Central Iowa Yoga Retreat 2019

Central Iowa Yoga Retreat

Stellar schedule for Saturday, April 22, 2023

Join us for the 11th Annual Central Iowa Yoga Retreat!

Staying true to our roots of growing community, these sessions will help you ground your body on the earth. Our schedule was designed to help you plant seeds of possibility to grow and bloom in new directions. We’ll recommit to taking care of ourselves as integral members of Mother Earth.

This schedule will continue to evolve, just as the earth does!
8:30amMorning & Full Retreat Registration
9:00amWelcome & introductions
9:15amMorning Program: Move, meditate, and mingle with Deb Jennings, Ben Spellman, and Acro Yoga
11:45amAfternoon Registration
12:45pmHandstands (Room A) | Stay Mobile (Room B) | Soma Yoga (Room C)
2:15pmYoga for Self Regulation (Room A) | Power Vinyasa (Room B) | Yoga and Astrology (Room C)
3:45pmYoga Nidra (Room A) | Four Corners Flow (Room B) | Mindfulness & Movement (Room C)

Get to know the sessions and instructors!

Each session and the teachers who lead them will offer a unique perspective, experience and flavor. Some favorites return from the past, and fresh faces are here to inspire you. It’s a stellar lineup that will help you bloom!

Morning Program

Brent and Tiffany will launch the day with community building. Ben will lead us in yummy yoga. Then, time to reflect, and set intentions, and focus on breath in a sound bath with Deb. 

Meet Ben Spellman

Yummy Yoga

Ben Spellman, yoga instructor

With an infectious enthusiasm for life, it’s easy to understand how Ben Spellman became known as Good Vibes. Always an athlete, Ben first explored yoga at the University of Northern Iowa. While enduring tests and challenges, he turned to yoga again when he was provided a list of 90 yoga poses. To reflect and move forward, Ben used that list to learn, and to become a passionate practitioner. His everyday commitment to learning and exploration of all styles and practices molds his teaching.

After working at many yoga studios in Iowa and beyond, he founded Good Vibes Yoga as an all-inclusive community emanating good energy and soulful experiences. Here, you are part of a movement to connect, feel, breathe, love, unite.

He believes in, and delivers yoga for everybody to experience – to get that vibe. He reinvests class donations to grow the community and keep the movement moving. Whether you donate a dime or just commit your time, come be present with us! If you’re ready to experience the power of yoga


More about Ben Spellman ❯

Meet Deb Jennings
Deb Jennings, Sound Healing

Sound Meditation

You may see colors by the time Deb Jennings finishes her sound bath! Invite relaxation, restoration and renewal as you are bathed in sound vibrations.

Deb has studied and played all kinds of music since she was five years old. Her instruments include keyboards, flutes, percussion, crystal, alchemy and singing bowls and bells, gongs, tuning forks, and metallophone. You say you haven’t heard of all those; neither have we!

She’s studied Sound Healing with Jonathon Goldman, Wayne Perry and  Buddhist monks in Tibet, China and India; the list goes on. Check out her website for the full volume of her studies and experience.

Deb leads sound meditations, drum circles and healing groups in the community, teaches workshops and classes, offers private and group sound healing sessions, support groups… 


More about Deb Jennings ❯

Meet Brent Aronsen


Brent Aronsen, yoga instructor

Acroyoga is often called “trust yoga.” Expect big laughs and an invitation to support each other emotionally and physically! Join us in becoming an instant community.

Brent’s life and practice are made up of dedicated training and playful curiosity. Learning new approaches and facing new challenges are apparent in all his endeavors. He teaches his students fly, but from a firm basis of the fundamentals. An avid practitioner of yoga since 2011, and acro yoga since 2014, Brent is excited to return to the Central Iowa Retreat, and not just for the tee shirt. And we’re so excited to have him!


Meet Tiffany Thomas-Killam
Tiffany Thomas-Killam, yoga instructor


Tiffany has taught at the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat since it came to live at Next Step Adventure in 2016. Even so, it’s hard to keep up with her endeavors and accomplishments. Along with her passion for teaching, practicing and playing at yoga, she is also a mental health counselor.

We’re so excited for her to share her excitement for life and community as she teams up with Brent for AcroYoga at the Retreat.  She approaches her practice and teaching as she approaches life–lively, hard working, and always kind to others. She uses all these wonderful qualities in nurturing three energetic boys. We’re happy she’s back at the Retreat!


More about Tiffany Thomas-Killam ❯

Trust Circle at the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat


Afternoon Sessions

Choose from three great offerings per time slot. No need to sign up ahead of time; go with the flow.

