Yoga- its not just for women!

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

It comes as no surprise that most of our classes are filled by women, BUT we are so grateful to see more & more men enjoying yoga & barre the studio!  We wanted to dedicate this blog to the dudes of Backwards Yoga- we take it as a huge compliment that men & women of all ages feel at home in the studio.  Many of the men who come into the studio are working on life balance (aren’t we all?!) with other workouts & stressors.  We all feel life’s tension manifest as stiffness in the body, lack of focus, and loss of awareness as to how we’re actually feeling.  Many guys shy away from “feelings” chat, but we see it as another facet of our health that we’re proud to offer a space in which anyone can explore.

Yoga has benefits for every body and helps us keep our muscles & minds healthy.  Some of our male yogis have tough workout routines that include running, cross-fit, weight lifting, martial arts, etc. and use yoga as a way to give back to their muscles after building up strength.  Keeping a balance in our body between flexibility & strength means less injuries/time off/loss of progress during other workout routines.  As with our ladies- many of the guys use yoga as a stress-reliever and time for themselves (yes, dudes need self-care too!).  Keeping the peace at home & within ourselves means taking the time to fill our cup before we’re expected to “pour” into other people throughout the week.

No matter if you’re a weekly yoga attendee, daily practitioner, or anywhere in-between- you can expect to be embraced for who you are at Backwards Yoga.  We’re here to help you reach your unique goals within your individual body.  Each class holds opportunities for your personal growth & we’re proud to offer that to everyone!

Eliminate Joint Pain with a Foam Wedge

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

Have you ever dealt with wrist pain in yoga?  How about knee pain in tabletop pose?  Or maybe you’re SO close to touching your heels to your mat in down dog, but you’re not quite there?  You might be the perfect candidate for adding a yoga wedge into your practice!


Check out these fun props at the Backwards Yoga studio that might be the missing piece to furthering your yoga practice!  Whether its providing more cushion, a better angle for your wrists, a leg up in down dog, or many other variations- the foam wedge might be your answer.  We LOVE props like blocks & straps- but the foam wedge cannot be substituted with anything else.  It is a total GAME CHANGER for those of you who might feel stuck due to a setback like wrist pain.  These are safe & effective tools to incorporate into your yoga practice.


Get on your mat today & namaste!


Starting Your Day with an Intention

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

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.

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

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!

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi


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?)

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

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

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

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

By Yoga Sequences

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!

By Life Inspiration from a Yogi

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
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…