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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

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,
Angela

You can teach an old dog new tricks…

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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…
<3
Holly

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!

 

Namaste,

Angela

Always Learning…

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I’ve found one of the challenges of being a yoga teacher is making sure I still have a consistent practice that is constantly learning/growing outside of what I’m instructing.  My favorite weekly treat to myself happens every Monday night from 6:30-7:30pm with Kela when I practice with my fellow yogis during our Mid-level class!  I can’t say enough good things about how amazing it is to work with people who you can learn from & grow with- and that’s what happens at the studio!

Its not uncommon to see our Backwards teachers geeking out over yoga poses between classes- which is something I didn’t think a lot of until I captured these moments on video.  The Mid-level class on this particular Monday was working on Eight-Angle pose (one of my favorites) and I was videoing after class to try and capture a good screenshot for a social media challenge.  This arm balance is challenging for me & making progress isn’t always possible without other eyes helping you from other angles.  While watching the video back I so naturally could see my dear friends/fellow teachers chiming in to answer all my questions & help me problem-solve what I had been feeling within the pose that was holding me back.  The teamwork of teachers we have is incredible, and I truly believe it provides the best possible learning experience for our students!

Whenever life gets busy & I know my practice hasn’t been as frequent, I can see that directly reflected in my teaching.  That’s around the time I hop on MindBody to get my next class scheduled & see what workshops are coming up on the website.  We’re all still learning & there’s ALWAYS more to know- that’s the beauty (and challenge) of yoga!

Namaste,

Angela

Sunday Rainy Vibes

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It’s been a rainy week here in the Quad Cities, and it looks like we are in for even more rain for the week. Which can lead to less motivation and a funky mood. We might be able to power through it, but who really wants to go outside when it’s pouring? In this morning’s 8AM class, I asked how everyone was doing before class started. Each of them mentioned the whether and how it was affecting their mood, daily plans, and motivation. Instead of my normal routine of flowing through the sun salutations, working breath to movement through our sequence, I decided to change the class up.

We started with a few sun salutations to increase heart rate and warm our bodies up. Then we went into some hip openers (Thanks Deb for the request)! After that, I took them to the wall. Which is one of my favorite ways to help student’s get deeper within their poses by using the wall for support. I tell my students they can easily maneuver through these poses while they are at home, or even at work! They absolutely loved it! Plus, we had fun with it which was great to boost their mood for their Sunday.

One of the best ways to move through a funky mood is to make some time for your yoga practice. Whether that is at the studio or at home, you will be able to boost your mood through yoga.

Here are a few poses to try to boost your mood:

Child’s Pose

Cat/Cow Poses using Inhale/Exhale

Tree Pose

Downward Facing Dog (better yet, a headstand for an inversion!)

Upward Facing Dog

Seated Meditation

Here is a picture of me adjusting student (and yoga teacher) Deb against the wall. It may look a little different, but she LOVED it! It definitely helped open her hips a little more with the help of the wall and the weight from me.

Namaste!

Kela

Manifestation: how I became a yoga teacher

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I was never trying to be a yoga teacher.  I was the girl who came to class and didn’t want to make eye contact with herself in the mirror.  I was the awkward one who’s hands were closer to touching her knees than her toes.  I was the one who “had no upper body strength”& “had no balance”.

 

But I was also the one who kept coming back.  I threw all of my self-doubt out the door and decided I didn’t care.  I knew I felt good after practice and that’s the feeling I was chasing.  Not some far off dream of being able to do the splits, or crow, or anything else crazy.  It didn’t take long and people started noticing my improvements.  Then it got to the point that no one knew where I had started- they just said I was “good” at yoga.  What did that even mean?

 

I heard of a teacher training program coming up at the studio.  My boyfriend and I had just bought a house a month before and I knew it wasn’t “good timing” for me to join.  And who was I to be a yoga teacher anyway? But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  I never want to be the teacher who’s students believe that their inner power is coming from an outside person.  I want my students to believe in themselves and build a practice that is meaningful to them.  I knew I was coming from a good place, and I’d getting to know this “universe” and “energy” and “vibes” through yoga.. so I thought “why not try it”.

 

I didn’t sign up for the program that day.  I didn’t have the money for it.  Like I said, we just bought a house and every ounce of money I made went towards my dream of being a musician.  So, I made a deal with this new found “universe”.  If I could make enough money between now and the time my payment was due to cover the program, I would join.  That was EXTREMELY far-fetched at the time.  I barely had any gigs coming up and I knew for a fact the money was just not there.  But I said the words out loud.  I made that solid commitment to the universe, and something amazing manifested.

 

I’d let go of the idea of “trying” to make the money needed to get into my YTT program and just let the universe know that I was ready for it.  Within 24 hours I had a couple brand new gigs lined up from people who had heard about me randomly.  I was not trying for these things, but I had continuously “thrown darts at the dartboard” and once the universe knew my intention- something stuck.  Sure enough, within the time allotted up to the day before… I made the EXACT amount of money needed to enter the teaching program.  It was an incredible fit for me- combining my love of biomechanics & teaching that came from the horse world, my love for connecting with people & making playlists from the music world, and my love of choreography, energy, and spirituality from my childhood spent in between the dance studio & church.

