Shonali has been singing and dancing since she first wiggled her way out of the womb. From the moment she could reach the keys, she studied classical piano. She received her B.F.A. in Drama from Syracuse University in 1996. Upon moving to NYC in 1998, Shonali found solace, strength and profound expansion through yoga and chanting. These practices supported Shonali while she was shifting away from the world of acting. In 2002, after a bicycle accident, Shonali quit her stressful job in downtown Manhattan, and still recovering from injuries, completed Alan Finger's 500 hour ISHTA yoga teacher training program. She became Director of ISHTA's Yoga Teacher Training programs. During this period, Shonali sang with a group of wise earth-honoring soul-seekers actively exploring chants from a multitude of traditions.
Shonali apprenticed as an herbalist in the Wise Woman Tradition furthering a long-standing connection to the natural world, aligning herself with the natural cycles of the seasons & the moon. After moving to Paris, France in 2004, Shonali studied therapeutics & women's health with the illustrious TKV Desikachar and taught private yoga full time. In 2005, Shonali began teaching prenatal yoga. Shonali relocated to Atlanta in 2010 and soon thereafter completed a second 500 hour training with the Pranakriya Yoga school and is now a certified Yoga Therapist. Shonali teaches regularly at local yoga studios and offers private yoga sessions to any and all who are curious about yoga and it's healing potential. You'll find Shonali chanting mystical songs & harmonies in the vibrant Atlanta chanting community and until 2017 in a beautiful partnership called Mantra MA! Shonali supports Centering Youth, a non-profit bringing yoga to under-served populations throughout Atlanta.
Shonali's classes are open to everyone! Connect to your breath, flow and hold within unique sequences that encourage steady and safe alignment. Strengthen, challenge & expand honoring your individual process. Soften, play, and nurture creating a solid foundation of ever-present support. Honor the seasonal changes, what's happening culturally, and the moon cycles.
In Shonali's classes, you'll encounter chanting, pranayama (breath work), mudras (positions of the hands), visualization, chakras awareness, a wide range of music (Bjork, Al Green, Juana Molina, Krishna Das) paired with mindful silence & sacred poetry. Shonali sings you into a blissfully opening final rest creating an expansive experience every time you practice. Shonali loves teaching! especially restorative yoga and meditation, making the most quiet practices accessible to the busiest of folks. With reverence for the unique process of each individual, Shonali encourages students to make the practices their own. Listen, Receive, and Nourish From Within. In perpetual gratitude to the many phenomenal teachers who have inspired her: her students, her family, Alan Finger, TKV Desikachar, Carrie Wykoff, Robin Rose Bennett, Rachel Zinman, Erich Schiffman, Mark Whitwell, Hillary Cohen, Tias Little, Marlysa Sullivan, Yoganand Michael Carroll, among others! ... Namaste.
credentials & trainings
2003, Certified as a 500 hour yoga teacher with Alan Finger, ISHTA Yoga in NYC.
2005, Began teaching therapeutically primarily one-on-one with clients.
2006, Studied Yoga Therapy with TKV Desikachar in India at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai and in Austria with a focus on women's issues and healing with mantras.
2008, Registered with Yoga Alliance as E-RYT 500.
2013, Certified as a Yoga Therapist through a 500 hour program with Pranakriya Yoga (registered with IAYT, the International Association of Yoga Therapists) in Atlanta, GA.
Sacred Thread's Teacher Spotlight
What is your favorite yoga pose and why? Has it always been that?
I love handstands. Handstands saved my life. About 5 years ago, my 2nd child was born and I had post-partum depression. Practicing handstands helped propel me out of that deep funk. It has certainly not always been like that. Handstands used to terrify me. It took me at least 5 years of practicing yoga before I had the strength and courage to even try hopping up at the wall. I still experience fear of falling when working handstands in the middle of the room. I prefer to work at the wall where I feel safer and can still gain many of the benefits.
What got you hooked on Yoga?
I got hooked on yoga lying in savasana. I recall so clearly being told by my teachers to accept myself as I was in that moment and I remember feeling enormous waves of relief that I could soften within myself. Listening to my teachers chant also hooked me in. The chanting brought me to a place where I could connect to something greater than myself.
Favorite Atlanta restaurant?
The latest hot spot in Decatur is the Kimball House, and I LOVE it! I've been going there since it opened because it reminds me of the restaurants I used to frequent when I lived in Paris, France. Great cocktails, fabulous ambiance, and delicious food all close to home.
Favorite Atlanta outdoor activity?
I love hiking Sweet Water Creek with my family. We pack a picnic lunch and wear our water shoes. Taking my kids rock hopping into the middle of the creek is my favorite part. Since the water levels are always changing, it always feels like an adventure. Plus we see snakes, herons, adorable dogs and great people.
What does a typical Friday night look like for you?
I LOVE friday nights. I get my 2 kids from school & we hook up with friends for a happy hour drink. We go somewhere the kids can run around and be crazy so the "grown ups" can unwind from the week. Then, we let the kids stay up & watch a movie while we hang on the front porch. Somewhere between dinner & the movie there's usually a silly dance party.
Free 'shout out' to anyone or anything you love... GO!
Hmmm.... I LOVE walking labyrinths. Not mazes, but labyrinths. Labyrinths have one path to follow that weaves and turns, and that path ultimately leads you directly to the center. You can't get lost! Labyrinths are a powerful place to meditate and clear your head. Check out the Dancing Bear Labyrinth in Grant Park. It's a treasure right here in Atlanta.