Student Spotlight: Barb Madden-Bittle

I live in West Des Moines off Grand Avenue beyond Raccoon River Park. I live with my husband, Ed; we are in a second marriage and just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary. When we married, we had 6 children at home- two boys age 16, a boy and a girl age 13, a girl age 11 and a boy age 6. Both Ed and I worked full time; he, a lawyer at Ahler’s Law firm, and me, a school nurse in DMPS. I have a BSN from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University. I finished my Master’s degree the summer we got married.

It was after a couple of years of marriage that I started doing yoga. I had been active with tennis and bicycling which went by the wayside with 6 kids, a husband, and a full-time job 😊. Yoga became a necessary “centering” activity. That was about 30 years ago.

When Mary took over the practice of being my yoga teacher, I became a dedicated follower and STILL am. Because of my health background, I am an avid supporter of holistic medicine. Treat the whole body, listen to your whole body…a philosophy that Mary shares in her classes.

I just celebrated my 82nd birthday! I feel 10-15 years younger; my dedication to yoga has lent to wellness. I take no prescription meds. I have gotten stronger this past year with the addition of Strength and Balance which I do twice a week due to access to Mary’s Library.

I have had many outside activities in my life. Two that I have passion for and dedicated much of my time and resources to are Plymouth Congregational Church and Planned Parenthood, where I started work as a Clinical Director at age 26. I retired after two years and had a family in my first marriage of two boys. I am still passionate about women’s reproductive rights and social justice today.

I have been and still am an outdoor person, having ridden RAGBRAI 3 times, attended Outward Bound, canoed the Boundary waters, backpacked canyons of Southern Utah, and spent summers in Grand Lake, CO hiking RMNP, and many other outdoor adventures.

Mary is the heart and soul of the yoga that I love. I am and will always be an avid, outspoken supporter of her approach to teaching; how to listen to your body and assistance in caring for it. She has an excellent education and training along with the right personality to deliver THE MESSAGES. There are few people I know that work as hard as she does. The fact that Mary successfully took us online, extremely quickly, then developed the strength and balance class sent my practice up several notches.