Monday, November 28, 2011

To You... My Class Intention & Salutation

Feast on Gratitude... that has been my intention this past weekend.  To give thanks and praise for all the blessings that I experience with every moment.

Near the beginning of class, after our time of pranayama (breath exercise) & centering, I invite all to "bring to mind your intentions for yourselves and others."  I share that an intention is like a prayer or positive affirmation.  As I set my intention for others, I ask that class be an opportunity for growth for those gathered.  That the needs of each individual be met in a way that serves their highest good.

In closing class, we extend the salutation Namaste, meaning the light in me honors the light in you.  As I bow, I extend this salutation to the class gathered, my teachers, healers, friends, family and the divine.  You can read more about the meaning of this salutation in this article by Yoga Journal.

I share this with you on the foot of Thanksgiving so that you may know that this holiday is not the only day I celebrate your essence.  It is with every class I honor you and give thanks to the divine for what you share with me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Thoughts On... Yoga Videos

Let me clarify my opinion about practicing yoga with videos. I believe yoga should take into account your body's abilities, limitations and experiences. Videos do not necessarily address everyone's needs and weaknesses. However, a video is useful when the practitioner or viewer has enough basic knowledge of yoga and their body to make adaptations or variations according to his or her needs. So long as the yoga practitioner or viewer listens to his or her body, a video or CD may prove to be helpful.

Unfortunately, I have found individuals that have used yoga videos are discouraged. There are so many types yoga and teaching methods that it is costly to sample yoga DVDs. People end up throwing in the hat before finding a video or series they enjoy.

If you do find a video or CD that you enjoy and meets your needs, remember to find balance in your practice.  Even though yoga is about balance... doing the same practice, the same way over and over again will create or further current imbalances.  Mix it up and have fun with your practice.

As always I encourage you to practice yoga by checking in with your body to see what is congested or uncomfortable. Allow your practice to unfold releasing congestion by practicing one or more poses from the different categories - forward bend, backbend, inversion, standing, balance, twists, etc.  Don't hesitate to pause the video or CD to add your own pose or sequence.  Feel free to substitute poses for what it is suggesting.

Remember it is YOUR practice.  Ultimately honor your needs.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving... A Celebration of Life

Thanksgiving 2007 I embarked on a journey that would change my life.  Just a short four years ago, I was living my life from the couch.  I resigned from my 60+ hour a week job and could barely stay upright for the 20 hour a week position I transferred to.  My evenings and weekends were spent in pain and severe exhaustion.

You know me now as the gal that does yoga and hikes all the time.  Back then I was different.  I didn't hike for over a year and there was very little if any yoga in my routine.  I was an ashen color with thirty more pounds and very little muscle.  More often than not, I was covered in rashes and had some infection or virus you didn't want to catch.  As you can imagine this illness affected my entire life.

There is one consolation in being sick... 
the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.
-Henry David Thoreau

With that quote in mind and hope in my heart, I found wellness through food. The week of Thanksgiving I changed what I ate - everything I ate.  I began eating the green things and all sorts of things that smelled and had weird textures.  I found legumes - not just beans in chili.  I discovered nuts & seeds.  These things made me feel better.  They fueled my hope for life off the couch.

After exhausting so many other possibilities, it was what I ate everyday that gave me life.  It was food that set me free.  Many of my current food choices are because of that Thanksgiving hope from four years ago.  When I talk about food and its healing abilities, it's because I've experience it first hand.  I don't just advocate for a "healthy" diet; I strive to share and inspire you to discover for yourself the healing potential in your grocery store and farmer's market.

Thanksgiving is a time to gather and celebrate harvest... the fruits of life.  For the second year, my celebration will be a gluten-free, vegan celebration.  Continuing many of my choices from Thanksgiving 2007 and the additional release of gluten and dairy 3.5 years ago, I am excited to join friends for my favorite holiday.

