Max Strom Returns to the Heartland

Born with severe clubbed feet, Max Strom spent much of the first six years of his life with his feet confinedMaxStrom-HeadshotWeb23 in plaster casts and braces. Today, he is known for inspiring and impacting the lives of his students and has become a global teacher, speaker, and author. He has taught tens of thousands of students, and trained over a thousand teachers. Max’s method, Inner Axis, teaches yoga from a universal platform that addresses the internal, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our life, as well as health and well being.  He is the author of, There is No APP for Happiness, and also, A Life Worth Breathing, which is now published in five languages. He is also the creator of two home practice DVDs.

Watch his TEDx talk, There is No App for HappinessMax Strom TEDx

Reserve tickets NOW. Workshops in Des Moines January 29-30

Friday January 29th 5:30-7:30 Location: Jasper Winery
Vital Life-Better Sleep: Stress management

This workshop deals directly with the modern plague of sleeplessness and stress.  In America, the Center for Disease Control has declared sleep disorder an epidemic, and this is happening in industrial cities across the world.  This workshop will help you re-think your priorities and give you knowledge to take home with you to help you sleep and live more at ease. This workshop begins with a lecture, then moves into a gentle restorative sequence of postures and gentle movement that immediately trigger deep relaxation. Simple, powerful accessible. Max will give you knowledge to take home with you to help you live more at ease with improved sleep.  All levels are welcome. Bring writing materials.

Saturday January 30th 10:00-12:00 Location: Jasper Winery
Opening the Chest and Shoulders - a New State of Energy

Some of the negative side effects of using a computer are that we find ourselves with frozen shoulders, sore forearms, and injured wrists. This workshop targets these issues with a special sequence of postures that opens the chest and shoulders. This induces an emotional sense of release, brings the mind into stillness, and the body into a new state of energy. Open to all levels except absolute beginners. This movement workshop is both challenging and very healing. 

Saturday January 30th 2:00-4:00 Location: Jasper Winery
Some Doors Open Only from the Inside- The healing power of transformational breath-work

Join Max for a special session of standing and sitting breathing exercises. The voice of our intuition and wisdom is commonly drowned out by the noise in our mind.  The noise is often caused from chaotic or congested emotions from stress, depression, PTSD, or anxiety. Focused breath work can spark within us the reawakening of our higher nature, the voice of intuition, wisdom, and conscience.  The practices you will learn in this workshop will take you to new depths and inspire you for weeks to come. Max has taken this work around the world to people of many faiths and nationalities. Bring your mat and writing materials. (Please no recording equipment)


Embrace Stress in NEW weekly class

If you live and breathe on planet Earth, regardless of age, you have experienced stress. As many as 4.3 million American adults who work full time have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months according to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Sometimes numbers alone don't paint a picture that we can all relate to. So to put that in perspective, the data suggests that anxiety is nearly eight times more prevalent in the U.S. than all forms of cancer.

Despite evidence that anxiety is common, it's a disorder that most agree has a stigma attached; and research suggests that fear of judgment can prevent people from seeking treatment. Those who do seek treatment within the Western medical model are presented a prescription for a drug with addictive potential that calms the symptoms of anxiety without addressing the roots of the issue. 

A quick look at the Five Kosha Model reveals that the imbalance of the nervous system labeled chronic stress/anxiety does not exist only in the physical body, therefore, treating only the body will never return the human organism to a state of balance. It is only through accessing the more subtle layers of being that we can potentially unravel the root of our fears.

Physician and author, Lissa Rankin, believes our entire culture suffers from "soul loss," a loss of meaning, vitality, purpose, identity and genuine connection; a deep unhappiness that most of us have accepted as ordinary living. What makes soul loss so subtle and dangerous is that very few people realize it has happened to them. Western allopathic medicine has no framework for this kind of diagnosis and often it ends up mistreated. We place a bandage on a wound that's not healing underneath.

Couple soul loss with chronic overstimulation and anxiety, and we have a formula for disconnection as a means of survival. If this image is familiar, what's the next step?

