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Our life experiences and traumas can sometimes create sharp edges, but through a mindful practice, yoga has given me the clarity to see the softness and gentle curves of life.

I began my journey into yoga looking for a challenging workout. I have always been physically and emotionally active. I was stressed out and full of internal conflicts and apprehension. I operated under the assumption that if I wasn’t beating my body up then it wasn’t worth it. As my yoga practice evolved, I have learned to love my body and take care of myself through compassion and mindfulness…rather than challenging my ego. I believe that yoga can be accessible to anyone when they open their heart and begin where they are, not where they think they should be. One must cast aside judgment about how it’s “supposed” to look and honor how it feels in their body.

Much like my mat supports my physical practice, I have found that the love and support of the Yoga Shelter Community is irreplaceable. Yoga is a personal practice to connect with the highest version of yourself, but you are never alone!

Hey everyone, thanks for checking out the Shelter! This life has been a crazy ride so far. For many years I was searching for something but was looking in all the wrong places! I was definitely heading the wrong way and was very self destructive and confused. Over four years ago I was injured in a car accident that left me with a broken back, sternum and almost thirty stitches in my face. I was in a lot of physical and emotional pain and knew something had to change…ME! After trying many different types of therapy and still having acute pain some friends suggested that I try yoga and it changed my life! The physical practice has been really beneficial for my overall well-being but the philosophy has created the biggest shift in my life. Looking inward for happiness and peace, taking full responsibility for who I am and self reflection are some of my daily goals and are the foundation of the Yoga Shelter. Realizing that there is no one else to blame for who I am is incredibly liberating because it means that I have the power to change. Although I have to do this hard work my self I also know I’m not alone and that is what Sanga (community) Yoga is all about. I have had the chance to meet some really incredible, inspiring people here and there is a very welcoming vibe. Through this practice of yoga I hope to one day live a selfless life and truly be of service. So please come check out one of the many fine teachers at the Yoga Shelter and join the fam!
Hello everyone! To me yoga is all about connection. When I was 19 I was diagnosed bi-polar and spent the next 8 years of my life in a constant struggle with my mind. At the age of 27 I had assumed that life had passed me by and that I may as well just give up. I was stuck in a toxic workplace and in a very dysfunctional relationship with a person who made me feel useless. Despite all of this I woke up one day to realize that my life was actually just beginning. I got out of that relationship, started working out and eating healthy. I really felt like I was on my way. But something was missing. Then one day I asked my sister about good workouts and she said “why don’t you just come to yoga with me.” We left for the Yoga Shelter about an hour later and my life was changed forever. I remember stepping into class expecting a workout and getting so much more. I was questioned on if “I was reaching the highest version of myself?” That one moment set everything else into motion. I started attending classes very regularly and they did wonders for my body (helping me stay focused and losing 75 pounds). But it was the study groups that allowed me to stick with all the changes. The Vedanta philosophy allowed me to realize just how much attachment was a part of my life and that by developing my intellect I could continue to work on myself even more. Soon I was part of a community that I felt understood me. That didn’t judge me on my past addictions or disorders but that was ready to accept me for who I am. More so it allowed me to hold myself accountable for everything I do and accept who I am. I could never fully express the gratitude I feel to everyone that has been a part of this. The one thing I know for a fact about life is that it will have its ups and downs. However, with the connection I share on and off the mat at the Shelter I know that I can get through anything. In the end we are all connected. By stepping into the studio we share that search for our highest potential. I can’t wait to share my energy, love, and passion with everyone that walks through the doors of the shelter! So come in, connect, and help create a positive space of growth. Namaste
After personally experiencing a sense of unfulfillment after reaching benchmarks believed to lead to happiness, I began a self-exploring journey with the support of classes and mentors at Yoga Shelter. As a new student, I signed up for the very first Yoga Shelter 30 day challange. Completing this challenge helped me to find a sense of fulfillment that was not achieved from reaching other life goals. Upon completing the 30 day challenge, I began working the desk at the Birmingham location. Within 3 years, I have transformed my life by transitioning from desk staff, to assistant manager, to manager, to director of administration, to teacher. I work to stay dialed into the Yoga Shelter community with the hopes to serve and help others find a sense of fulfillment that can only be found on an inward journey. Namaste!
Can somebody pinch me? I think I’m dreaming! I walked into a Yoga Studio shortly after starting my dream job that had me traveling the world and working insanely long hours. I needed a new “workout” and thought I’d give it a try. Even though I loved that first class and kept coming back, I had no idea what yoga was preparing me for. With each new pose I learned and each class that led me to cry in pigeon pose (EVERY SINGLE TIME), and each new “yoga buddy” I made, it was all preparing me to really live…to feel and be in every moment, to be me! On that day, if someone had told me that I would quit that job and own my own yoga studio some day, I would have laughed. Now, I am exactly where I need to be and surrounded by so many others in this community who are also. There is a ton more work to do and I am so thrilled to be here doing the work!
I found my way to yoga because I was struggling with really bad anxiety and was desperate to find relief. Yoga helped. And the more I dug in and did the work, the more I healed. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. It helps you spiritually and mentally. And it helps all of us find the best expression of ourselves.
I spent years studying many different yoga disciplines – Iyengar, Bikram, Ashtanga, Anusara – in Boston, Miami and New York, but it wasn't until I walked into the Yoga Shelter that I felt at home. There is such a positive and good energy about this place. It attracts and comforts those who walk through its doors. It is a safe space for all. And it teaches us life skills that we can apply in all that we encounter.
Teaching yoga has become a natural evolution for me - a way to give back and help guide others as they work through their own self-development. And it holds me accountable to be my best self in my own life journey.
I hope to share a class with all of you soon. The light in me honors the beautiful light in all of you.