This Thanksgiving... I celebrate life, relationships, farmers, choice, knowledge and food - whole food (not that chemical stuff).  I am truly grateful for all that I am and am able to be.  I am grateful to those around me and the gifts they share.  I am grateful for you.

I am grateful.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Through the Eyes of a Child... A Strong Pose

A very chilly Saturday morning at Gray's Lake I shared yoga with Noah, a wise eight-year-old.  After demonstrating the Downward Noah Pose, which looked very similar to Downward-Facing Dog, he shared that he wasn't a fan of the the speed of which the teacher lead us through the poses.  Noah said, "I just couldn't get strong in my pose.  I needed more time."

He had captured a lesson that takes many yogis months or even years to realize, if they even realize it at all.  Our practice is not one of productivity.  We don't step on the mat to see how many poses we can do and how many benefits we can attain.  We practice yoga in an effort to find balance.  Of course, there are many ways to accomplish this and types of balance we may look for and each day is different.  Regardless, balance is often achieved with time.

As I was driving home from an outdoor retreat, I thought about my conversation with Noah some more.  I had been saying very similar things to myself... "I'm just not feeling strong."  It was his words that resonated with me... I need more time.  My emotions were scattered and my body striving to catch up.  He was right I just needed more time to find my balance.  With breath and the affirmation that I am strong, time gave me what I had been searching for... balance.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Emotional Shield Softens

Our clothes shield our physical bodies... what about our emotional body?  How do we hide that which we feel so deeply?  Maybe the better question is... why?

I'm in the midst of a divorce... hoping it will be final before the new year.  Through this two year journey, I have been on an extreme emotional roller-coaster.  I can see the positive that has come from this relationship ending.  I honor my growth as a woman, a friend and a lover.  I also embrace those emotions that I wish I never felt... anger, sadness, despair, unworthiness, fear and deep sorrow.  Oh but to express these to another... makes me feel guilty, even ashamed.  The thought that I may bring the other person down by sharing my "negativity" stops me or causes hesitation.  

What has surprised me most in this journey... when I let down my guard... when I share how I feel... that is when I truly open to love, my vulnerability becomes strength.  By authentically expressing myself, I give others an opportunity to truly be my friend not just the person I chat with here and there.

I am honoring my truth and have allowed my voice to be heard.  This has not been an easy task but one that I continue to work on.  My emotional body may never release its guard completely but it has found space... my spirit free.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things I learned from... The Mat

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Pain is not a part of yoga... sweet discomfort is ok but not necessary.

It is not the destination but the journey that illuminates.

Perspective and purpose guide you to a place of right or wrong.

Space can be found around and within.

Self love can become love for others.

Breathe deeply.

Honor yourself and those around you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Bubble of Protection

A helpful action in protecting your energy is affirming your bubble this can be done quickly or with lots of time.  It is a great practice that helps block the body, mind, and spirit from taking in negative energy.

I encourage you to take a few moments with breath to focus and find that place of presence or meditation.  Embrace your body with a flexible bubble.  Don't forget to cover your entire body including the bottom's of your feet and top of your head. Affirm that this shield will let white light or good energy in and out as well as stop negative energy from coming in. This is great to do everyday and especially before entering a known toxic environment.

At the end of the day or after a challenge experience, brush off your bubble.  You can even shake off the stuff that may have gotten stuck.  Be sure to indulge in activities that strengthen your innate ability to stay grounded a midst chaos.

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Teach or Facilitate?

A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves. 
-Terri Guillemets

You may hear me say that I like to teach not facilitate class.  I do not qualify my class by the number of people that gather.  In fact, I prefer a smaller group.  At times, when "teaching" a larger class I am limited on how personalized I can make the entire practice for those gathered.  It is at those times I find myself facilitating or "dancing" on my mat.  I feel free and excited to have a smaller group, because I am truly given the opportunity to teach.  I can cater the practice to the individuals' needs without watering down the class.

