Becoming proficient in yoga is far less intimidating once one understands the decorum, such as not encroaching on others' mat space or celebrating newly acquired poses with victorious choruses of "God Bless America". Fit in with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a four-week beginning yoga course at The Yoga Shala in Winter Park (a $90 value).
After earning a prestigious yoga certification in India, Krista Shirley unfurled her yoga mat hoping to spread the physical and mental benefits of authentic Ashtanga yoga in her studio, The Yoga Shala. A four-week beginner class, slowly dips students into the cool waters of yoga practice, giving them ample time to acclimate to foreign postures, breathing techniques, and muscle groups that have lain dormant since kindergarten Red Rover tournaments. A slow, comprehensive introduction immerses students in Ashtanga, progressing as the weeks pass, preparing students for regular practice and the tendency to reply with zen-like proverbs when loved ones ask about impending dinner plans. This class was created for individuals with little to no experience; one-hour stretch sessions occur multiple times a day Monday–Friday, except for new and full moon days, when instructors are known to morph into namesake animals of favorite poses.
Dedicated instructors grant students individual attention in the 2,100-square-foot studio space with tile floors and richly hued walls in deep purples and greens. Although not included in the value of today's Groupon, yogapprentices in need of mats or apparel, can peruse the attached retail boutique.
The Yoga Shala
When Krista Shirley decided she wanted to seriously pursue yoga, she traveled the world to learn the craft, studying in Thailand, Scotland, and India. After multiple trips to India she was eventually certified there, then returned to Florida to open Yoga Shala. The ashtanga-focused studio primarily holds two types of classes: led ashtanga, wherein students of all levels follow instructors through a series of postures, and Mysore ashtanga, for which students are given one-on-one instruction in a group setting. True novices might consider starting with the two-week Beginner Intro workshop, which gives more in-depth instruction on individual poses.