Shala Living Yoga helps Zags de-stress and find their inner zen | Arts & Entertainment

Personal care is a key part of campus culture. From mental health to physical wellbeing, there are many avenues offered by Gonzaga University to take care of oneself.

The folks at Shala Living Yoga are looking to take that to the next level.

Located on 412 W. Boone Ave., Shala has been partnering with GU since 2014 to offer yoga classes to students. Zags can partake in this one credit, physical fitness elective, giving them a complete doorway into the world of yoga. With access to an unlimited amount of classes per week, students are able to try out a myriad of practices.

“I want to give people the opportunity to really see what it will be like for them to have a regular yoga practice,” said Ara Lyman, owner of Shala Living Yoga.

The studio focuses on the practice of tantric yoga, which pertains to worldliness and seeing one as a divine being.

Many of the classes at Shala Living Yoga aim to help bring union and balance within oneself. With two main rooms – the hot room dedicated to classes like Hot 26 and Kundalini fitness and the goddess room which hosts classes focused on introspection – students have endless opportunities to take different classes, and to figure out what practices and styles resonate with them the most .

“We get up in the morning, and we do a practice called Sadhana, and that’s related to my Kundalini yoga system that I love to practice,” Lyman said. “We will do mantra – like, a lot of spoken word phrases kind of grounding [ourselves] in a specific mantra that we do, and we will do it for 30 minutes. We’ll do warm up exercises, and then think for 30 minutes. That’s amazing. ”

Prior to her time as the owner of Shala, Lyman had a long, eye-opening journey to where she is now.

“I started doing yoga about 20 years ago,” Lyman said. “I had tendinitis in my hamstrings, and couldn’t really get physical therapy for it. I used to go for long walks, and I would run, and then walk, run, and I couldn’t do that anymore, so I found a VHS tape and I started doing this tape called “The Joy of Yoga,” and right away I loved it. ”

She soon followed being a student of Alison Rubin at Harmony Yoga in Spokane. Since then, she has completed multiple instructor certifications, including a 200-hour certification through The Yoga School of Spokane and a 200-hour Radiant Body Kundalini yoga certification from Kia Miller.

Following her certifications, Lyman went on to teach classes at the now closed Yarrow Yoga for five years before a short sabbatical. She then went on to purchase the original Shala Living Yoga from her previous owner with her partner. Things were going well until the pandemic hit.

“I lost my space there because they sold the building, and basically, I was asked to leave because they were going to turn it into condos,” Lyman said. “It was a really weird series of events. We were live streaming everything because of the shutdown, and I knew that wasn’t sustainable. ”

Thankfully, the stars lined up for Lyman, as Yarrow Yoga closed its doors last July, around the same time Shala Living Yoga made the transition online. As other studios began opening their doors during the vaccine rollout, Lyman purchased the old Yarrow Yoga location, coming full circle.

For students, the facility offers them a multitude of opportunities to care for their wellbeing.

“They were super welcoming,” said GU senior Grace Strutzel. “The staff walked through the door and immediately answered questions, and then they just walked you through everything.”

As an instructor, Lyman derives much joy from knowing that the studio serves as not only a place of physical improvement, but also as a place to take care of one’s mental health.

“Students that have learned to tap into that, they always tell me how much it has helped them,” Lyman said. “Their grades and everything even though they’ve taken this extra time to go and do that, they feel like it’s actually created more quality time for [the students] in the long run. They function better, they can think better, their projects are better, their writing is better because everything is clearer. “

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