It is from this perspective that I see a student's growth.  Yes, there is growth in physical ability but more so growth in space, freedom and reduced limitations in the student's mind, body and spirit.  I aim to provide you the opportunity to pose for yourself.  To be in touch with and honor your needs on and off the mat.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Passionate Life

A friend recently asked me if he was holding me back. Surprised, I asked from what. His response, from living. This spurred my meditation of what it means to live. For me, to be mindful of the world & all its beauty... feel the wind... See the stars... play on the earth... listen to a friend... share smiles... embrace ALL experiences, emotions and others... that is what it means to live. To him I responded, I am happily enjoying.

I have been diving into my passions and the cool part - others have shared that they are receiving the benefits of my taking time to feed my spirit. I feel alive and inspired. So with this I ask... What is your passion? What makes your heart sing? Is it an activity, a cause or a dream? When was the last time you did something that made you feel energized and filled with joy?

You'll know something is your passion, because you light up when you talk about it. It may keep you up late at night. Once you start playing with your passion you may not stop so easily. You'll feel alive when you are in touch with your passion.

It is my hope that you take a moment to reconnect with your passion... remember you can do so in small as well as big ways. Of course, let me know if you would like to explore your passion in conversation with me. I LOVE to have these talks.  Would love to share my passion with you at class soon.

With love and light

Inspiration for the Journey

Rock out who you really are in your heart...for those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. -John Friend

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. -Hafiz of Persia

Yoga Nidra
Unfortunately, we may fall into a state of productivity and our passion driven activities become to dos. This place where even in the process of exploring our passion, we become complacent or void of satisfaction. This is often a sign that we may need to step back and take a deep breath from everything - including our passion. I encourage you to try Yoga Nidra. It allows us to free ourselves from stress, anxiety and fear. With this practice you will find deep within an inner radiance and deeper awareness independent of anything else.

I express my authentic self.

I fearlessly express my heart's desire.

I choose to give all the events of my life an empowering meaning.

My joy is a great gift I share with others.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things I learned from... Crystal

It's not what you wear but how your light shines that others find beautiful.

Be fearless in the kitchen.

Gifts multiply when used with another's.

I deserve to feel bliss.

A hug is better spent with breath.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Things I Learned From... My Buddy

Be present in all relationships.

Intention of an action defies words & definitions.

Laugh at yourself and each other.

The eyes say it all.

Love need not be verbalized to be shared or deeply felt.

Ask for what you want.

Be authentically you.

You deserve good things.

Never hesitate.

Friendship bridges age and distance.

A good story... well we share one.

Dreams do come true.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Things I learned from... My Vacation with Allie

If a Cunningham girl gets cranky
  1. Feed her
  2. Feed her again
  3. Then feed her chocolate or ice cream -- better if combined
  4. She'll then be in a good place to discuss
Activities are unnecessary for fun.  (Sometimes a lil food is all you need.)

Don't mess with Allie's coat.

Fabio lives in Dubuque.

Food is high priority... may be the only priority.

I drive the way I live... no set path... led by heart and last minute turns.

Loud music and food are the only requirements.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Names & Noogies

One of the most endearing words a person will hear is their own name. You name does not carry with it expectations nor does it limit you. Your name is not a definition but an invitation to be authentically you.

I have been called many things most recently sweetie pie and buddy to several variations of my legal name... Lynny, Lynn, Nynny, Lynn Marie and Lynrd Skynrd -this one came with noogies. Many close to me have seen my face light up when I hear my full name - Lynn Marie. As I continue this journey, I invite all of you to use my birth name Lynn Marie.

In an effort to solve a few of my technological challenges, I am using a new email Please add this to your address book so that you may still receive my newsletters and any other communication. You may also find me on Google Talk - LynnMarie.Cunningham and Twitter LynnMarie_C.

As always, I have included many ideas for living and learning within this newsletter. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I hope to see you at a group class this October or for a private session.

