by that total three-hours of a new experience.  Ali’s class felt like taking in an entire workshop in 60 minutes.  I’m telling you… this class wasn’t even heated yet we were all drenched in sweat & feeling amazing.  All three of us have practiced with some of the most well-known teachers in the world, and felt that these two should be right up there with them.


We are SO lucky to have Ali Brashler coming to our neck of the woods (quite literally) with the Backwoods Yoga Retreat!  She will be teaching two workshops that you can enjoy whether you’re on the day pass or weekend experience.  The first one is a yoga flow class (Ali is the QUEEN of unique sequences that help you get into poses & get more out of poses than you ever thought possible) called “Ohm. M. G.” that is meant for all levels of yogis- yes, even if you’ve never done yoga before the retreat!!  Her second workshop will cover different arm balances & end with some tips for inversions.  We are SO excited to have her insight & knowledge at the yoga retreat- and did we mention she’s hilarious too?!  You guys are going to LOVE being around her energy & learning from her for the day… or weekend!


Have you signed up yet?  Go to our Retreat page here on the website to get registered!




Full Moon Ceremony- feel the vibes!

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Our newest addition to the Backwards Yoga workshop family have been our Full Moon Ceremonies!  This has proven to be a powerful experience for all the yogis who come & connect to their inner power over the 90 minute time together.  There is tea provided in a variety of flavors so we all have something to sip on while discussing where we’re at in our journey & empowering each other to go further.  Journaling provides deeper thought & provokes topics that we might put off rather than face.  During the Full Moon Ceremony we go through a meditative yoga flow that allows us to release built-up energy in our bodies & move forward into the month ahead.  Along with learning about different aspects of the moon cycle, we have also incorporated the gift of healing crystals!  In January our yogis were given a smokey quartz to feel more grounded & in February we celebrated new beginnings with a moonstone crystal.  In speaking with yogis after our time together, these ceremonies have proved to manifest new growth in our lives where we may not have known we had the power to create.

Interested in joining our next Full Moon Ceremony?  Mark your calendar for Thursday, April 18th at Backwards Yoga!  Please use the MindBody app or website to register ahead of time as space is very limited.




Mid-Level Yoga (is it time to level up?)

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Has your practice started to feel stale?  Maybe poses like down dog, warrior 1, plank, and folds have started to lose their momentum.  WELL, maybe its time to try leveling up with our Monday night Mid-Level class!  Each Monday, Kela leads us through a fun flow from 6:30-7:30pm in an even more open environment.  Students are encouraged to ask questions, try new things, and explore new areas of their practice.  We get more in depth with poses that may have begun to have less sensation so that you can safely deepen your postures.  Gearing the body up for more advanced backbends, inversions, hip openers, and arm balances take a lot of guidance- mid-level class is your time to get creative!  Learn what your body needs on a more individual level and gain new drills to help take your to the next level.  We hope you’ll join us for this fun one-hour class if this sounds like what you need in your practice!


See you on your mat.  Namaste,


Benefits of a Local Yoga Retreat

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May of 2019 will bring so much excitement as our plans come to life through the Backwards Backwoods Yoga Retreat!  A lot of thought has been put into making this a weekend filled with relaxation, learning, and FUN at the beautiful Camp Liberty.  We’ve listed below some of our FAVORITE benefits of attending a local yoga retreat:

  1. Take your yoga to the next level & learn new things- explore LOTS of yoga topics including mediation, Ashtanga yoga, Reiki healing, Full Moon Ceremony, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, and more
  2. Find a fresh perspective- take a step away from your daily routine to see things in a different way
  3. You’ll *actually* practice- this weekend will be the PERFECT way to get your yoga practice back on the priority list!
  4. Clear your mind for meditation- because its SERIOUSLY hard to make this one a priority & we totally get that!
  5. Make new friends- get to know your yoga friends better and make new ones too!  Having a group of like-minded people around you will help to take your goals to the next level
  6. Supports out community- by attending a local retreat your dollars go right back into our community!
  7. Less $$ than travel retreats- the Backwoods Yoga Retreat is cost effective and close to home
  8. Time away from the family- they WILL survive without you for a couple days while you take some time for yourself, you DESERVE it
  9. You don’t have to cook- (this might be our favorite one, and the food is going to be fabulous)
  10. Detox from electronics- put your phone down and be present again

