Review: Shakti Vinyasa Power Yoga Studio

Originally, I wanted to try yoga because I heard it’d be good for improving my tennis game. However, after trying a couple tree poses and downward-facing dogs during a match and losing the point, I came to the conclusion that it’s more of an indirect benefit.

Yoga practionioners entering the plow pose

Yoga practionioners entering the plow pose

Just Starting
Last November, I signed up for the Intro Series at Shakti Vinyasa in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood…mainly because it was nearby. I thought I would try it and see how it goes. Before starting yoga I imagined a room full of people sitting for hours with their hands together going “Ooooooooommmmmmm” while listening to music featuring sitars. Thankfully this is not the case. Well, part of the case but my initial concerns proved wildly inaccurate.

Choosing Shakti
It turned out to be serendipitous that I selected Shakti Vinyasa as I didn’t know about the widely differing styles of yoga. Vinyasa, ashtanga, bikram, svaroopa, kripalu. Those words were all Sanskrit to me. At the first class I envisioned a lecture-like environment where we were instructed on the different poses. I guess I expected a how-to class. Instead, it’s a DO class. Shakti turned out to be EXACTLY what I wanted. Right away they have you going through the motions of the basic poses. I also quickly learned that this particular style, power vinyasa, means tying your motion to breathing. And there’s a LOT of motion. I’d call it an atheletic workout rather than a class. Because it totally kicked my asana. The poses were uncomfortable, it was painful, I sweat buckets, I was sore for days, I was HOOKED!

Next level
For the past 5 months I’ve been going once or twice a week. The Intro Series prepared me well for the next level, 1.5. I learned all the poses and got a good feel for what I’m capable of. The 1.5 series is a gret next step. It amps up the intensity appropriately. I’m still having problems with the crow pose and the wheel but there has been incremental progress (though I won’t be doing a headstand anytime soon). What’s really been great is feeling the improvement while still finding it challenging. There are so many variations that no matter what shape or level you are in there’s a workout to be had.

In an effort to be balanced, I will offer some criticisms. Occasionally they stuff a few too many people into the classes. I think they should limit the class to 7 students to a row. I’ve been there when it’s 8 and that’s a bit too tight. However, there’s something to be said for group energy. When everyone is going through what you’re going through it can keep you motivated. The instructors do a great job at this as well. I’ve had many: Lisa, Stephanie, Dora, Anna, Melissa. All are unique and all are excellent. (In fact, the instructors are probably why Shakti is so good and should have been mentioned earlier in the review.) The only other complaint I have is the class schedule. Specifically, it’d be great if it fit mine better. The 5:30 pm 1.5 class is tough for me to get to in time. But with the classes as popular as they are, I doubt my schedule makes a difference.

Regardless, it’s doing the trick. Overall, I feel much stronger, more flexible, and balanced. I hope to be able to go more frequently than just once a week. Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll try a crow pose mid-point and win this time?

Yoga tips for first-timers:

– If you’re just starting, go ready to work out and feel a little bit silly.
– Don’t eat too soon before. You’re in all sorts of twists, angles, and elevations.
– Get a good mat.
– If you’re hands sweat (they will), get a yoga mat towel to go over the mat. I would slip all over the place without this.
– Wear something you’d be comfortable sweating (a lot!) in.
– Have fun!

About Shakti:

Shakti Vinyasa (
Shakti West: 2238 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107
Shakti East: 10245 Main St. Main Place Bldg S 104, Bellevue, WA 98004

Named “Best Power Yoga Studio in Seattle” voted by Seattle Magazine, March 2009

SHAKTI is a Sanskrit word meaning the creative, transformational energy in all of us. SHAKTI Vinyasa Yoga studio was created to inspire students to discover this unique power within them. It is our mission to provide consistent, quality, and excellent yoga instruction so students are empowered to tap their full potential. We provide a safe structure and supportive learning environment where you challenge your physical limits, shift your mental perspective, and awaken your true spirit.