May you be present to the beauty of change that surrounds

Words of Intention

Our lifestyle is made up of choices. From the food we eat to the words we use, they all have a rippling affect in our lives and those around us. The next challenge is to be intentional with the words you choose - spoken, written and thought. Take the following into consideration:
  • Be Positive
  • Choose To vs. Have To/Can't
  • Want To vs. Have To
  • Can vs. Can't
  • Choice vs. Should
  • Want vs. Don't Want
For example, I am allergic to dairy and gluten. You will rarely hear me say, "I can't have that." I would more likely say, "I choose not to eat that." Another example, I explained to Crystal (my dear friend) a challenge I was having at work. She observed the language I was using and found me consistently using "don't want." Bringing this to my attention, she encouraged me to identify and put my energy (thought and action) to what I DO want.

I challenge you to use your words - spoken, written and in thought - with intention for your greatest good and that of others.
Delicious Recipes
Maple Sunbutter Apple Dip (vegan)

Roasted Vegetable & Quinoa Salad

Zesty Black Bean Soup

Interesting Articles
Top Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products - This article clearly lays out what ingredients have become common in the products we use daily and why we should avoid them. Don't hesitate to talk to me about great alternative products free from the icky chemicals.

200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms - All in a name? But what if you don't understand? This glossary is a great resource to bookmark. Not only does it define language common to yoga, it links to valuable articles and other tools.

Yoga Demystified - The Six Big Ideas - Yoga philosophy is sublimely simple, profound, and livable. Yet it can be difficult to grasp because of its unfamiliar language and complex history. This article shares the depth our yoga practice strives to reach.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be You & Shine

Don't be perfect
Be you
Don't be what you think they want you to be
Be what you know you are
Don't look outside yourself for anythingIt's all within.

-Jackson Kiddard, author

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze that it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

-Jack London, London was an American author who wrote The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea Wolf along with many other popular books

Mindfulness & Meditation

Our yoga practice invites us to practice mindfulness - often equated with meditation. To meditate is to be fully present - not lost in the past or stuck in the future. In being mindful or meditating, we tune into our own experience through observation without judgment, fear or attachment. This enables us to recognize our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, reactions, habits, environment, etc. We can then identify benefits, patterns or correlations.

I challenge you to take your mindfulness practice off the mat. Below are a couple guided meditations that may assist you in journey to living in the present.

         Meditation w/ Anusara Yogi Bridget Woods Kramer

         Jack Kornfield Body Meditation

One Throat to Choke

It is true, one of my job titles is One Throat to Choke aka IT Systems Security. In addition to teaching yoga and running my Illuminate "business", I work in the information technology department at the West Des Moines office for INTL FCStone - a company of 1000 employees in 32 offices located throughout the world. There are only a handful of people that have administrative rights to a software system that controls access to the entire company's technology network. One wrong keystroke or misplaced character and the company goes down. The COO wants One Throat to Choke - that is mine & my colleague's.

Why do I share this? Well, many people assume that as a yoga teacher I lead this easy-going, no stress kind of life. That is hardly the case. With 40 hours in the office, an hour commute plus my own business, I utilize my yoga to find balance and connect with peace. What I share with you, is what I am learning. What has helped me navigate the trail of life.

Do you need some "YOU TIME"? A little break from work, the to dos and relationship demands... time to relax and reconnect with your spirit, body and mind? Perhaps a retreat is just what you need to nourish your body and soul. I find it essential to retreat... to step away from "daily life" for reflection, study or instruction. Having facilitated retreats for over 11 years I am thrilled to offer you an opportunity to retreat. I encourage you to give yourself a day to explore your yoga practice and connect with others at Illuminate You A Yoga Retreat Sunday, September 18 at Lake Ahquabi (early bird registration rate ends September 8).

There are many ideas enclosed in this newsletter to help you reconnect with you inner peace. Let me know if you have any questions. The September schedule is available for you to download. All in attendance are invited to look with a fresh eye and curiosity at the infinite possibilities that yoga offers our lives. Yoga is the practice of balance - mind, body, and spirit not just physical movement. The benefits of yoga are waiting for you, let's take advantage together.

