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The POWER of Vulnerability

I want to talk about something. That word, the one everybody stays away from.
The big V-word.

I spoke to my whole yoga class about the power of vulnerability last night. How in the dictionary it is defined as "being open to injury or pain. To be easily hurt or harmed." I can completely understand why we are terrified of this word. Most of us have become vulnerable once or more times in our life but usually not by choice. Our walls come down in a relationship, at a job, and we get burned; sometimes badly. Our whole perception of vulnerability is that it causes pain, and why would we want to do something that image2_copyintentionally causes us pain? 
What we don't look at is the POWER of vulnerability. The shedding of layers, of that hard shell that protects all of our feelings, of ego, and we are afraid of being authentic, we are afraid to get naked.
We forget to look at the light that can come from choosing to be completely open.

There are many, many times where I second guess publishing my writings for all my friends and the world to read. I pour my heart out in my words and it is not an easy task to welcome others into your world. It takes a lot of self love to be vulnerable, which is a bitch of a task on its own. There were times where I would be told
"No, don't post that. Don't make yourself look weak. Don't expose your feelings, people don't need to see that."
Don't feel. Don't expose. Don't open. Don't be vulnerable.
When I wrote my first article this year my hands were shaking with fear, fear that people would reject my words, fear that I would get in trouble. But with hands shaking I posted my heart to the world. As if I ripped my heart out of my chest and stapled it to a bulletin board, for everyone to see.
I was so naked. Completely stripped. Totally vulnerable, but this time by choice.

I got massive amouts of emails and messages saying "THANK YOU for sharing your story. I TOO have felt that pain, I TOO have felt that lost, I TOO have fell down that fucking rabbit hole and I'm so happy to know that I am not alone."
Every single part of my mind, body, soul told me yes, yes, yes! This is what can come from a vulnerable state. We can touch people with our words, with our actions as long as they are authentic.
It is so easy to stay is a safe zone. To talk ourselves out of a situation that seems so uncomfortable to us. It's so easy to say "No, because I MIGHT get hurt." We say no to jobs, to friends, to LOVE. Instead of "YES, because I might find magic here."

We connect when we are completely open.
We are able to create where we are free.
We truly thrive when we can find this space of vulnerability.
There is always a chance of pain in life. This is inevitable.
There is also always a chance for an amazing, eye opening, heart warming experience, and if we settle for no, if we stay closed our whole life, how will we ever discover that?
We we born with open hearts.
Naked Hearts.​

Love and light,
Anjali Romaniuk

Partner Yoga

Downward Dog

The Downward Dog is one of the main poses practiced in yoga. It develops both strength and flexibility. When first starting, you may only be able to hold it for a few breaths, but try to increase that over time. It may look simple, but a lot is happening. This pose is both a forward bend and an inversion. Without kicking up into a handstand, the Downward Dog is a great introduction to the benefits of inversions.

1. Starting from the Table pose, move your arms forward about the length of one hand. Your hands should be shouder-width apart, fingers spread. Externally rotate y0043our upper arms. With your feet hip-width apart, tuck your toes under. Press into your hands and feet as you begin to straighten your legs.

2. Continue to straighten your legs (your heels do not have to touch the mat).
3. With your feet parallel, activate the muscles in your legs, and lift and spread your buttocks bones.
4. Energize your arms and stretch from your armpits to your hips. On your next exhalation, lower your knees to the floor.

• If you have a heart condition, refrain from performing this movement.
Things to think about

• Stretch from your hands to your hips, to create length in your spine.


If the back of your legs are tight, lift your heels away from the floor.


Yoga Shelter Partners with Forgotten Harvest.

Giving Season with Forgotten Harvest

Yoga Shelter is pleased to partner this giving season with Forgotten Harvest. Nearly 1 in 6 people and 1 in 4 children still face food insecurity in metro Detroit. This holiday season the Yoga Shelter community will come together to promote food security in metro Detroit.  From December 1-30, as we nourish ourselves through yoga we will partner with Forgotten HaIMG_20151122_083315rvest with special donations classes, new student specials, social media challenges, and existing student donation opportunities in honor of our current members.

 Forgotten Harvest “rescued” over 41 million pounds of food last year by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from over 800 locations, including grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, food distributors. This donated food, would otherwise go to waste, it is delivered free-of-charge to 280 emergency food providers.

 Our Yoga Shelter community is proud to be a part of helping to nourish the community this season. Yoga Shelter will support Forgotten Harvest in the following ways:

●      Look for Harvey at our studios. Post a photo with Harvey and the #sheltergives and Yoga Shelter will donate $1 to Forgotten Harvest

●      New and existing students who take at least 10 monthly classes in December will have $10.00 donated to Forgotten Harvest in their honor.

●      Each week we will host a donation class for Forgotten Harvest at our studio. All the drop-in proceeds will go to Forgotten Harvest.  5% of the sales proceeds before, during and after the donation class will be donated to Forgotten Harvest.

