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New Life Fitness World Surges to the Lead in our Readers' Choice Yoga Challenge

Patch wants to know where Iowa City residents like to do their yoga! Can the competitors catch up with Robin's Nest?

Update: Voting has been completed, and New Life Fitness World is our winner. Tune in later for an article on the contest.

Iowa City is a great town for yoga. In fact, we even host our very own yoga festival.

We're asking you to vote for your favorite yoga spot and to tell us why you voted. This will be similar to the we had a lot of fun running a few weeks ago. In this case, the winner will be determined with a poll and comments and reviews on the location rather than by just counting reviews. Reviews on the listings below or comments on this story referencing a specific yoga spot will count as five votes each.

You have one day left to vote for your favorite, add your comments and give your favorite yoga location a fab review on its business listing under the Patch Places tab. Encourage your friends to vote as well.

This morning at 9 a.m. we'll see which yoga spot got the most activity and will give the winning business a “Best of Iowa City Patch” certificate.

Here are the Best Yoga locations. 

Heward Platt February 28, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Kate Connell is a terrific yoga teacher. She is energetic and takes the time to address each individuals needs. I have a truly wonderful experience as a student.
Renee Harper February 29, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Robin's Nest Yoga Studio - beautiful space, wonderful teachers, laid-back environment -- what's not to love?!
Jason Bradley March 02, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Robin's Nest Yoga Studio absolutely has the most dedicated teachers, caring staff, and community-centered feel. I always say it's "real yoga for real people" - no schtick, no need to be "hot", no need to be only 18-25 years old - the students are from all ages, every walk of life, and there to simply center, ground, and get strong and flexible. I'm so glad to be a student. I agree with Renee - what's not to love?!?
Jason Bradley March 02, 2012 at 02:13 PM
And Kate teaches/ manages at Robin's Nest - so no surprise that both are so high in votes - maybe those should be combined into one voting option...
Stephen Schmidt March 02, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I've taken Kate Connell off the poll by her request. To be fair to the people who left comments, the people who have left comments or reviews for her will count toward Robin's Nest total.
Stephen Schmidt March 02, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Comment sent to me by Reader Andy Douglas: "These are all wonderful places, no doubt. But for me, yoga is about developing a personal spiritual practice, something done every day no matter where you are, in an effort to live in awareness of the sacred. So I'd have to say, favorite yoga spot: my living room."
Stephen Schmidt March 02, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I must say, I have gotten some feedback the last few days about yoga being a bad choice for a contest due to the spiritual nature of the practice. My intent was primarily to draw public interest to the wide variety of great destinations for yoga in this city, but was this intention insensitive to the nature of its subject? What do you all think?
Jason Bradley March 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
And, Stephen, to be fair, Kate's 6 or 7 votes should probably be added to Robin's Nest total as well. Again, to be fair. Otherwise, those votes are being thrown out.
Stephen Schmidt March 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
That is fine with me. I will have to add the seven votes manually at the end, though.
Renee Harper March 02, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I think that yoga means different things for different people...someone's favorite studio or teacher might depend on what that particular person is looking for. For some it might be a fitness focus, for others it might be their prescription for stress reduction, and surely there are many who practice with a spiritual focus. Since it's a friendly contest that promotes awareness of all of the wonderful yoga variety in our community, I don't see the harm. :)
Stephen Schmidt March 02, 2012 at 05:41 PM
So one vote for self guided yoga. I'll put that in the final tally.
Jason Bradley March 02, 2012 at 05:42 PM
When I was teaching journalism at the UI, every semester some student would get the idea to do a "through my eyes" story about the different yoga in Iowa City, because there are "so many" studios. I think people are interested in the differences the studios offer. Some are aerobic and weight loss oriented, some are spiritual, some are hot and most are not. I think the opportunity to comment about the studios is an important element and can give fantastic context for the reviews. Just my two cents on that. And, Andy, I agree with you about yoga - you can do it anywhere. Some people need guidance and training, which is where the teachers and studios can step in. Some people need the peer support to keep moving and be active. Some people need the socialization. I know for many of my patients the guidance, social aspect, and peer support is part of their success in developing new strategies to be healthy and grounded and without the studios, they may not succeed. So I am thankful they are there not only for me personally, but for the patients I refer to them.