Recipes & Articles

Delicious Recipes
Stir-Fried Cabbage with Red Chile Peppers, Peanuts, and Peas - packed full of flavor & easy to make... serve alone or with rice

Two Bean Vegetarian Chili

Interesting Articles
Yin & Yang of Fitness - The Best of Both Worlds - many cutting-edge coaches and trainers are moving away from the "all-intensity, all-the-time" model and toward a more integrated approach that blends the best of two worlds. Call it yin-yang fitness: Integrative exercise programs that combine the mind-body awareness often associated with "Eastern" methods with a more physical go-hard-or-go-home "Western" approach to build whole-person fitness from the inside out.

Addiction to Sugar is No Joke - Sugar stimulates some of the same neurotransmitters as, and in a manner similar to, alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs of abuse.

Extra Sensory Perceptions - Neurologists and others who study perception have long disagreed on the number of senses we possess to help us navigate our way through life.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You Are Invited

Mother Nature is hosting Yoga on the Lawn Sunday, August 14 at 9am and I am teaching. This free yoga class is in West Des Moines on the lawn between City Hall (4200 Mills Civic Parkway) and the pond. All are welcome. Can't make it but would still like to get outside, check out this blog for some tips on the best hiking and camping in Iowa.

My second retreat of the summer is quickly approaching - Sunday, September 18. Illuminate You: A Journey through the Chakras is an opportunity to relax and play. Remember this retreat is set up in a way that you choose what you particpate in. From reiki to meditation and hiking to paddle boarding, you can retreat from the world with relaxing and or energizing activities. Early bird registration ends August 31. I encourage you to give yourself the gift of a retreat. You deserve it.

For those of you still wondering... Olivia's (my five-year-old sister & future yoga teacher) favorite yoga pose this year is Extended Big Toe Pose. Unfortunately, Yoga in the Park was cancelled but for the few of us gathered in the rain we did the pose. Olivia, true to form, told me my leg had to go higher... "higher, Nynny". Oh boy, she's a tough teacher!

Teaching yoga is my passion. I love working with you to affirm your own strength and balance. The benefits of our time together are more than I can begin to share. I see you and your bodies transform... it's amazing! Yet I see some of us stray from the practice. Please know that no matter how long it has been you always have a space in class. I share from my heart on and off the mat. It is from this place of love that I extend the invitation for you to meet me on the mat.

Yoga will strengthen and stretch the muscles in your body while relaxing and rejuvenating your mind. All exercise levels are welcome to participate. I hope to see you in West Des Moines or Lake Ahquabi for the retreat or at another class soon. Feel free to contact me with any questions. I can be reached at 515-979-6474.

Start with You

Who you are and what you do creates a ripple effect. As we extend the closing salutation Namaste we honor this in each other. In addition to the article on the ripple effect I highly recommend this blog post Live Your Purpose, Not Your Fears.

For your bellly, 11 Healthy, Tasty No-Cook Recipes for Cool Summer Meals

For your reflection, from author Jackson Kiddard
          I prayed for change, so I changed my mind.
          I prayed for guidance and learned to trust myself.
          I prayed for happiness and realized I am not my ego.
          I prayed for peace and learned to accept others unconditionally.
          I prayed for abundance and realized my doubt kept it out.
          I prayed for wealth and realized it is my health.
          I prayed for a miracle and realized I am the miracle.
          I prayed for a soul mate and realized I am the One.
          I prayed for love and realized it's always knocking, but I have to allow it in.

Gift of Yoga

Meditation Can Be Better than Pain Pills

What Science Can Teach Us About Flexibility - Great article. Definitely worth the time to read.