Check the donation class schedule:
  1. Saturday, December 5- Forgotton Harvest Donation Slow Flow Class with Suzanne in Royal Oak at 9AM
  2. Saturday, December 12- Forgotton Harvest Donation Slow Flow Class with Porchse in Birmingham at 11:15AM
  3. Sunday, December 13- Forgotton Harvest Donation Slow Flow Class with Elaine in West Bloomfield at 11:15AM

De-stress this weekend at Yoga Shelter...

Stress is a constant companion for many of us. With all that comes with our busy lives: technology, kids, school, work, sometimes we neglect the one person that matters—ourselves. There are many ways to eliminate stress, and Yoga Shelter is here to help with yours!
Some people get rid of stress with mind-consuming physical activity. If you’re that type of person, why don’t you join Brittney in her Handstand Workshop in Birmingham? She’ll help you turn your world upside-down and forget about everything you have to do Monday morning. Let the experienced Brittney help you safely see the world from another perspective-literally! This workshop is at 2 PM on Sunday.

If you need something more gentle to relieve your stress, come to West Bloomfield on Saturday and join the incredible Suzanne as she takes you through an Aromatherapy Yin Workshop. The flyer says Sunday, but it’s on SATURDAY November 14th at 1 PM in West Bloomfield. Suzanne will expertly assist you relax with essential oils and a savory Yin practice.

If you’re looking to continue relaxing this Sunday afternoon, or need a great cool-down after Brittney’s Handstand Workshop, join Marty and Kayla as they take you through a Yin class, a guided meditation, and a tea ceremony! Bring a teacup or mug that isn't of sentimental value to you for our sharing circle. During the season of giving, Yoga Shelter is proud to host events like this that not only help people take a closer look inside, but also give them a chance to donate to a wonderful cause. "Giving Thanks: Yin and Meditation With Guided Tea Ceremony" will be on Sunday at 6 PM in Royal Oak. Your $10 donation will go directly to the Oakland County Food Bank.

Scroll down for more details on these events and other upcoming events!

Click here for more details and to register.

Inversions Series

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- Handstands with Brittney Kanan at Birmingham- Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm - Fly & Flow with Brittney Kanan at Birmingham- Sun, Nov 29, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Inversions Series

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Teacher of the Month- Kayla Spray

"I began practicing yoga my second year of college to deal with the immense stress of balancing a full time job and school. Once I developed a consistent practice, I watched my life begin to transform and my anxiety decrease. After graduating from WSU with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science, I decided to attend Yoga Teacher Training. Since then, I have been able to share this practice with a number of students. My classes are intended to be both physically and mentally challenging to allow students to focus their attention inward. I am fortunate to have been given the ability to share this practice with many dedicated students as I continue to grow as a student myself. The practice of yoga is more than a destination - its a life long journey and am honored to share it with such a supportive community."

Kayla will be representing Yoga Shelter and teaching yoga on Oct. 15th at the Healthy People & Planet Wellness Festival!

Please join Kayla and Yoga Shelter at the Healthy People & Planet Wellness Festival at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. The event will offer exhibits, presentations and round-tables promoting healthy, holistic, organic, non-toxic, eco-friendly, natural, sustainable, plant-based, fair trade, alternative and/or green products, services and programs. Enjoy show specials, samples, music, door prizes, yoga, massage, wellness programs, food & drink concessions, and fun activities for all ages. Admission and convenient parking are free. Visit for details.

Venue information:
Royal Oak Farmers Market
316 East 11 Mile Road Royal Oak, M

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September Students of the Month: Sarah and Gayle Lewkow

This mother daughter team is our pick for Students of the Month

Here are their yoga journeys...


"When Suzanne Awan and I first met, there was an instant spiritual connection between us. Shortly after we were introduced, I learned she was a yoga instructor and I felt inspired to check out one of her classes. After attending one class, I immediately fell in love. I started practicing yoga every day, sometimes even 2-3 times a day. I was hooked. Yoga became my happy place. My place of safety, warmth, comfort and acceptance. Since I joined the Yoga Shelter, my practice has lead me on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. I have found yoga to be a very powerful tool for personal transformation.
Through yoga, I have established a deeper connection with my breath, mind, body and spirit. I have learned to have more patience with my faults and the shortcomings of others. Sharing this experience with my mother makes my practice even more special. I feel very fortunate to be able to do yoga with my mom as we grow together in our practice."

GAYLE LEWKOW (Sarah’s Mom)

"I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years. My husband, Elliot, and I were one of the very first students enrolled when Yoga Shelter." I LOVE practicing with my daughter, Sarah. I feel her energy, her breathing is extraordinary which inspires and helps keep me focused on the present. She has helped me improve my yoga practice in so many ways. She is diligent about going regularly and we encourage each other to try inversions, to strive to constantly improve and remind each other to take this yoga mindset into our lives off the mat.

I love practicing at Yoga Shelter as the West Bloomfield location is a beautiful Zen-like environment which is very welcoming for old and new members, young and old students. The instructors are knowledgeable, helpful and encouraging. Each instructor has they own style and they vary in their age and approach to teaching. I love the having the option of going to any of the other locations to take classes and experience other instructors. We feel very fortunate to have this home away from home in our backyard!"


Sarah & Gayle