WWW journey with Shanti Yoga
In the Indian language, the word Shanti means peace. This is exactly the vibe we got when we first arrived at Shanti Yoga. The place creates a staggering contrast between its outside location in Obour Buildings and the calm, relaxing vibe inside the center. With lights dim enough to automatically bring the participants to a naturally quiet state and meditation music that combines Indian beats and strings in a lovely blend of chill-out, the place is a welcome sight to sore eyes and stressed minds. In the words of Hany Samy, the owner and instructor, Shanti Yoga acts as a hub for yoga, meditation, spirituality and healing.
There are different forms of yoga, the most popular of which are Hatha, Ashtanga Vinyasa and Yen yoga. Shanti Yoga offers classes for all three types as well as Buddhist and Sufi meditation sessions and Pilates classes. There is also a variety of other options like emotional intelligence, life coaching workshops, crystal healing and Thai yoga massage classes.
We were welcomed by Hany, who instructed us to rid ourselves of our shoes and then walked us into the waiting room which was cloaked in warm colors. Everyone was offered drinks which they were not obligated to pay for, but donations were accepted regardless of their amount, the only thing Hany asks for is that cups would be washed afterwards and returned to their places. So unlike many places which offer similar services, this one is a self-serve place.
Upon the arrival for all participants in this session, we all went to the yoga room and took out our yoga mats which we have sprayed with cleansers ourselves and in preparation for the session, which usually lasts for an hour and a half but sometimes may be extended to two hours.
The yoga routine was both empowering and relaxing, starting out with stretching stances and moving on to more intricate ones that require more flexibility. We observed – and participated – as Hany instructed us through one stance after the next. The delightful reactions from participants who never thought their bodies could bend in such a way were absolutely engaging. Soon, everyone was encouraging each other to push themselves a little further and when they successfully performed a complicated stance the entire group would applaud them. The spirit and comradeship of the place were contagious.
After a surprisingly exhausting, yet very rewarding, yoga session, we were all treated to a session of meditation. This was the perfect final touch to finish off our experience.
Before we leave, Hany informed us that once every year or so, he goes to India. Although he has already been certified there as a yoga instructor, he still goes there to seek more education about yoga. In the Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Institute, he will learn on the hands of Pattabhi Jois’s son himself. During this spiritual trip which will take place from the first of December to mid-March, the Shanti Yoga center will continue to function – though on a slightly slower pace – with qualified substitute instructors until Hany returns from his trip.
All in all, our experience was delightful and we hope yours will be, too. Namaste!