12:45 Sessions

How to Handstand with Brent

Brent will teach an all levels class on how to work on your handstand. This class is perfect if you’ve never gone upside down or are trying to get better at standing on your hands!

Brent Aronsen
Brent Aronsen, yoga instructor


Yoga for Mobility with Lisa Acheson

Explore adding dynamic and functional movements along with common yoga postures to create new opportunities for increased mobility.

Lisa Acheson
Lisa Acheson, Yoga Instructor

Lisa Acheson is a curious and open-minded student and teacher of yoga. She pulls from multiple styles of yoga, healing modalities, and movement techniques to create a practice that encourages her students to cultivate curiosity, and discover what is true for themselves on and off the mat.

Lisa fell in love with yoga asana 15 years ago when she sought a deeper and happier connection to her body. She began teaching classes in 2012. Lisa teaches a mobility-focused yoga class at Shakti Yoga and co-hosts an annual women’s yoga retreat in Mexico.

A typical Virgo, she shares her love of yoga with a passion for getting her feet and hands in the earth with her gardens–both yoga and gardening keep her grounded in the everydayness of a busy life. 


Soma Yoga with Pam Steinick

SomaYoga is a blend of Somatics (neuromuscular retraining), breathwork, and traditional yoga poses.  We’ll use Somatic movements to help “unwind” persistent tension patterns then move into traditional yoga poses, exploring how to move from the core more efficiently.  This class will be designed to help you move without pain, especially in your back and neck where many of us hold tension. 

Pam Steinick
Pam Steinick Cental Iowa Yoga Retreat Instructor

Pam found yoga when she thought the next step for her neck pain was to have surgery. The blend of Somatics and the tools of yoga not only prevented Pam from having surgery, but have given her practices that have kept her out of pain everywhere in her body! Somatics is neuromuscular retraining targeted at the muscles in the core that help unwind persistent tension patterns.  Pam’s passion is to spread SomaYoga far and wide through private sessions, small group classes held inside Core PT, and being part of the Yoga North International SomaYoga faculty, holding 200 and 500 hour trainings here in Des Moines!

Atha Soma Yoga

yoga back support Martha McCormick

2:15 Sessions

Choose from three great offerings. No need to sign up ahead of time; go with the flow.

Yoga for Self Regulation with Julie and Heather

Julie Mertz & Heather Pickart will co-teach Yoga for Self-Regulation. This is a form of yoga offers a gentle teaching approach and a safe environment to cultivate compassionate awareness of what is happening in one’s body in the present moment, recognize choice when relating to one’s body, and develop the ability to take effective action based on that knowledge

Julie Mertz

Originally from a suburb of Chicago, I moved to Iowa to obtain my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa. After graduation, I was given the opportunity to have a job in Iowa doing social work. I later obtained my Masters Degree from Mount Mercy in Marriage and Family Therapy. After practicing for several years, I attended a training on trauma-informed yoga. Up to that point, I really only used yoga as a tool for exercise and enjoyment. After attending that training. I joined with a friend and long-time co-worker, Heather Pickart, to build upon this vision in creating a space for mind, body and spiritual wellness. In May 2020, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I am eager to begin helping clients with therapy and yoga. I provide outpatient mental health services for adults, teens, couples and families.

Heather Pickart

I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the UNI, and later returned to obtain my Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2004. After 16 years providing services at the Institute for Therapy & Psychological Solutions, LLC. (ITPS) in various clinical positions, I moved to Boston, Massachusetts and worked for 2 years at Behavioral Nutrition, LLC., a clinic that specializes in Eating Disorder treatment. In 2017, I returned to ITPS and continued my work with clients seeking Eating Disorder treatment along with co-occurring disorders. During my time in Boston, I began to explore holistic practices. I received my Reiki I and II attunement in 2017. In May 2020, I completed my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. In 2020, I joined with long-time friend and co-worker, Julie Mertz, LMFT, YT-200 to build this vision and create a space for mind, body, and spiritual wellness. I provide individual and group outpatient mental health services for adolescents and adults. In conjunction with therapy, I provide individual & group yoga classes, individual Reiki sessions, & individual and group Sound Healing Therapy sessions.


Power Vinyasa with Hannah Cutler

Power yoga is all about moving, breathing, and sweating! Expect a strong, intentional flow that will get you out of your head and into your body. While this class is driven by dynamic flow, you can still expect traditional sun salutations at the beginning, with backbends, long hip openers, and a sweet savasana at the end for a well-rounded practice.

