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Iowa City yoga instructor encourages yoga for the disabled

Yoga Buddy owner, Lisa DeShano.
Yoga Buddy owner, Lisa DeShano.
photo: Yoga Buddy

“Yoga is for every body!” says 32-year old Iowa City yoga instructor, Lisa DeShano. More than 30 million people in the United States practice this 5,000 year old physical and mental discipline everyday. According to the American Yoga Association, “The desire for greater personal freedom, health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to this system…which has spread throughout the world.”

It is this freedom of health and self-awareness that keeps DeShano practicing each day. As she discusses the benefits of yoga, DeShano displays great passion. To her, yoga is about letting go of the ego. Yoga is “what you create for yourself,” she says. “(In my practice, I give) compassion to the body while moving and breathing.”

Practicing for over nine years, DeShano has developed a style that has not only rejuvenated her soul, but also healed her body. Prior to yoga, DeShano found herself a slave to her own body’s weaknesses. Whether it was an injury from bike riding or fainting from her body’s reaction to simple stress, she realized she was not in control. Through yoga, she has gained control and increased her compassion and love for others with their own disabling conditions.

In 2008, DeShano started Yoga Buddy, a private yoga program that fits any lifestyle and schedule. Yoga Buddy allows DeShano, who already teaches multiple yoga classes throughout the Iowa City area, to practice in her yogis’ homes. There are no physical limitations to this program and those with disabilities are encouraged to participate. The ideal student for Yoga Buddy, according to DeShano, is someone who “wants to learn and is willing to give themselves permission to let go, if even for one hour.”

Yoga Buddy’s clients include able-bodied individuals and those with varying disabilities, including Muscular Dystrophy, cancer, and prosthetic limbs. For each of these yogis, yoga becomes an individual practice, allowing for personal limitations. DeShano’s method of yoga places an emphasis on flexibility and movement through relaxation, exercise, breathing, diet, and meditation. Her first visit to a yogi’s home involves a one-on-one consultation regarding goals, fears, and aspirations. From this information, DeShano can develop a personalized plan for individual growth and success.

Yoga Buddy’s vision is simple: improve health, find effective tools to manage stress, and grow spiritually. As stated in Yoga Buddy’s flier:

“We will begin (each session) with deep breathing and gentle movement …flowing into more static, strengthening, and stretchy yoga postures to release tension throughout the body and mind…(and) conclude with a deep relaxation where energy can naturally flow to the areas for your body most in need of rejuvenations and healing.”

If practiced regularly with DeShano, yogis can feel more balanced, energized, and naturally motivated.

Clientele is limited to residents of the Iowa City metro area, including Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty. Sessions are available Monday through Friday by appointment.

For more information on Yoga Buddy, appointment availability, and pricing schedules, contact Lisa DeShano at


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