Winter Yoga Mix Sequence

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Anyone else trying to get out of the house during this winter storm? Me too, me too. Looking out my Iowa window, I see rain turning to ice, and more snow coming down. It looks like I might be house ridden for another day or so. Which for me, means no studio time. Which really disturbs my practice and the balance of my body. Not only having scoliosis, but having 2-13 inch rods in my spine, this cold weather makes my back hurt even more than a normal day. The aches and pains continue while the snow comes down.

So, if you are at home, or just need a quick sequence to follow along to, here you go! Move your body around to warm up!

Start Seated. Cross legged, or legs straight, whatever you decide. Take a few long inhales and deeper exhales. Set an intention within your body of what you would like to accomplish over the next few minutes. Continue to keep that intention with you while you move your body.

On your next inhale, reach your hands to the sky, on your exhale, bring your right hand along side of you and reach up and over your body with your left hand, stretching out your left side. Hold here for a few breaths. Come back to center. Same thing, other side. Repeat two more times on each side.

Press forward into a table top position. Making sure your shoulders are over your wrists, hips are over your knees. Spine will start long, if comfortable. Hold here, focusing on the intention you set, and focusing on the inhales and exhales. Then connect with your breath with the movement of your body. Move through your cat/cow poses during your breath, moving your spine from neutral to a C-shape for (cow) and then pressing the mat away from you into a cat back spine (cat pose). After a few breaths, come back to center, spine is neutral.

Tuck you toes, lift your sit bones, and press them back, lifting into a downward dog pose. Peddle your heals out for the first few breaths. Then walk your feet to your hands and grab for opposite elbows, holding in a forward fold. Feeling the energy move from your toes to your heels. Bring your hands to your hips, and take a deep inhale, coming into a standing position.

From here, you can move through a few Sun Salutations and then finish your practice the same way you started, coming back through your cat/cow poses and back to seated to stretch out your sides.

Take care! Stay safe out there Midwest friends!

Kela Marie

January updates!

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January is SUCH an exciting time of year!!  New beginnings mean LOTS of new & returning yoga students, reminding each of us just how important and sacred this practice is as it works through our lives.  So many of us use this time as our only quiet space between busy times of chaos- so let’s all remember to practice mindful silence to respect our fellow yogis!

Coming up: workshops!!  Keep up with our email list & Facebook events to see what’s next that you can learn from our studio.  Utilize our space to make the most of your practice & GROW with it!  We love always challenging ourselves to learn new things, and then taking those new ideas back into our daily routine.  Remember, “A mind that has been expanded by new knowledge can never go back to its old dimensions”.
Let’s chat retreat for a moment: WHOA, this month is the last chance to get in on over $100 SAVINGS on your May 17-19th, 2019 yoga retreat.  We are so excited to bring in new teachers, topics, and give ourselves a chance to get away.  Would you like to join us but are on the fence?  TRUST US, life will go on without you having to be an active part of it for a couple days.  Give back to yourself, take time to unplug, and give yourself the chance to know what that truly feels like!  We hope this will be an awesome opportunity to build stronger connections within our yoga community as well as within ourselves as individuals- don’t miss out on your perfect opportunity to sign up!  www.backwardsyogaiowa.com/yoga-retreat/
Alright, that’s what we’ve got coming up this month!  Remember to welcome new students, be kind to yourselves, and be open to new opportunities.
Namaste friends,