The Five Kosha Model identifies the human organism into five distinct layers: the physical body, energetic body, emotional body, wisdom body and spiritual body. Yoga and meditation offer tools to access each layer of being and release stuck energy manifesting as stress. The first step is education; learning the distinctive components of each layer of being and understanding how stress and anxiety affect the systems of the physical body. The next step is to begin learning and practicing the many tools yoga and meditation offer to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to restore energy and facilitate a sense of calm. With practice, we can grow more aware of the sensations in our bodies, breath and emotions that alert us to escalating stress and confidently choose meditative practices to build resiliency.

stressBeginning Tuesday, August 25 (6:45-7:45 pm), the yoga lounge will offer a weekly yoga and meditation class designed to educate students on where and how stress manifests in every level of being and introduce movement and breathing patterns to dissipate tension and build awareness. Can you find a gap wide enough in your ego to create positive change? End the cycle of flight (avoidance), fight (anger) and freeze (worry) to improve quality of life and address the roots of anxiety. Drop-ins welcome $15; suitable for any age or level of ability.


What Yoga Sees

“I see you; you think you are too fat for yoga. You tried me once but everyone was smooth and skinny. I see how your heart and body hurt, you want to move and stretch but you hate how you feel in your own skin. “

“I see you; you think yoga is slow and boring. You like to run and sweat. You tried me once but your brain was screaming at you to move your ass. I see how your heart and body hurt, you want silence and rest but you hate how you feel in your own head.”

“I see you; you want to try yoga. You are shy and new. You would try me but I’m so foreign and everyone mandala with eyesknows each other already. I see how your heart and body hurt, you want to smile and move but you hate how you feel in your own heart.”

“I see you; you feel too tight for yoga. You tried me once but everyone was so bendy and loose. I see how your heart and body hurt, you want to stretch like a cat and feel light but you hate how you feel in your own ego.”

Yoga sees you, she sees all of us. Yoga knows we feel fat, mental, tight and shy. She knows that some days we feel overstretched like a guitar string both emotionally and physically. She sees us on the days we need to move and breath or the days we need quiet and peace. She sees us when we need to go out on a limb and meet new people. She sees us when we need to drop our egos, come to our knees and be humble. Yoga wants us to have ALL that we need. She wants to teach us to love our bodies, quiet our minds, lengthen our muscles and be brave. She knows it’s hard and we feel like shit. Yoga loves us anyway. She loves us when we tell people we hate yoga… because you only hate yoga till you love it.

She sees that, she knows you, she loves you anyway you are.

written by balance yoga lounge instructor: Lisa Evans


Essential Oils for Your Garden


Natural alternatives to keeping your yard and garden free of warm weather pests.


Rosemary Essential Oil is known to repel many insects such as flies, fleas, and mosquitoes. It will also kill insect larvae whose voracious appetite for juicy vegetable foliage can easily destroy entire crops of leafy vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and even some root veggies if left undisturbed. Peppermint Essential Oil is an excellent natural insecticide which works on aphids, squash bugs, white flies, ants, beetles, and fleas, just to name a few. Peppermint is also the best essential oil for repelling spiders inside and outside the home. Thyme Essential Oil works against biting insects like chiggers, ticks, and roaches. Clove Essential Oil is another great deterrent for many flying insects. Broad-Spectrum all-natural insect repellent: 10 Drops rosemary 10 Drops peppermint 10 Drops thyme 10 Drops clove Combine all oils into a spray bottle filled with water. Shake well before each use. Apply anywhere you want to get rid of skittering, creeping, crawling, or flying pests.


, Hyssop, and Pine are the best essential oils for keeping gastropods off of your plants. Stopping Slugs and Snails Recipe: 1 tsp of Cedarwood, Hyssop OR Pine Essential Oil (You may also make a blend of the 3 that equals 1 tsp of essential oil) Mix about a teaspoon of your chosen oil(s) in a 32oz spray bottle filled with water. Apply diluted oil in a ring around plants where slugs and snails like to visit. Refresh as needed.


