“ I have been a member of the Shanti family since day one. Over the years people have come and gone, but the basic principles have remained the same. No gimmicks or trendy classes that deviate from solid, basic yoga instruction and a team of gifted caring instructors who have always combined the essentials of a physical and spiritual practise with a sense of playfulness and propriety that makes any of the studio’s safe and nurturing classes a gift to oneself.Over the years I have been a tree, a mountain, a pigeon, a triangle, a warrior and a happy baby. I have had eagle arms, been a cow and had lion’s breath. I’m not a kid, I’m overweight and less active than I should be, but when it comes time for yoga class, those descriptions are meaningless and I am thoroughly in the moment, often hoping that the class will never end. I cherish my time at Shanti. Both fellow students and staff are really like another family. There is a palpable feeling of love and sincerity in that little studio at the top of the stairs which I wouldn’t trade for anything! And the hugs that greet and say farewell to us are sincere, loving and they epitomize the total environment of the studio. Oh yes, there are jelly belly’s and almonds as well. Congratulations on 10 years. Don’t change a thing!
Shanti has been a place where I have always felt welcomed. Given that I live on two continents - mostly in the UK but occasionally with my Edmonton-based partner (now spouse) - this simple statement belies a truth about a reality that I find pretty challenging: living in two places can be very dislocating, uncomfortable, and a bit lonely even when your life is very privileged in many respects. For me, being able to walk up those stairs after 3 or 5 or 9 months has passed since my last visit, and know that I’ll be warmly greeted by friendly faces both known and unknown, is quite an incredible gift. I might have some butterflies in my stomach standing at the bottom of the flight but by the top I am back home again. I have been to several Edmonton studios over the past 8 years but none of them has the same vibe as Shanti nor the great combination of focus and laughter that Rene has inspired in all the teachers working with her. When I tell my Birmingham yogi friends about the atmosphere, the variety of teaching styles, the special events,and the fact that potlucks, chocolate, prosecco and red wine all feature in the latter, they are quite envious, even though we also have a lovely group and a wonderful teacher here. And as for Shanti, where else could you turn up to a class and be handed a clutch of home-grown tomatoes, or be addressed by a special “yoga name”? Happy Birthday Shanti and Shanti-goers - have an extra glass for me!
It is what I would call a solid 4.5 star experience. In other words, I give it a 9 out of 10.
I have never found a place that compares to this!
I was brought to Shanti by a synchronicity in the form of a storm trooper. One day in the Spring, while considering my return to yoga after a few years away from the practice due to a sports injury, I thought that I should check out that little studio next to the Starlite Room, above the pizza joint. I’d been to several other studios before, but something about that little downtown spot had me curious. I wanted something close to my home and work, and something different than what I’d found before. Then, on that same day, I received an email with a picture of a storm trooper in side crow pose, and an offer to celebrate Jedi Day with a May-the-Fourth-Be-With-You special on a monthly pass (I had never received an email from Shanti before, nor had I joined the mailing list). Taking this as good sign, I went to the studio to try one class, and I discovered this lovely little community of teachers and students, almost like a local pub but with asanas instead of pints. The casual, family-like comfort of the studio and people, along with the small class, and the genuine and attentive teacher (Rene on that first day) had me hooked. Since then, I’ve enjoyed three classes per week at Shanti, and I’ve come to feel a real bond to the place. I go on good days, bad days, and in-between days - sometimes happy, sometimes sad, many times something in between, and each time, I settle into the present, embodied calm and vigour that is yoga, and each time I leave the studio feeling more comfortable in my body and spirit.Many things have kept me coming back to Shanti, but the most important of these have been the teachers - I’ve been able to have classes with all but two or three of the teachers, and each one has brought at the same time a unique individuality and a genuine, human authenticity. Whether that’s Rene’s humour and tenacity, Dawn’s earthiness and intensity, Savannah’s contemplativeness and youthful feel, Brea’s glow and refinement, Kyla’s realness and mellow vibe (it was a restorative class), Kat’s energy and flare, or Tori’s buoyancy and laugh, I’ve enjoyed and been enriched by them all. The yoga instruction itself has been awesome, always different and expressive of each teacher’s unique personhood. I look forward to classes with the rest of the gang, too, except for the sunrise set (I have limits). Yoga is to me an ever-unfolding practice, and I’m grateful to have found such a warm place as Shanti in which to explore and play with that unfolding. Something funny occurs to me as I type these last sentences: at a class just last night, Rene was asking if anyone had a particular pose they wanted that attracted them, or one that just seemed cool. I said that the side crow pose looked crazy cool to me, and then wondered afterwards when the last time I’d seem someone do that pose… it strikes me now… it was the storm trooper! Seriously (and funnily), that’s cool… I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Shanti and the community that centres in that little space over the pizza joint. Thanks, Shanti!
It’s my go-to yoga space when in Edmonton!! Amazing staff, great studio, beautiful space!!