Hannah Cutler
Hannah tree pose, Instructor at the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat

Hannah (she/her) was first drawn to yoga when she realized she didn’t need to take herself so seriously to be a yogi. While she believes in working hard, play is a guiding light in both her personal practice and her teaching.

Work + Play, combined with her love for anatomy create limitless potential where for reconnecting body + spirit. In her classes, you can expect strong, athletic, + creative flows to challenge and empower you on and off your mat. 


Yoga & Astrology with Betty

This session will start with meditation, and focus on the breath. Betty will talk about what the planets and their energy are currently doing, what they are asking us to do (or let go of). We’ll be just coming off the April new moon (April 19)–the best time for shedding! Then we’ll move mindfully, and work toward a peak pose or overall challenge. End with time to feel, breathe, and be ok or be ok with not being ok. 

Betty Garcia
Betty Garcia, Instructor at the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat

Betty started her yoga journey in 2015, and hasn’t stopped learning since! Her current certifications include E-RYT 200, RYT 500, sculpt, barre & cycle. Betty is working on her certification in Astrology. She is fortunate to be part of two yoga worlds, here at Kris’ Hot Yoga & at De Saucha Yoga in Mexico where she holds teacher training and retreats. She loves seeing students advance, not just in their practice but mentally as well – yoga transforms you! Yo soy #yogalatina


Central Iowa Yoga Retreat 2019

3:45 Sessions

Choose from three great offerings. No need to sign up ahead of time; go with the flow.

Four Corners Flow

This all-levels vinyasa flow will focus on hip and shoulder mobility, while also offering opportunity for meditation and connecting deeper with mind, body & spirit.

Darcey began her yoga journey in 2018 after years of playing soccer and wanting a more holistic and healing form of movement.  Not just the love for the physical part of yoga, but Darcey found passion in the mental and spiritual aspects that yoga offer.  In the fall of 2019, Darcey received her 200hr certification through Power Life Yoga then began teaching and managing the Downtown location in January of 2020.  Always wanting to learn, Darcey is currently working toward her 500hr certification and planning to have it completed before she becomes a first-time mom in August!

Power Life Yoga

Mindfulness and Movement cards

We’ve curated two card decks that are perfect for humans of all ages to find more ways to bring mindful movement into their lives. Our cards are perfect for use at home, in classrooms, religious groups, or after school programs.

The Cards

Our Foundation card deck has 22 activities to help us BREATHE, CONNECT, FOCUS, and MOVE. Our Growth Deck has 24 cards to help us SETTLE, CREATE, and PLAY!

Mindfulness & Movement Activity Cards by Next Step hanging on magnetic bulletin board in teacher's classroom

Each card includes directions for all the activities, materials needed, suggested settings, and guided reflection questions. Directs for each of the activities are included on the card to use as a script or for you to translate into your own words. Each card also includes Bright Spots, a few questions to help you and your group process the activity.

Color Matching Card

Mindfulness and Movement Card Decks ❯

Yoga Nidra with Mary McCarthy

Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation and takes us effortlessly into a state of harmonious, restful being. The practice draws our attention inwards, and we learn to surf between the states of wakefulness and sleep, where our body finds its natural state of equilibrium (homeostasis) – the breath balances and becomes quiet, and unconscious and conscious aspects of the mind reveal themselves as we fall into an innate state of deep, blissful awareness. 

Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy is a leader in the wellness industry, teaching employees, students, and older adults how to feel good at any age in mind, body, and spirit. Her degrees and certifications as an MPH & E-500 RYT ground her in science while her personal practice offers insight that is intuitively taught from her heart. In 2000, Mary launched Yoga by Mary with a single weekly class. Her passion for teaching yoga grew and in 2014, she left the corporate wellness field to focus her attention on building her rebranded business, Resilience & Grace. Mary currently teaches yoga classes, leads workshops and retreats, offers inspirational keynote addresses, writes a monthly blog, manages a YouTube channel, and produces an educational podcast. Mary’s contagious smile and laughter fill the room as she shares from her heart and invites you into the journey to your best self, living a life of Resilience and Grace. 

Mary McCarthy on the steps

Mary McCarthy Resilience and Grace ❯


Please bring your own yoga mat, straps and blocks. We will not provide props this year.  

three yoga poses illustration forward bend, downward facing dog, child's pose

Register today for the 11th Annual Central Iowa Yoga Retreat!

Join us Saturday, April 22, 2023
Raccoon River Nature Lodge

Connect with Self & Others   ⁄ ⁄  Go with the Flow   ⁄ ⁄  Strengthen     ⁄ ⁄   Restore   ⁄ ⁄