Mice and other rodents are repulsed by the clean, fresh scent of Peppermint Essential Oil. Anti-rodent Recipe: Apply 1 – 2 drops of Peppermint oil to a cotton ball and tuck them into the entrances of mouse holes, squirrel nests, and other rodent burrows to persuade rodent residents to relocate. Replace as needed. Repel Rodents, Spiders, and Ants Place 10-15 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil into a 32 oz spray bottle of water and spray the perimeter of your home a garden. This will repel mice, rodents, spiders, and ants.


bad dog
If you can’t seem to keep the neighborhood tomcat from leaving his delightful presents amidst your herbs and veggies or the dog from digging, try these: Simple Rosemary Spray: Add 10 Drops of Rosemary Essential Oil into a 32oz Spray Bottle  filled with water. Shake before each use. Spray your mulch with the diluted mixture. Repellent Rosemary or Black Pepper Strings: Wide Shallow Container Water 10-15 Drops of Rosemary or Black Pepper Essential Oil Strips of Cloth or Pieces of StringAdd the drops of Rosemary oil to a wide, shallow container partially filled with water. Whisk vigorously to break up oil droplets then drop in strips of cloth or pieces of string. Allow them to soak long enough to absorb all of the oil. Tie strings between plants or around the garden perimeter. Hang cloth strips between garden rows, around plants, or anywhere you know the cat likes to dig. Refresh as needed. Black Pepper (or any other pepper, for that matter) essential oil can also be used to deter larger mammals from your garden. Dogs, in particular, with their sensitive noses will be turned away from the strong odor of pepper oil. Apply using the same string / cloth method as with Rosemary oil (above). Just keep in mind that over-use of this essential oil may make your garden less pleasant for humans as well.


Bee Balanced
Gardens LOVE bees and Butterflies! Essential oils aren’t just for repelling unwanted creatures from your garden. You can also use certain fragrant oils to attract natural pollinators to your garden. The scent of Neroli (orange blossom) is an irresistible attractant for bees, as are the essential oils of many small-blossomed flowers such as Lavender, Hyssop, Marjoram, Basil, Sage, and Rosemary. Also, try Lavender, Fennel and Sage essential oils to attract more butterflies to your garden. Bring Me Bees and Butterflies Blend: 10 Drops of one or more of the essential oils listed above. Water Spray BottleCombine your chosen oils together and place them into the bottom of the spray bottle. Put your water on top of the essential oils. 

Several instructors at the lounge are essential oil distributors who regularly place orders :)
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New mat Pilates class Thursdays- 8:30-9:30AM


Cassie Cumings Peterson

Cassie Cumings-Peterson
, mat Pilates instructor at balance yoga lounge shares 5 reasons to try Pilates. Join her Thursday mornings from 8:30-9:30AM. Register online or drop in ($15).


Five reasons to start Pilates

There are many reasons why Pilates might be what you and your body are looking for, but here are five to get you started.

1. Core Strength

Pilates, like life, is all about the core. Whether we call it your center, powerhouse, or abdominal scoop, what we’re referring to is your core. In Pilates, we initiate exercises in your transverse abdominus muscles. When properly strengthened, these muscles support your low back and improve your posture.

2. Spinal Mobility

In his book, Return to Life Through Contrology, Joseph Pilates wrote, “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” The Pilates mat work includes several exercises designed to increase spinal flexibility: spine stretch forward, rolling like a ball, and swan are just a few. By safely incorporating flexion and extension of the spine into your exercise routine, your spine will loosen up and you’ll stay young regardless of your age.


3. Complements Yoga practice

Pilates and yoga go together like salmon and dill. Both movement traditions focus on breath, precision, and control. Regardless of whether you prefer Pilates or yoga, by incorporating the other into your practice you’ll soon find that you’re able to reach deeper levels of satisfaction in your workouts.

4. Long and Lean Muscles

Are you looking for long and lean muscles? Try Pilates! The focus of Pilates is to work all of your muscles, including the teeny-tiny stabilizer muscles. Because we don’t target muscle groups in isolation, you get a toned and muscular body without the bulk.