Have you ever felt that quivering feeling in yoga... your legs or arms begin to shake... this short Q&A might be interesting to you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Natural... Benefits

Natural Resources
Skin Deep Cosmetic Database - provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market

Scotch Naturals - Non-Toxic Nail Polish that I LOVE!!

Health Benefits
Yoga Lowers Cholesterol & Body Fat

Meditation Eases Hot Flashes

Yoga Benefits for the Heart

Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR) is useful for relaxing your body when your muscles are tense. The idea behind PMR is that you tense up a group of muscles so that they are as tightly contracted as possible. Hold them in a state of extreme tension for a few seconds. Then, relax the muscles to their previous state. Finally, consciously relax the muscles even further so that you are as relaxed as possible.

By tensing your muscles first, you will probably find that you are able to relax your muscles more than would be the case if you tried to relax your muscles directly.

Experiment with PMR by forming a fist, and clenching your hand as tight as you can for a few seconds. Then relax your hand to its previous tension, and then consciously relax it again so that it is as loose as possible. You should feel deep relaxation in your hand muscles.

Strength & Courage

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
-Winston Churchill

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
-Hermen Hesse, was a Nobel Prize winning German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter.

Quick & Easy Ideas

Rub your Hoku. Your "hoku" is that flap of skin on your palm that connects your pointer finger to your thumb. It's also an acupressure spot related to upper body tension that, when squeezed, can minimize stress by up to 39%-- that's according to scientists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Extend your Exhale. An exhale that is slightly (one to three counts) longer than your inhale will induce a relaxation response in your body.

Share your Smile. Smoke & mirrors not needed when you smile. A smile boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, releases yummy endorphins, relieves stress and is contagious. And for a deep belly laugh check out DamnYouAutoCorrect - not for children.

Smoke & Mirrors

A couple things before I share the smokes & mirrors... First, I am super excited to be teaching 300+ yogis at Yoga in the Park this Saturday and would love to see you (& introduce you to my almost 5 yr old sister - a yoga teacher in her own rights)!

Next, I had to laugh when I checked the statistics of one of my newsletters... the link you all clicked the most... Morning Mojitos. I'm guessing many of you were surprised (and maybe disappointed) to see no alcohol in the recipe. Well this time I raise a glass and share a Red Sangria recipe I think you will enjoy. Cheers!

All too often I hear about the need for flexibility in order to "do yoga". When really the smoke and mirrors of yoga is the balance between strength and softness. I know you have seen that gal doing an incredible pose ... and with a smile. What you don't see is the muscle power behind the pose. I see it everyday in my classes and on my own mat, strength opens the door to flexibility... never the other way around. What still amazes me is the surprise and shock I see in you when you complete an action that seemed so impossible. You have the strength and therefore the ability to do so much more than you can even imagine! I believe in you!

Remember I said it is with a balance of strength and softness we practice yoga. If we over contract our muscles or bring unnecessary tension into the body, we end up holding ourselves back. We become rigid. Can you see how the lesson extends off the mat?

I have encountered several major life challenges the past 18 months and have taken the opportunity to explore this balance of strength and softness. You may have seen the strength and at times you may have witnessed the softer side. Whatever you have seen, I want you to know that you undoubtedly have shared with me wisdom, love and friendship. The many gifts you have shared fuel me to journey with grace. It is with a soft heart that I extend my gratitude to you.

Yoga in the Park

Lynn DuBord & Olivia Cunningham in Lotus
My beautiful, little sister Olivia shared with us that when she grows up she wants to be a yoga teacher. It is with great joy that I extend an invitation to celebrate her 5th birthday with free yoga. Each year I share her favorite pose with the group gathered at Yoga in the Park. In 2010 Warrior II & 2009 Dead Bug. What will it be this year?

Join 300+ yogis including Olivia, as I teach the free community yoga class 9am Saturday, July 23. This class will be held under the canopy of trees in the Southeast Corner of Gray's Lake Des Moines. All levels of experience are welcome. For additional information follow this link.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Find Relaxation at Work

Give yourself a little break during the work day... Perhaps close your eyes and visualize the beautiful place in nature that you feel most at peace. Enjoy your breath as you immerse yourself in this visualization. Recall how you experience this place with all of your senses. For a little extra fun you can do office stretches or give yourself an ear massage.