Wherever you go, there you are…truer words were never spoken. I struggled for years trying to “find myself”, my path in life. Moved across the country, even crossed the pond for a few years, searching for something to fill the void. The only constant in my life up until now has been yoga. I attended my first yoga class over 20 years ago at Wayne State U. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into (yoga wasn’t as popular back then) but after that first class I was hooked! I have discovered through a regular yoga practice and with Yoga Shelter’s Life Training that happiness and fulfillment isn’t somewhere else or with someone else, it is already within me… Wherever I go, there I am. Being truly in the moment gives me the courage to know I will never be someone other than who I am, and that who I am is absolutely wonderful.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

See you on the journey to enlightenment while both on and off the yoga mat,


"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails." Jimmy Dean

I discovered Kiteboarding in 2010 and fell in love with it, it has led me to many new people, sports, and experiences - one being yoga. As a dedicated father of 2, and a hard worker at Chrysler, Yoga brought me the balance and peace I needed in my busy life.

I have always believed that true grit and amazing grace can help you overcome anything in this life. I Erin Paradise am living proof.

I showed ponies and horses throughout my life , teach children's tennis and extra curricular activities , taught step aerobics throughout university and I am also a play therapist for autistic children.
At the age of 26 I had a massive stroke that paralyzed my entire left side, 3 months later I required open heart surgery.

My fitness regime was halted.
This was a defining moment in my life, my awakening. I used my yoga and the magic it brings on and off the mat, with each deep breath I nurtured my left side to bend and stretch and wake up and thrive.
True grit and and the grace of the universe have restored my health , filled my soul and the beat of my heart.

For the last few years, I have been running outdoor, high intensity, interval trainings.
My intention is to inspire others physically, to be the best they can be. As well as inspire people mentally and spiritually to live with focus, purpose and intention.

As Mya Angelou so gracefully said,
' My mission in life is not to merely survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion and compassion and some humor and some style.'

My name is Annette Aquino, I have practiced yoga since 1998 after an injury running a Marathon. Not only did yoga help me overcome my injury but it lead me to a new journey discovering the world of yoga. I have been committed to my yoga practice since and it has carried over into my life in more ways then can be explained. As an instructor and osteopathic physician I bring wisdom to the studio with a deep passion for the benifits of yoga at any level. I am thankful to be a part of the Yoga Shelter and look forward to sharing this gift of practice with you.
I started practicing yoga in the early 2000s: as a new and busy mother, it gave me a chance to get a great workout, slow my mind down and focus on myself all at the same time. Yoga has been part of my life ever since; after each yoga practice I feel regrouped, rejuvenated and stronger. Yoga balances me and helps me in all areas of my life. When I joined the Yoga Shelter, I immediately noticed it was a different kind of studio, attracting and welcoming a wide range of students. I loved the music during classes and the variety of classes offered. The Yoga Shelter is about building a community where everyone is welcome and supportive of each other, creating a non-intimidating space where teachers and students alike can grow. I hope to see you soon at the Shelter, come grow together, come find a better version of yourself!
In 2007 I was introduced to yoga & a door opened. In 2009, I trained to become a teacher at Yoga Shelter & life began. While teaching, I trained to be a life & wellness coach. Between yoga & coaching, I've helped 100's of clients create healthy routines & habits to promote better body function, weight-loss, better sleep, less stress, positive outlook & overall well-being so they could manifest their dream lives! In class I'll encourage you to listen to your body, challenge yourself when applicable & most importantly, show up for YOU. When we show up for ourselves, we unlock our potential for high vibration living! Whether you are a beginner or seasoned yogi, I offer modifications for each participant to get what they need. Hope to see you soon! Imagine the possibilities.
For me, like so many others, yoga began as a physical workout that brought me sweat, muscle tone, and the endorphins I was chasing after. But slowly, yoga shifted from solely a physical practice to the place where I could finally quiet my mind. A place where peace, temporary as it may be, could be touched every time I hit the mat.
Aside from yoga, I facilitate Dance Meditation Technique and work as a health coach. Both influence and expand my practice and style of teaching and continue to fuel my desire to help others help themselves into the best life they can live.

Sharing a space where others can find a bit of that peace and bloom into their most bountiful, beautiful self is an incredible blessing and privilege. Hope to see you in class soon!

I found yoga half way through my undergrad at Wayne State University. For as long as I can remember I suffered from sever stress and anxiety. At the age of eighteen I was told I had extremely high blood pressure related to stress. I'd never really been the type of person to work out in a gym and after hearing about the number of benefits of yoga including reducing stress I figured I should give it a try.

After my first month of practicing I began notice subtle changes in my everyday life. It wasn't until I found the Yoga Shelter that I began to develop a consistent practice. Not only was my body growing healthier but so was my mind.That year I decided to attend a RYT 200 training and it forever changed my life. As a philosophy major I began emerging myself in Vedanta, a spiritual philosophy that strengthened my yoga practice and understanding. It just made sense and gave me the knowledge to continue shedding unhealthy behaviors and relationships and develop a new connection with myself. My entire life I have searched for a way that I can help people and yoga has helped me find that within myself.

Now as a teacher nothing fills me with more joy then giving my students the motivation to challenge themselves physically and mentally both on the mat and off. Yoga has become more than a practice but a lifestyle, one that has allowed me to connect with a number of magnificent individuals. Yoga has improved my life more than I ever imagined and I can only hope to be able to share this practice with as many people as possible.

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