5. Breathe!

Time after time, I’ve had clients walk into a Pilates class with their shoulders up around their ears because of all the tension they’re carrying and one hour later they walk out relaxed, refreshed, and ready to face the world. While there is an abundance of science explaining how endorphin release makes one happy, I attribute the great feeling after doing Pilates to the magical combination of breath + movement. By coordinating your deep Pilates breathing with your body’s movements, you’ll release your muscle tension and build a resistance to stress over time.

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Confessions of a Small Life


Lisa Evans

As children we are told we can be anything we set our minds to. As American children we are explained that this is CEO, doctor, lawyer or just plain wealthy. We grew up in the twentieth century or the twenty-first thinking this is owed to us. TV gives us images of the “rich and famous” living outrageous lives; making our lives seem small. Slowly we develop a longing. A longing for a life we imagine should be ours, a bigger life. It’s a life we really know nothing about. The images on TV only give us the highlight reel, not the whole picture. Still we long for something we don’t have and we start to ignore all that we do.

My confession is that I have never known what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not a doctor, not a lawyer, not a CEO…nothing. I couldn’t see any future plans for myself. I didn’t even want to be wealthy. I could create fake plans to pacify family and friends, and I say pacify only because people are truly disturbed if you don’t have a future mapped out. It’s like you are broken. I have always been someone who let life carry her along. Don’t misunderstand, I have interests. I have been a goldsmith, massage therapist, yoga teacher, cake decorator, hairstylist, mother, wife and daughter. None of these have given me a TV lifestyle, none have made me wealthy.

My other confession is that sometimes I long for a bigger life. I long to be that famous yoga teacher, whom others look to as a guru or a wealthy entrepreneur making millions on a good idea. These thoughts give me feelings of self-doubt and failure. These thoughts make me feel like I have wasted a good life. Maybe you have these thoughts too?

My third confession is that I live in my hometown, not five miles from my parents, grandmother and sister. My children attend the same schools I did and my folks did. I am a stay-at-home mom and a part-time yoga teacher. I have only a handful of close friends and I love my husband. All these things would seem small and trite to those people on TV.

And now my last confession, yoga has changed my life. Yoga has taught me that life isn’t about big or small but rather rich or barren. My life is rich. When my grandma needs help with something, I drive across town. I listen to her stories of when she was a child (she is 96 so there are a lot of stories). When my mom and sister want to go shopping and have lunch, I go. We drink wine and laugh. They are two of my best friends, we have a great time. My nieces come over when they need their hair and makeup done for a school dance. When they were little they would come over to dye Easter eggs or carve pumpkins. I bake and decorate cakes for the special occasions of my special friends. My dad brings donuts for my youngest son some mornings (donuts are forbidden but you know grandfathers). My yoga classes are small by some standards but I know everyone’s name, I know their heartaches and their triumphs and they know mine. I love to have them walk out of class feeling ready for their day. I love that they share a moment of their life with me.

My life is small but rich, my life is a treasure. I hope your life is a treasure, no matter if it is big or small. I hope you find something that changes your life, I humbly suggest yoga.

written by Lisa Evans goldsmith, massage therapist, yoga teacher, cake decorator, hairstylist, mother, wife and daughter

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RYT 200 Students Complete Training

Posted on by Sandy

Congratulations to twenty students completing studies at the lounge to become yoga teachers this spring! After months of weekend lectures, experiential study, and exploration of asana and pranayama—they are ready to transition from student to teacher! Many are planning to teach group classes and private yoga lessons while others immersed themselves in the study of yoga to deepen their personal practice.

