Friendship Yoga

Friendship Yoga
1231 Gilbert Court
Iowa City, IA 52240


Spring 2013 Newsletter

    Friendship Yoga News       
Spring 2013

    Spring classes begin May 6th
        Try a free class Saturday, April 27th, 9-10:30am 
                For more information visit                             


                                                             Labyrinth Prairiewoods


Friendship Yoga 15th Annual Spring Retreat with Eddy Marks
at Prairiewoods Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
May 17th - May 19th, 2013 
Registration now open.



Hello friends of Friendship Yoga,

I first visited Iowa City in mid April, exactly 22 years ago. Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, the land of perpetual spring temperatures, I thought it was kind of nippy here, and needed to borrow a wool sweater from the friend I was visiting. Now, on this rather dreary April afternoon, as I sit at my desk and look out my window, I am eager for any signs that spring is truly here and that I won’t be disappointed by a late cold snap or a snow. The daffodils seem optimistic as they are popping up in my yard, but I am still wearing my wool sweater.

The Spring class schedule is now available on and classes will begin the week of May 6th. I will be teaching a free class on Saturday, April 27th from 9-10:30 am. Please spread the word. Your support is vital and greatly appreciated.

This winter in the upper level classes, sirsasana (headstand) has been our “ target” pose. (Last year it was parivrtta trikonasana (revolved triangle pose). Every week I have taught some new way of studying sirsasana by introducing a means of support (prop) which promotes the correct and necessary actions which the arms, shoulders, torso, and legs can and must do in order to safely balance. “Action” is an important Iyengar term. Movement is what you do to come into or out of a pose. You bend sideways in utthita trikonasana (triangle pose). Movements are big and obvious. Actions are subtle; they require focus and develop concentration. Every action has an effect. When I press my heels down, my quadriceps contract and my legs become firm, straight, and feel strong. Actions form a continuum connecting all the parts of the body, and penetrate inward to the organs, the nerves, the mind, emotions and to the deepest layers of our being. This is the core of the Mr. Iyengar’s teaching and why the Iyengar method is so much more than exercise, a workout, or physical therapy. To practice Iyengar yoga you have to think, as well as reflect. The changes are subtle and take time. It is profound, intelligent, and life changing.

However, for beginners, it can just seem really challenging!  I  recall at the end of my first class about 25 years ago, feeling a bit stunned by what I had just experienced. I felt better than I did when I started the class and impressed that everyone  in the room seemed to be planning on coming back the next week. Frankly if there hadn’t been this cute guy in the class who chatted with me afterwards, I probably wouldn’t have come back! But lucky for me, he talked me into it. The other thing that floored me at the end of my first class was that the teacher was promoting a weekend retreat. I remember thinking …. “A whole weekend of this? ??? I don’t know about that.”

Well, 25+ years since my first Iyengar yoga class, here we are about to embark on the……

15th Annual Friendship Yoga/Prairiewoods Spring Retreat!!!! May 17 -19th, 2013

And I want you to come!!!!  Eddy Marks will be returning and you can be the beneficiary of his vast wealth of knowledge about yoga, anatomy, kinestheology, Iyengar lore, India, orchids, building houses, travel, cooking , not to mention his puppy like enthusiasm for life. One of the nice things about a workshop is that there is lots of  time for discussion and questions, and you will get some personal attention from an expert teacher. You will also have free time to read, draw, socialize or do nothing!

Prairiewoods is an Iowa treasure. It is beautiful, peaceful, and convenient. Every year we arrive to find interesting new projects going on, initiated by the dedicated staff and volunteers. Scholarships to the retreat are available thanks to the Maitri Yoga Education Fund. I am extending the scholarship deadline to April 19th. Please email for an application. Otherwise, everything you need to know is on



                                     Eddy's last visit to Prairiewoods was May, 2011

This will be my third year at the Friendship Yoga / Prairiewoods Yoga Retreat and I am very excited because the ground is ripe for significant progress which this weekend of deep study provides.

Building on the foundation that I have developed from attending weekly classes, the concentration and focus of the weekend of yoga with a senior teacher always bring more purpose to my practice when I return home.  This year I will be working towards 3 defined goals:  embracing the transformative power of Yoga, mastering Parsvotanasana and enjoying Sirsasana.

I attended a previous retreat with Eddy Marks, and I am delighted he will be teaching again this year. He has a very strong presence, is warm and friendly, and extremely passionate about the subject of yoga which I find both stimulating and highly motivating.  During the breaks between classes and meals (which are healthy and delicious!), when walking the trails, or sitting by myself or with others, I have found the surroundings of Prairiewoods to be calming and I become more contemplative than my normal life permits.

I can't wait!
                                                                            Mercedes Costoyas Perret

"Yoga enables the practitioner to perceive and experience the world within and around himself , to touch the divine joy of all creation, and then to share that nectar of divine wealth and happiness with his fellow beings". 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 BKS Iyengar



  "...The teacher has to be able to not only stand on her head, but think on her feet, as well..."
John Schumacher, Senior Iyengar Teacher