I have been going to Shanti for over 7 years now, some of those years more consistently than others. But despite the breaks, long or short, each time I walk in the door, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was there. There is almost always a friendly familiar face to greet me, usually followed with a warm hug. I would echo the kudos people have shared, but perhaps a personal story - A very personal memory I have of Shanti involves a time during which my dog got sick and passed away. I had come to class to distract myself and to be somewhere that felt good. That day Zoe Stikeman was teaching. For those of you who know Zoe, you will know that she is one of the kindest, warmest, most sincere, and thoughtful people out there. You can’t help but feel good when Zoe is around. I went to class like any other day and never said anything about what was going on in my personal life. When the class finished and we came into Savasana, I just started to cry. I wasn’t sobbing or full-on weeping, but my breaths were long and there were tears running down my face as I lay there. I could remember thinking “oh no, I hope nobody notices”, I don’t think I have shared this story with Zoe (sorry!!!), so to this day, I don’t know if Zoe actually did notice, or if it was just her intuition that told her I needed a little note love that day, but she walked by me and just gently placed her hand on my arm for a lingering moment and then carried on. There was no panic or attention drawn to me, just a gentle touch. I felt instantly better. Though there have been happier moments and memories at Shanti, this one kind of sums up my experience there. To me, Shanti and it’s people are the perfect thing at the perfect time - just what I need. Its a place I can feel safe and be myself. It’s a place I’ve struggled, enjoyed and grown. From crying in Savasana with Zoe Stikeman, to laughing and grunting through poses (and watching horribly awesome bad action films) with Tori Lunden, to having Rene Johnson keep me honest in my practice when I start to get complacent - it’s just what I need. I recently got married and anyone who has had to deal with culling a guest list will appreciate the significance of this, but I had almost an entire table that included people from my Shanti family! Whether it was people who work there, I met there, or people who I met through people who work there…my Shanti family made the cut! Yoga and my Shanti family have helped me to bring me to the happy place that is m y life today and I couldn’t imagine celebrating such an event without them. And you better believe they were the last ones left on the dance floor that night. Gratitude!
I had been dabbling with yoga off and on for years. I liked it but didn’t really have a clue about... well, anything really. I just knew I liked how it made me feel. The thought of going to a yoga studio was never an option because I’m cripplingly shy and introverted. Until I got my first taste that is.Yoga studios are scary, so when I heard about yoga at the AGA I didn’t even hesitate to register. I figured that was a safe place. NO ONE would be comfortable there! Which made me more comfortable.I started with a buddy who dropped out halfway through the session, but I never looked back. Yoga in a group setting was amazing! I found myself counting the days not for the weekend, but for those 50 minutes on Thursday.I needed my yoga fix more than that but I still didn’t dare go to a studio. It took 2 gallery sessions for me to man up and ask Tori what to do next. Through email of course, because using my voice would cause me to crawl out of my skin and die. Naturally. (I didn’t even mention to her that I had destroyed my left deltoid and couldn’t lift my arm before the second session, because I’m an idiot and couldn’t use my words.)Anyhoo, she pointed me towards a few studios around my neighborhood which included Shanti and after a bunch more time bitching and moaning about how I love yoga and want to marry it, but it would never work out because I’m insecure, my partner booted me out of the house and off to my first class. Where I proceeded to have a panic attack in the parking lot as the deep dish neighborhood folk watched.Turns out it’s awesome at Shanti. I pronounced my fear aloud to Brea and Kat as soon as I slunk in and no one was mean or judgy! Amazing! It was all in my head!It doesn’t have a “gym” mentality which I discovered later on once I got brave and explored other studios. Everyone is just super chill, honest and wickedly sarcastic, which is something I can totally get behind.I haven’t been at this long, but I’ve already learnt so much from everyone. Teachers and students alike. Whether they know or not; and have noticed massive change about myself, inside and out. I’m still awkward as fuck, and find myself panicking in the parking lot occasionally, but whatever. I know that as soon as I get into the studio nothing else matters.I hope you guys keep it up for another ten years because I’d like to tag along if that’s cool?Xoxoxo
Hmmm well it’s hard to remember exactly how it began but I’m certain the major component of significance that lead to my loving Shanti started with Jenika’s brainchild of having a decolonizing yoga class. Over the year and a bit it was running we had some really intense discussions about the origins of yoga and the nature of a respectful practice, how to keep yoga accessible to all income and ability levels and hosted a space where people contributed as a group to co-create an experience like none I’ve had anywhere else. I think of Shanti as my “home studio” now because it is weird and welcoming and wonderful. Shanti is prepared to ask the tough questions and then follow through on living the answers. I’ve learned more about the way my body works and some of the neat things to do with it that look simple but are actually super challenging (looking at you Tori and Brea). The special events keep things interesting (I especially appreciated the valentines gathering) but don’t pander to peoples expectations. Somewhere between the jellybellies and rooftop community garden I ended up with a squishy feeling about Shanti and its location.
Shanti Yoga. #2, 10026-102st, Edmonton, AB. 780.421.9444