The journey of becoming a yoga teacher balances self-inquiry with refining the external skills of leading the practice.

body mapping

Body Mapping

Register for fall 2015 - spring 2016 teacher training classes NOW!

trx Lis


Hatha Yoga 200hr Teacher Training Congratulations to Linda Aron- Elisabeth McQuistan- Beth Colwell- Mary Frein- Beth Stowman- Jennifer Gentile- Ashly Baugh- Tiffany Bloyer- Colleen Sengpiel- Kate Jensen- Jessica Larsen

Yoga is taught and learned through relationships— the smaller class size in the Hatha yoga teacher training program forges an unbreakable bond between students while exploring the ancient texts and eight limbs. 

supported triangle

Supported Triangle

Integrative Yoga Therapy 200hr Teacher Training Congratulations to Kerry Walter Ashby- Janis Mitchell- Kristine Orcutt- Jamey Cox- Rachel Regenold- Laura Housel- Kay Wenzel- Whitney Lonning- Katherine Anderson- Heather Fox

The IYT training program teaches in depth skills to utilize yoga as a path to total wellness. Students gain confidence creating and leading yoga classes with a focus on health and healing… empowering students to create healing from within. The therapeutic program is offered in affiliation with Integrative Yoga Therapy.

băl•anced breath school of yoga                 is a Yoga Alliance certified institute of study. Our intentionally small classes are designed to share information at a pace that gives you plenty of time to absorb, put into action, and experience personal growth by releasing old habits and ways of thinking.

blooming lotus

Lotus Mudra

A maximum of TEN students are accepted to each program to ensure each student receives individual attention along the journey.

…the community at balance has showed me from a place of compassion that yoga is taught and learned in relationships.
The curriculum is extensive and thoughtful. Anyone who puts their whole self into this training will come out changed and prepared to inspire change in others.                                         
IYT student Heather F.

Phone (515-210-8138) or email sandy@balanceyogalounge.com to initiate the application process (please indicate yoga program of interest: Hatha OR Therapeutic).

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Warm Your Winter with Squash, Carrot & Ginger Soup


Too good to not share… the perfect soup for a cold winter’s night.

1 medium-large butternut squash

2 medium sweet potatoes

8 cups water, plus extra for baking squash

8 medium carrots

3 slices fresh ginger (1/4 inch thick)

1 (14oz) can of coconut milk

1/2 T. nutmeg, 1/2 T. coriander, 1/2 T. all spice, 2 teaspoons sea saltsquash soup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Add 1/4 inch of water. Clean and scrub the sweet potatoes, pierce deeply with a fork and place on a separate baking sheet, cut side down. Bake the squash and the sweet potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes to one hour. While the squash and sweet potatoes are cooking, place 8 cups of water in a large soup pot and begin heating on high. Scrub the carrots, chop off and discard both ends, and cut into 2 inch sections. Add the carrots and ginger to the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the carrots and ginger rest in the vegetable broth that’s been created. When the squash and sweet potatoes are baked, remove them from the oven and let them cool. Scoop out the flesh of the squash and add it to the pot. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them in pieces, and add to the soup. Add the coconut milk, spices and salt. Blend in batches in a blender or in the pot with a wand mixer until smooth. Serve with crusty bread.

Happy New Year, enjoy!

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Shake It Off! Neurogenic Yoga Workshop



Jennica Mills

Neurogenic Yoga™ is a revolutionary technique in trauma healing and stress reduction.

This practice combines yoga asana and pranayama with the body’s natural, therapeutic shaking response. This shaking response in humans, much the same as the instinctual shaking in animals, is the nervous system’s way of discharging long-held tension and trauma, or unconscious muscle contraction in order to restore the body to wholeness. Neurogenic Yoga™ reawakens our body’s intrinsic release mechanism for optimal health.

Neurogenic Yoga™ is a simple, gentle and profound practice that facilities the lengthening and relaxation of the psoas muscle and the release of physical and emotional stress and tension. During a Neurogenic Yoga™ practice, we safely self induce therapeutic vibration using yoga postures and breath. Often vibration begins in the legs and may spread throughout the entire body. This method is based on Dr. David Berceli’s technique of Trauma Releasing Exercises™ (TRE™).

