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Iowa City yoga instructor hopes to 'bring yoga to everyone'

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Yoga can be intimidating. There might be phrases and words you don’t know. You might be surrounded by people who are much younger than you or more flexible or fit than you.

Yoga has benefits for everyone, no matter their size, age or fitness ability, but it requires people to feel comfortable enough to give it a try.

Denise Crouch of DeniseFit teaches an outdoor yoga class in Iowa City that seeks to do just that.

Yoga Body Bootcamp is offered at 11 a.m. every Saturday at College Green Park in Iowa City. Crouch offers the class for free because she wants to “bring yoga to everyone.”

In some cases, having to go at a slower pace or do a modification to a pose feels like a letdown — however, Yoga Body Bootcamp was different.

I attended a class at the end of May. Before the class started, Crouch had each of us demonstrate a pose that would be used in the class. It was clear that each of us had different abilities, but regardless, the entire class clapped after each demonstration.

In addition to the people attending, the structure made the class very welcoming.

In a typical yoga class, everyone faces the instructor and mimics their pose and an unwritten rule forbids anyone but the instructor from talking.

“It’s very intimidating and is organized so that you feel like you can’t fit in,” Crouch said of a typical yoga class set-up. “It’s hard to be next to someone who can do all these things and you can’t.”

In Yoga Body Bootcamp, there are stations. Only two or three people are doing an exercise at once so you can partner with someone who has a similar skill level. At each of the lower body, core, cardio, balance and upper body stations, you do an exercise for 45 seconds and then get 15 seconds of rest moving to the next station.

Becky Bucklin said she enjoys the class because it gives her a chance to develop yoga poses, while including cardio components that she’s accustomed to.

The upbeat pop music played at Yoga Body Bootcamp also separates it from other yoga classes.

“You really feel good, not just physically,” Chris Laubenthal said. “She really makes you feel happy.”

The class began in April and no two sessions have included the same exercises.

“Each person can have a different goal in yoga. It’s so beneficial to everybody because everyone has something to gain from it,” Crouch said.

Yoga Body Bootcamp is at 11 a.m. each Saturday in College Green Park. The classes are geared toward anyone: men, women, young, old, flexible or non-flexible. Instructor Denise Crouch demonstrates some basic yoga poses in the following series of photos.

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