You can teach an old dog new tricks…

By | Life Inspiration from a Yogi | No Comments
I was miserable, that was my life in a nutshell. I was wearing about a size 20 and my health situation was terrible. I was taking depression medication. I had joint pain everyday. I could have lived on tums and I ate to fill a void and compensate with all that was going on in my life.  I could go into specifics regarding all of this, but why? The bottom line was I was miserable.
I had learned about the Whole 30 from my oldest daughter and cousin.  I tried it for 30 days and I lost over 20 pounds, then I went right back to the way it was, I tried again and lost weight then gained it back.  I felt so good at the end I just couldn’t transfer it over.  I was talking to a friend and she told me she was going to do a Whole 100 and I said without hesitation, I am in. The very next day I started the Whole 100 but I started things a little bit backwards.  I cleaned my cupboards, I made meals as I went.  I literally fought it the first week, to find a path…. and so my journey began. I never looked back.
I am going to skip to the end, I completed the Whole 100 and lost 17.3 pounds the first month, I was a size 16 when I started to a size 8.  I had a ton of non-scale victories (those victories that don’t register on the scale) which I will share with you when we meet.  I also want you all to know that I didn’t exercise once through this.  I wanted to focus on my food then move to exercise, you are all ahead of the game…being dedicated yogis.  I continued my journey and eventually bought my first pair of size 2’s.  I float between a 4 and a 2 and I can’t wait to share all of this with you. But the size doesn’t really matter, it is how I feel every day.
Take a chance, put yourself first and change your life.
Join me in our Whole 30 Challenge starting in January…

Glow in the Dark Yoga FUN- Glowga

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Black lights, glowing orbs, body paint, and LOTS of laughs- Glowga 2018 was an event to be remembered!  We kicked off the evening with our kids class at 6pm.  As the kiddos arrived, they were able to use chalk body-paint for glow in the dark designs as well as play fun glow games like Twister and Tic-Tac-Toe.  The kids had so much fun flowing through partner poses, a down dog tunnel, and sun sals meant just for them!


Once the little ones exchanged “Namaste” to each other, there was a thunder of little feet running around underneath the disco ball & black lights.  Parents took a few final snapshots and then headed off to bundle up the kids before heading home.  By 7:30 the adult class was ready to roll with drinks in tow.  The dark room made for a playful vibe with bright colors & fun music.  We are already planning another GLOWGA event in the spring in case you missed out this time around!  Keep an eye on our facebook page (Backwards Yoga) and MindBody for future event dates!




Different Days

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This side-by-side picture shows real life. Real life on my yoga mat. I have been doing yoga for over 10 years, and the picture on the left is a current picture of my forward fold. What does this mean? This means that every day is different on your mat. Each pose can be different. Each side of your body can be different. And that is ALL OKAY.

Let me explain the difference in the two pictures of what was happening in my life:

Left Picture:

Thursday Morning. I had just spent the last 3 days traveling from Iowa to New Mexico, in a car. That’s right – in a car. I was feeling super rough from traveling and sitting in the car for so long, plus not having my normal yoga practice or teaching schedule. Meaning, not a lot of movement that I am used to. I also was not feeling like being on my mat, but I know I needed some movement, and I really needed to see where I was at that day.

Right Picture:

Saturday Morning. 2 days after the left picture was taken. I had flown home, had some issues with flights, but made it into Chicago, and had a car ride home to the Quad Cities. I had just taught a hot class with my regular Saturday morning crew, who are all AWESOME. They lift me up each Saturday morning. Plus, I was home and felt back to a normal schedule at the studio.

Now. Let’s look at the difference. Can you see it? Take another look and really think about the pose. Look how much deeper the pose on the right is, how close my torso is to my legs. See where the crown of my head is pointing? And how high my hips are?

This just shows that each day is different. Our practice will continue to change based on our dedication and our normal life routines. Things happen. Life happens. And that is ALL OKAY.

I’ll see you on your mat.


Kela Marie