A Hug

A hug is a universal medicine, it is how we handshake from the heart. - Anonymous

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Free Yoga for the Community

Mother Nature hosts several free community yoga classes this summer in the Des Moines area.

9am Saturdays Yoga in the Park - North entrance of Gray's Lake

9am Sundays Yoga on the Lawn
North Lawn Between Pond & West Des Moines City Hall (4200 Mills Civic Parkway WDM)

No registration needed; just bring your mat and join any Saturday or Sunday June through September. Classes are taught by volunteer yoga instructors.

Mark your calendars... Lynn DuBord will be serving as a volunteer for both programs.
9am Sunday, June 12 - North Lawn Between Pond & WDM City Hall (4200 Mills Civic Parkway)
9am Saturday, July 23 - North Entrance of Gray's Lake
9am Sunday, August 14 - North Lawn Between Pond & WDM City Hall (4200 Mills Civic Parkway)

Contact me if you wish to serve as the student on the platform.

Additional outdoor community class... Yoga on the Library Lawn 11:15am-Noon Tuesdays & Saturdays from May 24-September at the downtown West lawn of the Public Library.

Align Everyday

Bring our alignment cues to everyday activities...The connection we make with our bodies on the mat will influence the way you move off the mat. However, some of the alignment cues may present more of a challenge to you than others. Practice will bring better body positioning off the mat and into your life. Try it in the grocery store line, on your walk, seated at the computer or wherever else you may spend time.
Alignment cues to play with:
  • Root all four corners of your feet into the Earth
  • Widen your sits bones
  • Tuck your tailbone
  • Pull your floating ribs in and spread out
  • Lengthen your side body
  • Firm your shoulder blades flat on your back
  • Lengthen the back of your neck
  • Don't forget to breath!
The above cues are the basic elements of every single yoga pose standing, seated, reclined or even upside down. The June 26 retreat, Align with Nature, will give you the foundation and challenge to explore those actions.

Cook & Eat with Intention

I cooked a dish for Mother's Day and my almost 5-year-old sister says, "Did you put some love in it?" That is exactly what cooking with intention is all about. Whether it is taking time to bless the food before you eat or cutting/stirring the ingredients with peace or sprinkling in a little love, let's cook and eat with intention.

Here are some flavor packed (& healthy) recipes you may want to try:

Tangy Citrus Lemonade
Morning Mojito
Sweet Potato & Lentil Packet (great for the grill)
20 Vegetable Side Dishes
Cashew Chipotle "Cheese" Dip

Links for You

Yoga Alliance, What Have You Done For Us Lately? - Explains some of the many reasons I choose not to submit my certification registration although I have met all of the requirements.

Your Doctor May Love Yoga

Goldilocks Position - optimal position for health.

Love & Exercise

Approach love & cooking with reckless abandon. -Unknown

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.  -Edward Stanley

Meat & Potatoes Yoga

You read the subject correctly... meat & potatoes yoga. I am talking about the nitty gritty of how we can best move our bodies. You guessed it - alignment. After reading this "tell it like it is" blog post or rant to yoga teachers, I was inspired to dive deeper into teaching alignment rather than facilitating a yoga class.

Alignment is a big component in my classes and will especially be so in the June 26 yoga retreat. This is an opportunity for you to learn or refine your postures in a way that most benefits you as well as to get away from the "busy-ness" of life. You will leave this retreat replenished, energized and excited about yoga. The first five people to register receive $5 off; use the coupon codefirstfive.

