What is Yoga With Shawna?
The name came after I graduated my yoga teacher training while I was still a writing professor at a few local San Diego colleges. I knew I needed to call myself something so I thought, "Hm...Yoga With Shawna?" If nothing else it is clear and straight forward." I bought the domain name, and then everything else sort of fell into place. If someone would have told me I would have opened a yoga studio and do much more than teach yoga then, I would have never believed it. Even the whole process of creating my logo still makes me smile. Someone randomly approached me asking if I wanted a logo designed for free because she was experimenting with designing logos. She thought "Maybe this could be another side job for her." and so I was her guinea pig. I thought “Do I really need a logo? Ah ok.” It is still a trip to me that that logo has been featured internationally a number of times in magazines and at festivals in front of thousands of people. I started a business without realizing I was starting a business: I was so non-attached and just let things come as they were. This is what the mat has taught me, and this is truly why I believe I have had success in my yoga career. I have no business experience. All I have is my heart and the teachings of all the medicines I have learned throughout the years and remembered that lived in my soul. The yoga teaches me how to have a business without being conditioned or stressed by the business world.
Yoga With Shawna started on June 21, 2012. I found reiki, plant medicine, crystals, and many other healing modules just to help myself throughout the years: I began sharing what helped me with others. Little did I know I would quit my job and become a full time healer back then. You can’t fight or hide from your destiny.
I certified hundreds of people in Reiki and Yoga from my living room. I gave hundreds and hundreds of healings for 6 years out of all of the different apartments I lived. My cute, little dogs would sit on my clients as I gave them reiki. I provided donation-based classes for 5 years every day in Mission Beach led by myself and my graduates of my teacher trainings. I taught outside and collaborated with many amazing yoga studios in San Diego and throughout the country. I always believed I didn’t need walls: the studio was in my heart wherever I would go. I could and would teach from anywhere, and so I did.
You cannot fight what you are destined to do. I saw San Diego Yoga Festival in a meditation. I started the festival in 2015. It had close to 1000 attendees in its first year, and its success-rate improved 300% in its second year. I knew I outgrew my living room, and so I opened an official yoga studio in July 2018. This studio is simply yet powerfully my heart enclosed in walls. It is a is a donation-based yoga studio offering pay-what-you-want yoga and meditation classes every day, the United State’s first Reiki Clinic offering $25 community style private Reiki sessions a few times a week, and a yoga and energy school offering various certifications in energy healing and yoga along with internships for graduates of the certification programs. It specializes in yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, plant medicine, Reiki, sound healing, crystals, and connecting the mind, body and soul. It is also the home-based of San Diego Yoga Festival.
I’d be honored to see you in the space. My heart is open to you.
Who is Shawna?
"Crazy anxious, out of my mind, I started taking anti-depressants to control the fear. Frazzled knowing there had to be something more, I googled, "yoga" on the internet to find an 85 year old yogi from India offering classes two blocks from my home.Being there was not much holistic health in NJ at that time, and the only yoga I knew of as offered once at a week at a gym, I knew this experience was part of my destiny.
Shanti (that is his name, which also translates to the word "Peace") and I sat in his apartment week after week. Him dressed in all white, radiating a sense of peace my so young and scared mind couldn't even comprehend. It made me feel uncomfortable how at peace with the world he was. I thought, "This has got to be bull shit. I bet he screams in a pillow every night. No one is this zen."
I smile at the person I was then close to a decade ago. We would "Om" and chant as he played his harmonium (which back then I referred to as a funny-looking- accordion-want-to-be). He told me stories of Atman and Brahman. He gave me a tongue scraper. We would do various breathing exercises. I remember thinking, "This shit is weird, but it's kind of working."
One day, I felt strong. My heart was growing bigger than the anxious thoughts in my head. I asked Shanti when we were going to do yoga. He asked me what I meant, and then I replied with deepest ignorance: "You know, when are we going to do a downward dog?" He smiled in pureness and told me we were doing yoga. He warned me to not go to the gym and take yoga there. Naturally, I didn't listen and I enrolled in a class the next day. Immediately I realized he was right as I was sweating and judging myself trying to keep up with everyone around me. There was no mind-body connection: all there was was ego and stress. I understood, at that moment, that Shanti was heaven sent showing me the rawness of this medicine not what society has created to sell or market for a "perfect body" in expensive stretch pants.