“Neurogenic Yoga is an off-shoot of TRE(Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises), a body-centered therapy, I’ve been studying, practicing and teaching for the past few years.  It has changed the way I move in my body and given me a clarity and equanimity I had not previously experienced. It is a perfect complement to my long-time yoga practice and Neurogenic Yoga brings the two together in a perfect way. This workshop is appropriate for beginners, serious practitioners, therapists and anyone open to moving more deeply into their body.”

balance yoga lounge will host a one-day Neurogenic Yoga workshop, January 24, 2015 (9AM-4:30PM)


This 6-hour experiential workshop will include an introduction and deeper understanding of self induced therapeutic tremoring and its history and origin in Dr. David Berceli’s technique of TRE. Participants will experience 2 Neurogenic Yoga classes including yoga asana, pranayama and therapeutic tremoring.

Most people describe this experience as pleasant and relaxing and report many improvements in their physical and emotional state.

This workshop is open to the public, and is appropriate for people of all level of fitness.

*NOTE: Pregnant women are welcome to attend and perform the Yoga exercises but are generally not advised to perform the tremoring component. Shaking and tremoring, however often occur naturally during or after birth and can assist with the birth process and a more complete bodily recovery.


Participants will be introduced to:

– The therapeutic shaking mechanism as it applies to the nervous system.
– The history of Neurogenic Yoga and Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE).
– Experiencing self induced therapeutic tremoring in their own bodies twice, using different yoga postures.
– The certification process for Neurogenic Yoga and TRE.
– Questions and comment session about their experience.


This workshop is open to the public. Since this shaking mechanism in the muscles is part of our natural behavior as humans, everyone can benefit. These self-induced therapeutic tremors increase the resiliency of the body because they cause deep relaxation that naturally reduces stress levels and muscle contraction. These vibrations can release emotions ranging from mild upset to severe anxiety whether it is caused by work stress, excessive worry, conflict in relationships, physical stresses, or traumas from accidents. Additionally, tremoring has been reported to reduce and eliminate pain, increases mobility, and aid healing of recent and past injuries.

Whether you are a parent/spouse who would like more patience with your family, a survivor of violence or an accident, a soldier suffering with PTSD, or simply someone who wants to become more resilient and healthier, you can benefit from Neurogenic Yoga™.


-Release of chronic tension and increase of energy and stamina

-Discharge of buried emotional and physical trauma

-Freedom from symptoms of sciatica and fibromyalgia

-Decrease of aches and pains

-Improved sleep

-Improved circulation

-Improved mood

-Improved sense of feeling grounded and focused

-Improved flexibility


Jennica’s eclectic background in the healing field gives way to a unique perspective of how we can rediscover our balance by integrating the mind, body, and spirit. Jennica has been teaching yoga since 2005 and also facilitates workshops exploring the nervous system, psoas muscle, and trauma in San Diego based 200 and 300-hour yoga teacher trainings. She is a Level II certified Tension and Trauma Releasing ExercisesTM (TRETM) Facilitator and is a Lead Trainer of the Neurogenic YogaTM Teacher Training. For more information about Jennica please visit this link.

raw brownie chef
I practiced Neurogenic Yoga while studying in Tucson last year, and it was such a deep healing experience I knew I had to bring it to Iowa for YOU to experience first-hand! We have all experienced trauma at some level, don’t miss this opportunity to dig deep and let go.

Sandy Eimers, RPh, RYT500, CYT

Pre-register for the Neurogenic Yoga Workshop at balance yoga lounge! Participation limited to 20 students.

January 24, (9AM-4:30PM) Early registration discount valid through January 5, 2015 ($110)  

1/6/2015= $125

Register online at www.balanceyogalounge.com  (click on the sessions/workshop tab)

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Video Blog

Posted on by Sandy

The clock is ticking…and by this time next week I will be at work in Brazil! 

Packing is a challenge; I’ve packed and unpacked a couple times trying to get serious about how much “stuff” I really need for 90 days. But, its (rainforest) winter there, and kind of hard to decide what I will even need beyond a sweatshirt and swimsuit.

Just in case you get curious about what I’m up to, I’ve started a video blog on our YouTube channel and am hoping to record brief videos summarizing what I’m keeping busy with. Here’s the first installment to get you headed to the right page!

Namaste,  Sandy

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