raychel March 04, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I recently started practicing at Zenergi Hot Yoga in Iowa City and I love it. Each time that I come in to practice (since the first day) Lisa greets me (and everyone who walks through the door) by first name. The instructors genuinely care that you are having a pleasant experience and gently guide you through your practice. The facilities are gorgeous and it's lovely to be able to shower immediately after sweating for an hour in the locker room! All of the other yogis are also wonderfully friendly and helpful if you ever have any questions or concerns and everyone seems happy here. I love that I've found a great new place to practice here in Iowa City!
Stephen Schmidt March 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
So to continue the yoga discussion, what do you yoga aficionados recommend for people looking to get into yoga? I think yoga might be a good option for me as I look to improve my fitness habits, but I'm unsure what to look for. What is hot yoga good for, for example? And how many different styles of yoga are there and what are they best for?
Stephen Schmidt March 05, 2012 at 04:18 PM
New Life Fitness World has been added to the poll. Feel free to give them some yoga love.
Richard Campagna March 05, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Nothing like Dawn Worrell O'Leary's Monday night yoga class at New Life Fitness on Mormon Trek. She took us in when we were yoga neophytes and her unique blend of yoga discipline, existential optimism and friendship has rendered us converts. Richard, Odalys Campagna
B.A. Morelli March 05, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Don't forget to leave reviews on the gym/yoga studio's directory listings by clicking the hyperlink on the name. Those ratings/reviews will last long after this contest is over.
Teresa Wymore March 07, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I've never really been interested in yoga or 5am classes. I'm into intervals and resistance training at night. But I've taken a class here and there over the last ten years that I've been in Iowa City. Only recently did I "find" yoga at North Dodge Athletic Club. "Body Flow" is a blending of different routines and has introduced me to a few basics of yoga. And because of the different levels of people who participate, I don't feel like a noob when I walk into a class. I'm enjoying it and plan to try different styles. My favorite yoga place so far!
Stephen Schmidt March 07, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Thanks Teresa, I'm definitely getting a sense that there is a lot of different levels of yoga ranging from casual to more intense to spiritual.
Mia March 08, 2012 at 06:19 AM
First of all, thank you for shining light on the yoga community in Iowa City. Admittedly, I was a wee bit perplexed by this contest (I saw a note for it up at the co-op and decided to put in my two cents). In 11 years of practicing yoga in Iowa City, I always loved every class I have taken. I do not believe there is a fair way to compare yoga studios. Being somewhat pragmatic, I will go to any studio that is offering a deal of some kind. Most recently, I bought a groupon for Robin's Nest and have enjoyed taking classes in a room with skylights and a fireplace. I love Zenergi yoga because of how friendly everyone is there; the studio itself reminds me of Colorado (where yoga became an extremely important part of my life) and it was built out of environmentally friendly materials. They, too sometimes have groupon deals. Core Fitness is a wonderful place to become introduced to yoga--they offer beginning levels to very advanced power yoga. Core has a steam room and a sauna and showers, as well as a variety of other classes too. Plus, it's one of the only places in town that offers child care while you take a yoga class. Unbeatable. Heartland is a gorgeous space and is one of the only places in town to offer Anusara yoga (my favorite kind) and Hot House has a West Coast feel. Downward Dog Yoga is great for bringing in special guest instructors. The point is: EVERYWHERE is a great place to practice yoga in Iowa City. We are lucky to have so many great studios here.
Stephen Schmidt March 08, 2012 at 05:13 PM
@Mia You make a fair point that the various styles of yoga make it difficult to compare them in any sense where one would be "better" than the other. The intent is to have a good-natured competition that will primarily serve to let the various yoga establishments promote themselves, and by a natural extension of this, promote this site and its free business directory. So I agree that as a pure competition this contest is flawed. But as a result of it I have been able to add yoga sites to my directory that were not in there before, and remove a yoga establishment from the directory that had closed. I have also learned quite a bit about yoga in this town (and yoga in general) that I didn't know before, and I hope this applies to the reading public as well. Your comment is helpful to that end, so thank you for that.
Chase Jameson March 09, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Kudos to Robin's Nest for a relatively amazing turn out. Of course New Life and North Dodge, with all of their members, should have easy "wins". They've also been around forever as local gyms. But Robin's Nest has been here only for MONTHS and held its own. I think this speaks highly of their personal, friendly, and dedicated approach. Their space is beautiful and the atmosphere relaxing. The fact that they share a building with the best integrated medical clinic, perhaps, in at least the Midwest is also pretty amazing. I'd love to see this poll done again annually and see how this baby bird does when she finally gets her wings - she's already trying to soar and doing a pretty good job. Congrats to all and, Robin's Nest, I want to see you fly!
Stephen Schmidt March 09, 2012 at 03:33 PM
It looks like New Life Fitness World is our winner. Congrats! Also kudos to all the yoga establishments involved. I'll have a write up about the contest later today featuring some of the comments from contributors to this thread.

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