Shanti wrote 8 books on yoga philosophy. I read them all cover to cover. Most went over my head. Some resonated deeply in my heart. I still reference these books today as a teacher. Some, still, go over my head. More resonate deeply with my heart. I consider my time with Shanti in New Jersey my first yoga teacher training. I sat with him and the yoga many times throughout the months. I did it solely to try to take back my life as I had lost it to anxiety, over-worrying, over-working and hypochondriac behavior. The yoga, it reminded me of all that I am: a human who's birthright is to feel peace and live in love.
The yoga made me so strong I decided to start listening to myself: I trusted a gut feeling and moved to San Diego without a serious job lead or a single friend in the city. I left everyone and everything I ever loved because my soul felt it was unexplainably right. Looking back today, I know it was the yoga at pulled me here. As I shifted coasts, I connected deeper with my practice. Classes in California were different than my time with Shanti, but the yoga will provide its medicine regardless of how it is delivered.
I took a yoga teacher training out of curiosity. At the time, I was a writing professor at a few local colleges: I loved this job and had been doing it for years. I wasn't looking for a career change, but I remember a few times taking a yoga class and thinking "I suck at yoga: how could I be a yoga teacher?" I then remember thinking "Why would you ever think that thought, Shawna? You're not going to be a yoga teacher." It's funny how the subconscious mind already new my destiny, but my conscious mind was so full of judgement and confusion.
I looked at my then, barely existing, bank account. I had just enough money to enroll in a teacher training. I remember waking up one morning knowing I had to enroll, so I emptied my account At this time, I also believed I wasn't "good" at yoga: I couldn't do any of the hard poses and honestly, I often felt like I was going to faint when I would take a sweaty, fast-paced class. I was embarrassed that I signed up for a yoga teacher training because I didn't think I was good enough: I remember avoiding my teacher because I didn't want to admit to her that I was going to actually do this. Stronger than all of this ego-created-illusion, though, was my heart: it knew that yoga saved my life and I wanted to know how. I knew I needed to take this training to understand how yoga worked and where it came from. I never intended to be a yoga teacher. In fact, I remember being the "under dog" in my yoga teacher training. Do you know I actually showed up to the first class with a pilates mat instead of a yoga mat?
You can trust that what you are destined to do, where you are destined to be and who you are destined to love will fall together without any permission from you. I was immediately given a job when I graduated my teacher training because a studio needed someone to teach desperately. I remember telling all the other people in my training to do it. No one wanted it, and so I accepted. Months later I was given the opportunity to build a yoga studio within a music shop. A year later, the universe provided me my own yoga business. Now, I have led thousands of classes, certified hundreds of people, have a book published in India, and have created various yoga businesses provided powerfully healing experiences in many ways.
It is an honor to be a yoga teacher. It is an honor to help people remember who they really are. It is a privilege, and I am forever grateful for this practice and those who have helped pass it on to stood the test of time to exist in my current world.
Shawna Schenk, the founder and creator of Yoga With Shawna and San Diego Yoga Festival is an internationally recognized, local San Diego yoga teacher, Reiki master, author, and spiritual activist leading classes, workshops, teacher trainings, retreats, and festivals throughout the world. She is certified in various types of yoga including Hatha, Vinyasa, SUP Yoga, Yin Yoga, Ayurveda, Naam Yoga, and Shakti Naam Yoga and has countless other degrees and certifications in various schools of healing in energy medicine, shamanism, and sound therapy.
Shawna has a Masters in Writing Arts and two Bachelors in Education and Sociology. As a full time healer, she has created and currently leads over 7 teacher trainings all recognized by the Yoga Alliance, including a powerful 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. She teaches certification courses in all three levels of Reiki (Level 1, 2, and Mastership Levels 3 & 4) online at www.ReikiCertifications.comand in person. She has authored a number of books including internationally recognized and published in two languages, "Yoga for Teens."