I recently got to ask Shanai a few questions about her stance on teaching with Urban Lotus Project. Enjoy!
Q: What do you think about ULP’s reach/effect ? How do you see ULP benefitting the community?
A: I think ULP has made a big impact in the yoga community in Reno. Almost every yoga teacher that I know here in Reno has heard of ULP. I see so much more growth and awareness here in Reno about ULP. I think ULP will continue to grow offering more classes to people dealing with difficult times in their life, maybe even eventually offering classes to special needs children, more group homes, meditation practices for the everyday person dealing with stress/anxiety.
Q: What makes teaching yoga in this capacity interesting or fulfilling to you?
A: I love connecting with our community through yoga and possibly offering a sense of peace and stillness for someone through yoga. I like the idea of giving back by volunteering my time to teach someone yoga. Offering yoga, breathing exercises and meditation practices might even stick with someone throughout their whole life!! Which in turn, gives them tools that they can use in the future to help them get through an emotional or trying time. I love the possibility of letting someone know that they are perfect just they way they are even if everything is not perfect around them.
Q: What is different about your ULP classes versus other yoga classes you teach?
A: I like that we get to actually practice with the students versus in the studio setting, it's much more instructing than walking around the students to possibly make an adjustment or stay our of the students dristi. Practicing with the ULP students makes me feel more involved and connected with them. I feel a little more relaxed in my ULP classes because there is a sense of tenderness that I have towards the ULP students.
Q: Do you have a fond memory you can share with us from one of your ULP classes?
A: I loved at the end of one my classes a student thanked me for the class and told me that she felt much more relaxed and a lot of her joint pain was gone. I also remember one of my classes that I taught, we practiced how to get into a beginner crane pose and the next time I taught that class again, one of the students was so excited to share with me that she had been practicing crane pose almost everyday and had made progress in the posture. It made me so happy to know that taking the ULP class inspired her to practice on her own by herself.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of ULP and other similar programs around the country?
A: I hope ULP continues to grow and make a huge mark in the Nevada Yoga Community and maybe even nationwide someday.
Q: Lastly, what have you learned through your experience thus far with ULP?
A: Teaching with ULP has helped me to not take teaching yoga SO seriously. I've learned that every yoga teacher is a unique and special yoga teacher. I've learned to let the students find their own flow and their own practice. I've learned to just relax and be a guide for them. It's helped me to relax while I teach my yoga studio classes as well.