 

I’ll leave you with this… do not think that you are not worthy of what the universe has to offer you.  It is vastly expansive and you should tell it what it is that you want.  Say it out loud, set yourself up for success, and let it work magic within your life.  The yoga practice is a great way to set intention for your life and learn how to breathe through tough moments and enjoy the continuous breath throughout the roller coaster of the time on your mat.  Take it from the girl who stumbled into a yoga class one time, it can change your whole life if you let it.

 

Namaste, Angela

 

 

“Without grace, we are just fighting”

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“Without grace, we are just fighting”

 

I heard this quote while watching the movie “I Can Only Imagine” yesterday.  No matter how you sit on the topic of religion.. I would highly recommend going to see this movie.  It was incredibly inspiring and thought provoking.  The movie tells the story behind the song “I Can Only Imagine” which involved a man losing his dad after many years of suffering abuse within the family.  One of the main themes was forgiveness along with grace.  This quote, “without grace, we are just fighting” stayed with me long after I left the theatre.

These words stayed with me during meditation and made me reflect deeply on the relationships in my life.  We talk about in class “letting go of what no longer serves us” and I think this quote ties right in with grace as well.  If we want something to be just, then maybe it is worth the fight.  But if we are fighting knowing that we do not wish to forgive the person… then it is wasted time.  At that point it is better to let go of the situation or person and free ourselves of that burden.  Not all forgiveness ends in friendship, sometimes its just about keeping a healthy relationship with yourself.  We can’t keep punishing ourselves or another person by bringing up old wounds that will never heal, it is just best to leave them alone.

After the movie we went out to dinner at Outback and the waitress was wearing lotus flower earrings.  I cannot recall another time I’ve ever seen another person wearing lotus flower earrings… yet this powerful symbol walked right up to me as a reminder.  The lotus flower is a powerful symbol in yoga, reminding us that we too can grow out of the mud and bloom into something beautiful.  It also reminds us that muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.  Taking time today to let it be, give grace, and give forgiveness for myself as well as others.

Namaste, Angela

A Butterfly’s Wing

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“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” -Chaos Theory

 

Do you ever consider just how much impact we have on the world?  Every thought impacts our words and our actions… soon creating a life and making a direct affect onto everyone and everything around us.  We hold so much power & free-will, yet at the same time have an overwhelming sense of being out of control. When we do even one good deed- it can truly impact the entire world.  And one poorly-intended act can do the same as well.

 

I’m a firm believer in karma and what you put out in the universe you’ll always get back.  Maybe you walk around with better energy when you’re at peace with yourself and attract good things.  Whatever it really is, it certainly can’t hurt to be the best version of yourself and accept blessings with a grateful heart.

 

Its easy to get so caught up in working that we forget to consider the repercussions of our work.  I know for myself that I can get really down with my nose to the grindstone never looking at the bigger picture.  I forget to look at how far I’ve come but rather how far I have still to go on my journey.  But I also think that’s the cool thing about knowing that life is a journey.. we enjoy the steps along the way rather than being so worried about the destination.  No one will get out alive and unless we leave behind an amazing legacy, not many will even know we existed in another 100 years.  Taking control of our life by recognizing that this is our time can be so liberating.  When we’re in a period of feeling trapped in darkness, maybe that’s just our cocoon right before we emerge with beautiful new wings.  And that every small movement, like the flutter of a butterfly’s wing will effect the universe.  We are each so important, so loved, and so free to choose.  We are lucky.  We are alive.

 

Namaste, Angela

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Well guys, its Valentine’s Day!  No matter how that makes you feel as far as being single or having a partner goes… I hope you take some time today to self-reflect.  Looking at our relationships and really taking note of how they impact our lives.  If that’s positively- take some time to say or do something special for that person-whether its a romantic relationship or not!!  Its also a great time to think about our relationship with ourselves- do something for yourself today that makes you feel empowered.  Maybe that’s taking a bubble bath with some amazing essential oils, taking a yoga class, making a plan to get some on-sale chocolate tomorrow…. whatever it is- do it for YOU.  If you’re feeling bitter towards the holiday, maybe refocus that energy on bringing positivity into your relationship with yourself.  We can’t pour from an empty cup and we can’t depend on others to get our fill either.  It all starts within us and whatever we take in will pour out to others and come back to us as well!

My favorite Valentine’s surprise wasn’t one that I received, but rather what I was able to pull off for one of my best friends.  My friend Kristen and I rode horses together for a long time and she always wanted one of her own.  She had her mom talked into leasing a horse (keeping the horse just for a little while) for a two-year contract, but she didn’t have a horse in mind or lined up, yet.  I snuck out with our riding instructor at the time over to Milan and tried the horse out to see if she’d like him.  He was HUGE which was a plus since she’s 6 feet tall herself.. and sweet- so I knew she would love him!

We arranged for Cutter (the horse) to come to the barn, her mom had the contract signed & ready.. and I went to grab a few little gifts for him to give to her for Valentine’s Day.  He had a fresh braid in his mane and was freshly bathed to make a good first impression.  I wrapped some ribbon around the stall he was in along with a “Happy Valentine’s Day” sign on the front with some flowers asking Kristen to be his Valentine.  I walked her up to the stall and it took her FOREVER to understand that it was meant for her!  She started freaking out and thanking me (about this time her mom walked in too).  Truly the best gift is giving someone else something special.  I will never forget that moment of giving my friend her first horse and making a very special Valentine’s surprise.

Namaste, Angela