Hatha Yoga and Meditation in Garland

Patricia Alonso and Rod Stryker

Shakti Yoga Center is providing a community space in Garland where individuals can revel in the physical, mental and emotional benefits of traditional hatha yoga. “I started practicing yoga 10 years ago for fitness,” says owner Patricia Alonso. “Then I met my teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker, who helped me to realize that yoga is actually medicine, and that you can modify your mental and physical state with the power of the breath.”

Alonso explains that she was inspired to open a studio because offerings in East Dallas for traditional yoga were almost nonexistent. The classes at Shakti Yoga Center reflect the teachings of traditional Hatha Yoga as taught by Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga, who used it for therapy. All other modern yoga modalities, including Iyengar, ashtanga, Bikram and others, stem from this. When you break down the word hatha, ha means sun and tha means moon. “There are two hemispheres in the body,” says Alonso. “Doing yoga brings these energies together.”

“The majority of yoga studios only teach the physical aspect of the practice,” says Alonso. “We believe half of the benefit of yoga is meditation.” Students are required in every class to sit for at least five to 15 minutes practicing pranayama, or breathing exercises, in order to reset the mind, and then rejoice in the sweetness of meditation. “When you do movements, you are also working on breath; it has to be connected. The breath is a tool to awaken the energy and change people’s perception of themselves and of the world,” says Alonso. The studio teaches that even if there is a pose that may not be available to everyone, the breath is a common denominator, regardless of  ability or experience doing yoga.

All of the instructors at the studio are certified with at least 200 hours of yoga training, and are CPR certified. “I only take in people who honor their practice. Whatever they are doing in their lives is transmitted in their class, so they must have a personal practice,” says Alonso. The instructors provide modifications for all poses so that attendees at different experience levels can enjoy the benefits.

The class offerings start early at 5:30 a.m. with tantric kundalini yoga, where students focus not only on breath and movement, but one step further to the movement of energetics. “In traditional yoga, we believe there is a light that is our inner fire, which can create transformation,” says Alonso. “In kundalini class, we make use of these energetic concepts.” Also, later every morning there is a sun vinyasa class, which is an energizing sequence that focuses on opening the heart and energy so that attendees start their day feeling focused and alert. A shorter, 45-minute class is offered at lunchtime for anyone who wants a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

Later in the day, the studio offers a shakti flow, which is a mix of vigorous and balancing poses for adults, and YOGA for Kids on Wednesdays. The weekdays conclude with evening classes that build deep relaxation and calm including moon vinyasa and restorative yoga. On weekends, the studio offers donation-based community classes in the mornings and conclude Sundays with yin yoga and yoga nidra.

“We teach people that at the end of class, the world hasn’t changed, the circumstances are the same,” says Alonso. “But whatever they experienced on the mat transformed them and will help them approach challenges with a different perspective and higher understanding activated with their yoga practice”

Location: Shakti Yoga Center, 118 W. Centerville Rd, Ste. 300, Garland 75041. For more information, call 469-573-8821 or visit Shakti-YogaCenter.com.

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