Studio Review–Indigo Yoga

Last Wednesday, I attended the 9AM class at the Indigo Yoga Studio in Davenport, IA.

I moved away from Iowa long before I began practicing yoga and before yoga had hit Iowa’s radar. So obviously, since I was back in the state visiting the family, I was compelled to check out the local yoga scene.

My primary finding was that the Quad Cities, area could benefit from a little more variety in practice styles. In general, if you wanted a yoga studio experience, Hot Yoga was your only option. Gyms, fitness centers, and the YMCA offered a wider selection but then you are missing the studio environment.

I’m not exactly sure why the studios are primarily hot yoga. Maybe there is something about the business model that I’m missing or maybe it appeals to Iowans during the long cold winter. But I suspect hot yoga was the yoga that got there first and that was that.

Since studio yoga is my thing and hot yoga was my only option, I went to hot yoga at Indigo Yoga.

The Facility

The class I attended was located in their studio at 5161 Utica Ridge Road. Indigo Yoga has several studios throughout the Quad Cities Area and offers massage services in addition to yoga classes.

The Davenport studio I visited was clean and tastefully decorated in a modern and minimalist fashion. I was slightly unsettled by the mirrored front wall in the studio as I’m not accustomed to practicing in a mirrored space. The room most likely was a dance studio before yoga came to town and the studio just kept the mirror.

The room can comfortably accommodate 30 yogis.

I rented a mat from the studio since I was traveling and hadn’t brought mine. The mat selection was a little grim.

The Instructor

My class was taught by Shannon Moran, a co-owner/co-founder of the studio. He is a 200 hour RYT with a background in Ashtanga yoga, but is really great and combining different forms of vinyasa together for a creative practice.

Studio Review: This yoga is so hot

I know I’m not alone in liking my yoga warm, hot even by some people’s standards, but believe me when I tell you that some yoga can indeed be too hot. Unfortunately, is seems impossible for the yoga industry to agree on what constitutes “too hot”.

Heat is used in yoga as a tool for creating change, both physically and intellectually.  It also softens tissues and muscles, and is thought to release toxins through sweat. Science says you are really just sweating out water and salt, but if you want to believe that you are sweating out vodka tonics and champagne, that’s fine. I certainly do.

Many modern yoga styles call for practice temperatures between 85 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit with Bikram Yoga being the exception, prescribing a temperature of 105 degrees F and 40% humidity.

So if being warm is the ideal, why in the HELL is it so hot in here??

  • To some extent, yoga instructors are at the mercy of the heating system in place at the studios where they teach. Certain heating systems can be hard to control and ventilation, or a lack of it, can be the difference between an excellent yoga experience and a horrific one.
  • Some teachers seem to forget about the temperature all together once they get rolling and only notice when the bodies start dropping.
  • Some instructors are weirdly competitive about how hot they like their yoga to be; however, there are no trophies in yoga, so cool it.
  • And then there is the personal climate preference of each and every yoga student in the room, which largely must be ignored or the yoga will never happen.

I bring all this up because I recently visited Dancing Dogs Yoga Greensboro for a power vinyasa class. I was in town for a leadership workshop and needed a yoga field trip. Dancing Dogs Yoga Greensboro is one of four Baptiste Affiliate Yoga Studios in the southeast part of the US. The other three are in Savannah, GA, Atlanta, GA, and Bluffton, SC.

But anyway, back to my yoga field trip to the Greensboro studio. Here is my Review.

The Class and Instructor

I consider myself fortunate to have visited Dancing Dogs Yoga on a day when Earl Wheeler was teaching. He is an obvious studio favorite and his class was at maximum capacity. He taught a creative and challenging power vinyasa class in the Baptiste style. Heat seems to be Earl’s “thing”; he likes it hot and humid. So, if that is a concern for you, I recommend checking with the studio before choosing your class.

Earl Wheeler

The Studio Space

This is a beautiful studio featuring two practice rooms, showers, water filtration, and retail (but not too much retail if ya know what I mean). The staff is welcoming, knowledgable, and everyone has a great attitude.

But about the heat. In my opinion, their heating system is overwhelming for the size of the practice room and the number of students in it. I realize that infrared studio heat is popular because it is thought to be healthier and more environmentally friendly, but in this case, it may need some fine tuning.

Baptiste Yoga prescribes a room temperature between 90 and 95 degrees F, but we were easily at 105-110 by the middle of the practice. I was praying for the amazing ceiling fan to come on and stay on, but it never did.

The Savanna, GA Dancing Dogs Yoga studio has a juice bar and I have to suggest that the Greensboro studio add one. A smoothie was all I could think about during the last half of Earl’s class.

The Take Away

I love to visit other yoga studios because variation in your practice is essential and it always feels so good to get back home to your studio.


This article originally published on



Studio Review: Thunderbolt Power Yoga

I have always had huge admiration for well put together southern ladies. Growing up, I spent quite a lot of time in Atlanta with family and friends and never once did the South fail to make me feel like a rough neck Yankee.

As I’ve grown and matured into a professional woman, wife, and mother I have managed to sand off many of my rougher edges; however, I still can’t rally to the idea that I can or even should aspire to the qualities of a true southern lady (no matter how desperately my mother would like me to).

Southern hospitality, cultivation of beauty, strength, grace, and excellent comportment are not in my toolbox and at 40, it is probably time for me to be okay with that. But, how or if these qualities might show up in a southern yoga studio setting didn’t occur to me until I checked in at Thunderbolt Power Yoga in Buckhead, GA.

Thunderbolt Power Yoga was established in 2014 by studio owner and operator Carly Grace Hinchman. I was in Atlanta for a work thing and on the hunt for a good power yoga class. Thunderbolt Power Yoga came highly recommended by actual yogis as well as Yelp and I heard there were several Baptiste trained instructors there, so I thought I would give it a try.

