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Shakti Yoga Center Puts the Focus On Comfort

By Pamela Sosnowski

Shakti Yoga Center has only been open for a year, but already it's winning awards. Last year the Garland-based studio was voted "Best Yoga Studio" out of a total of 25 on the Dallas A-List website.

"Finally we have a decent yoga studio in Garland," stated one of the voters. "The owner is super nice and knowledgeable."

That owner would be Patricia Alonso, who strives to make everyone feel welcome in her studio and encourages comfort and proper breathing instead of performing each pose perfectly.

"We created free of judgment and competitiveness," she said. "We remind our students not to be concerned with the look of the pose, but instead the feeling of the pose. This is the very reason why we do not have mirrors. The feeling of the studio is very intimate, free of distractions that encourages your personal practice with the teacher guiding you."

Alonso and her staff teach traditional Hatha yoga, which emphasizes breathing and quieting the mind while performing physical poses. An average of 25 classes are taught weekly at various times of the day, whether students want to ease into their daily routine or wind down from it. Classes range from the extremely gentle level of restorative yoga, which involves only five or six poses supported by props to Shakti flow, which is more energetic.

Classes are limited to 25 participants each to allow for plenty of personal space and so that instructors can provide more individualized attention when needed. Shakti offers many complimentary perks with comfort in mind that are not found at most yoga studios, such as cold and hot reverse osmosis purified water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and storage cubbies. There are even mats and towels available, free of charge.

Another unique feature is the studio's floor, which is made entirely of tatami zebra mats. The material guards against slipping, is padded for comfort, and is spill resistant as well. It's not only easy on the feet but also comfortable to lie down on. Classes also incorporate light essential oils, chanting, pranayama (systematic breathing exercises) and meditation to further enrich the student's experience.

Next month the center will receive a special welcome to downtown Garland by the Chamber of Commerce. Held on July 1 and 2 at the center's location at 604 Main Street, the two-day celebration will include special yoga classes, meditation and massage classes, and more. Current students may attend classes this weekend for free.

According to Alonso, yoga delivers several health benefits that cannot always be obtained from other forms of exercise. It improves posture, range of motion, and increases bone density as well as bringing peace of mind. In opening Shakti Yoga Center, she hopes the Garland area will discover the transformative power of yoga just as she did 15 years ago.

"Before yoga I used to be reactive," she said. "I now listen with an open mind and strive to be fully present in every situation. It has given me a treasured manifestation of my Dharma (Soul's Purpose in Life) to enrich other peoples' lives in the community, and create a yoga family."

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