Flow Together Yoga Center: Shani Stevenson’s Personal Journey Inspired Her to Empower Others
Mar 09, 2011 12:23PM
● By Beth Davis
More than 15 years ago, Shani Stevenson, founder and owner of Flow Together Yoga Center, was introduced to mountain biking. Although she enjoyed it, she always felt as if she couldn’t quite catch her breath. Then, a friend recommended something that Stevenson had never considered: yoga. She decided to try it and see if it helped her with biking, and the decision changed her life.
Stevenson started with a yoga video and immediately fell in love. “I felt completely connected to the fluid movement and flow,” she says. After practicing with the video, she enrolled in some classes and became even more enamored. Soon, she was a self-professed “yoga maniac,” taking five or more classes per week during the next few years.
One day, an instructor whose class Stevenson regularly attended asked her to teach as a substitute. Never having taught anything in her life, she was reluctant, but agreed. She dove in, and her unexpected ease opened the door to more teaching. Although exhilarated by this new role, Stevenson recognized that much of what she knew was gleaned from years of self-study. She wanted to “dive deeper” into her yoga practice to learn about the discipline’s history and earn teaching credentials.
In 2000, Stevenson enrolled at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, in New York, for a month-long, interdisciplinary yoga teacher immersion. During the next several years, she took classes and taught “anywhere and everywhere,” building a base of students.
After getting married and having two children, Stevenson says she fell out of touch with her personal practice. “It just wasn’t feeling right,” she explains. “My body was different, I was different—I just felt confused on the mat all over again.”
Her goal, says Stevenson, is to make people more aware of what yoga is — a mind/body practice — and to encourage the continual cultivation of their connections with each other and the world.
Just as she had done years ago, Stevenson turned to a video to jump-start her practice. The DVD, by Shiva Rea, a renowned yogini and the creator of Prana Flow Yoga, proved to be just the inspiration she needed. “I fell in love with her dynamic, fluid style,” says Stevenson. “My love affair with yoga started all over again.”
Stevenson spent the next three years carving out more than 300 hours of teacher training, focused on Shiva Rea’s style of yoga, and she was selected as a mentor for trainees enrolled in the yogini’s Prana Flow Teacher Training program.
Passionate about motivating students to use yoga as a means to authentically express themselves and move through their perceived limitations, Stevenson and her husband opened Flow Together Yoga Center in October 2010. The center offers a variety of classes, including Beginning Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Tai chi. Numerous specialty classes are held on the weekends, such as Kids Yoga PJ Party; Block It, using yoga blocks; and a Rasa Jam, where musicians play a variety of instruments and people sing, chant and jam.
Stevenson is recognized at the Yoga Alliance’s highest level of 500- hour standards as an experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT 500). She channels her countless hours of teaching, formal training and self-study into motivating practitioners to fully engage with what they love to do as they deepen the awareness of the relationship between their body, mind, heart and nature. Her classes are designed to draw upon inner strength, enhance natural fluidity and promote inherent joy. A music lover, she is known for her inspiring, eclectic choices in classes that are creatively sequenced, informative and fun.
Her goal, says Stevenson, is to make people more aware of what yoga is—a mind/body practice—and to encourage the continual cultivation of their connections with each other and the world. “I strive to empower people to love what they do, and do what they love.”
Location: 418 Bridge Street, in New Cumberland. For more information, including class schedules, descriptions and fees, call 717-774-1820 or visit FlowTogether.com. Above photo: © Dan Honnegar Photography.