Many of you know I am a firm believer of getting the most out of every moment and choice. I know that I want to get as many of the benefits I can out of every move I make or food I eat. I assume this to be true for you as well. Unfortunately this is not how we are taught. All too often I hear people whine about not "making progress" in fitness or weight goals. The problem is usually very clear... the individual is doing "maintenance" movements rather than "progressive" exercise. For example going on a 30 minute walk 3 times a week is great for maintaining health but more than likely will not enable you to drop 10 pounds.

Combining the best methods to build strength and increase cardiovascular fitness Fit Walks are an opportunity to get outside and "progressively" exercise. I have a class in Des Moines as well as Indianola and as always am happy to put together a private or small group class at your convenience. 

This newsletter is packed with useful information. Please contact me if you have any questions or want to learn more. I hope to see you this June.

peace & love,
Lynn DuBord

PS It has been brought to my attention that my email acts up... please never hesitate to give me a call. Assume I did not get your message - that it may have gotten lost in e-space. I will always respond to an email or phone call.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Uncomplicate Wellness

I am dedicated to helping others and uncomplicating wellness. You CAN feel good and look good too! I believe in holistic approaches to health and am passionate about personalizing methods based on your needs. We can always find a time to get together in person or over the phone to brainstorm solutions for your life or wellness challenges.

One of the best programs I am apart of is Illuminate Challenge. Every person participates looking for different benefits, and they all complete the program with their various needs met. It truly meets you where you are.

This weekend I am finishing my third session and am happy to announce I will be offering this program in Des Moines starting March 13 at The Family Tree. I would love to work with you, your friends or family members to help you achieve your wellness goals.

As always I am available to arrange a private Illuminate Challenge or other activity (retreat, yoga, etc.). Please contact me to discuss your opportunities.

Don't forget to RSVP if you plan to attend this evening's sound meditation. Meditation is at 7pm Wednesday, February 16; RSVP by 6pm with a call, text or email.

You are empowered by choice... on and off the mat.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Local Yoga Events

February 4-6
Christy Burnett
Shakti Yoga Shop

April 14-15
Desiree Rumbaugh
Shakti Yoga Shop

April 14-16
Judith Hanson Lasater
Green Yoga House

May 15
Spring Yoga Conference
Jester ParkFamily Tree Yoga

June 26
Illuminate You: A Yoga Retreat through the Chakras
Lake Ahquabi
Illuminate Yoga + Natural Solutions

September 18
Illuminate You: A Yoga Retreat
Lake Ahquabi
Illuminate Yoga + Natural Solutions

Connect with Your Heart

Here are some ideas you may find helpful in connecting with your heart and spirit
  • Place your hand on your heart and take five deep breaths.
  • Free write for five minutes about a passion of yours.
  • Stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eyes. Say I love you.
I encourage you to take some time to truly connect with your heart.


Love is the magic potion that gives us our wings.
                                                             - Sonia Choquette

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
                                                                                        - Thomas Merton

Be Good to Your Heart

Office Stretches - great poses you can do at the office or anywhere

54 Health Conditions Benefited by Yoga w/ Scientific References

Be You - great reminder and tips on how to be our best selves

Reverse Your Heart Disease in 28 Days - Dr. Oz shares lifestyle tips that help those with or preventing heart dises... included is yoga to stop the heart from spasming and make the arteries more elastic

Love & Be Loved

At the wise age of four and a half, my little sister, Olivia tells me "Nynny, feel my heart." In the midst of a rowdy game of charades, I placed my hand on her tiny chest. Not only could I feel the beat of her heart, I could feel love radiating from her little body.

Living so fully in the present moment, she reminds me to connect with my heart and not to lose sight of others sharing love with me. What truly amazes me is her willingness to open her heart to share and receive love.

It is with love that I share my excitement about my next Yoga Retreat offerings. Mark your calendars for June 26 and September 18. Each retreat will give you an opportunity unite your mind, body and spirit. I am also available to organize private group or individual retreats.

This month is saturated with ideas on how to express love. I invite you to connect with your heart to find the way most suitable to you. And don't forget to allow love in.

with an open heart