The Studio Space
This studio has a strong feminine vibe. The color palette, decor, retail area, and facilities were most certainly designed with women in mind. I mention this because I found it slightly curious; where do men in the south practice yoga? In Northern California, our studio membership is about 50/50 men and women and most studios are decidedly gender neutral when it comes to design and decor. Overall, Thunderbolt has everything a yogi could ask for including great parking and a huge selection of K Deer Activewear.

The Instructor
I attended the Heated Power Flow class led by Elizabeth Beggs (instagram: The class was well attended by students at a wide variety of levels. Elizabeth led an organized and creative flow class, which included a fun little flow from shoelace pose (yin yoga) to tripod headstand and back again. She closed the practice with cool essential oil infused towels during savasana (because southern hospitality, duh!) and an OM with a beautiful Tibetan singing bowl.

This is an excellent studio and I can’t wait to go back. Here in Northern California, we take our yoga a little more “earthy.” The feminine niceties and southern hospitality offered at Thunderbolt were what I needed so far away from home.

And yes, Mom, I did get an emergency manicure and  pedicure after I saw how nicely all those yogis were put together.

This article was originally published on

Yoga and the Medical Never Event

My career in the medical malpractice insurance industry has made me a discriminating consumer of healthcare.

As I write this, I am sitting in room 4423 at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, CA, with my husband who is three days orthopedic post-op. The surgery went as planned and was successful, as most procedures in American healthcare are. But on Tuesday morning, as I sat near the fishtanks in the surgical waiting area, I could only think about the procedures that don’t go well.

And in my line of work, those kinds of thoughts aren’t general in nature. They are incredibly specific; like what if the anesthesia alarms aren’t turned on and his oxygen levels drop, or what if there is an operating room fire, or what if they perform surgery on the wrong leg, or leave something behind in the surgical site, or infuse with the wrong blood type?

I think about the Never Events, because that is often what you see. In healthcare, a Never Event, also known as a Sentinel Event is an unanticipated event in the healthcare setting that results in the death or serious physical or psychological injury of a patient, not related to the natural course of that patient’s illness. In other words, an accident.


I had decided to enhance my enlightenment by working my way through Be Here Now by Ram Dass while my husband was in surgery.

I thought I chose this book because a graphical account of a Harvard psychologist on LSD who follows holy men through India seemed like less work than another book by B.K.S. Iyengar or Patanjali (no offense guys). But Ram Dass would say that the book was chosen for me and it was predetermined that I would read this book on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.

 “If you could stand back far enough and watch the whole process you would see YOU ARE A TOTALLY DETERMINED BEING. . . There are no accidents in this business at all.”–Ram Dass

The mention of accidents brought me back to Never Events because what this said was that the results of my husband’s surgery were already determined. By what or whom? By the law of karma.

The idea that my life could be governed by a Hindu system of cause and effect, like karma, in which my past actions, even past lives, determine my future isn’t really that far off the mark from what I was taught as a Christian. We have been “reaping what we sow”, per the Bible for hundreds of years.

But did that mean that a prayer for my husband during surgery was pointless because my husband’s karma had already determined the result and we were just waiting for “thy will to be done?” I was starting to see why so many Christian leaders are less than excited about the expansion of yoga in the West. Not to mention the fact that in Christianity, the only way for a person to receive forgiveness is through the grace of God. Karma is more of a bank accounting system based on debits and credits. But isn’t God still the bank president?

The good news is that my husband’s karma account must be pretty good, because he is just fine. There were no accidents.


This article was originally published on

Photo credit: Be Here Now; Ram Dass; From Bindu to Ojas; p.14






Hello Summer, Goodbye Beautiful Routine

It is summer, which means your kids are out of school, and for the next 2 months, your life will likely become a barely manageable hairball of summer camps, family vacations, sporting events, and mild-to-moderate childhood injuries.

And don’t think that because your kids are out of school your company or place of employment will likewise take the summer off and cease to do business. Nope, that train will keep on rolling and you have to be on it.

So no, you probably won’t be making it to your regularly scheduled yoga class or training run, or whatever fitness-related thing you do. Luckily, the internet has more than enough excellent and free fitness programming to keep us healthy until the blessed first day of school.

A personal favorite of mine is the Three Dog Yoga podcast series available on iTunes. There are 10 yoga classes you can download or stream for free. Each podcast ranges in duration from approximately 30 minutes, for a quick workout, to 90 minutes for a fuller practice.

The  audio classes are led by Anna McLawhorn, the studio owner and a registered yoga teacher with Baptist Power Yoga. She is also the director of the studio’s California Power Yoga Teacher Training Program.

Don’t worry that the practice is audio-only. Anna gives great verbal instruction on the podcasts so even someone new to yoga will understand what they should be doing.

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Fangirling at Baptiste Yoga San Francisco

I spent the last morning of my San Francisco business trip fangirling again at Baptiste Yoga San Francisco. This time I took the 9:30 Power 60 class taught by Hannah Jenkins.

I showed up on my mat feeling like hell; 3 solid days and nights of “executive retreating” had done their worst. I couldn’t tell if I was hung over or just really f’d up from too many days in a windowless conference room. But that is neither here nor there because I left Hannah’s practice feeling like myself again–NO–better than my regular self.

The Power 60 class is 60 minutes of Baptiste Power Yoga. She started the class right on time even though there were a couple of stragglers coming in a bit late. I really appreciate that. Hannah led a powerful well paced practice. She dedicate a good amount of time to supporting each student in the class and offered several great assists I hadn’t seen before.

Hanna is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher and has completed Levels 1 and 2 with Baptiste Institute.

Hannah Jenkins Baptiste Yoga SF

And now, back to the office…