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Yoga Interview Series: Shannon Taylor

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

This lovely goddess came into my life when we began our 200 hour yoga teacher training program together at Yoga on High. Shannon Taylor has a smile and laugh that light up any space she enters. I’ve had the privilege of attending her class at Replenish ,which is a beautiful and welcoming space if you haven’t yet been! Her class is upbeat, and has the best music! Shannon has always had a natural knack for teaching, but it has been such a pleasure to experience Shannon grow as a yoga teacher (and yoga student).  Shannon is also a dedicated and proud mother and wife, and is committed to supporting the youth of central Ohio in pursuing higher education. Get yourself to one of her classes if your schedule allows, you won’t regret it! 🙂

(And Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there – including YOU, Shannon Taylor!♥)


Shannon Taylor // Teacher at Replenish


Tell me a little about yourself in a few sentences. 

Yikes, a few sentences? This is hard because I’m a talker…lol!

I am a wife, mom, daughter, big sister, yoga teacher, educator, and friend! I am a bridge builder and peace maker.  I’ve been told I’m goofy, (I do love to laugh)! I love to dance, love my family, love the work I do and love yoga!


Where do you currently teach? 

I currently teach at Replenish Spa Co-op in Downtown Columbus.  It’s a donation-based studio owned and operated by two beautiful sisters and their AMAZING mom! I teach on Monday nights at 6 PM. I teach private classes and have recently been asked to teach classes to youth in different programs.  I am hoping this grows into something bigger.  Everyone needs yoga!



Where did you do your teacher training? 

I completed my yoga teacher training at Yoga on High in Columbus, Ohio.



What style(s) of yoga do you teach? 

Vinyasa. I’d like to think [I teach] a slower flow, but some of my students would beg to differ.  I definitely try to include meditation and pranayama in each class.  I love candles, incense and essential oils!  I believe each yoga class should be a FULL sensory experience!



When did you walk into your first yoga class? What kept you coming back? yoga class was the yoga video Yoga Live with Elana Brower and produced by Russell Simmons!  My first REAL live yoga class was in the basement of a tennis center.  She had candles and pretty good music.  It flowed and felt REALLY good.  She always had a message/theme and I always left feeling really good!  I made all of my friends come and try her class and even made a playlist for her. I kept going back because I liked how I felt after class.  I got in a “workout” pushed myself through discomfort and felt refreshed.  I thought savasana was AMAZING from the very beginning.  It’s ALWAYS been my favorite part of class! I found Replenish about a year after I started practicing and Chanelle (one of the owners and the primary teacher at the time) was AMAZING! I found that many of the things I was learning on the mat, translated to my life off the mat.  I always say I like my yoga with a little sermon/ life lesson and she always brought it!



What is your advice to a first timer? 

My advice to a first timer is to let go of any expectations!  Connect to the NOW and Be Present! Have an open mind and heart…Listen to your body and your neighbors mat IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS! Do you!



At what point did you decide you wanted to teach? 

I think I knew after my first few classes.  I imagined what my classes would look like – candlelit, bass booming, breath, and movement! I wanted to create a safe space that would resonate with people…particularly students who looked like me, to feel comfortable and practice yoga (not something I’d see in the classes I attended). Often times when I practice in different spaces, I am the “only one in the room” or I’ve brought my friends and “we” are there… OR if there are other people of color in the room, we are running to connect with one another because it’s not something we see in every class.  It isn’t something that is intentionally done (I am sure), but I am not sure what or why it is like that…but I do know that representation matters! I (along with a few friends) are definitely trying to diversify the face of yoga!



Yoga with or without music? If with, what kind? 

Both really.  Sometimes I like the quiet and focus of breath. Often times in my home practice I go without music.  Just last week in my Monday night class, my music wasn’t working and we had a silent class. I got a text later that evening saying that it was really nice and [the student asked if we] could do that every now and then. That being said, I LOVE music!  Music with a strong bass beat: hip hop, neo-soul, r&b, rap, electronic, new age yoga. I’ll listen to it and if it resonates with me, I’ll add it to the playlist! I am looking for music EVERYWHERE! Shazam is getting lots of use in my life.



Why yoga? 

Seriously?!!  I feel like a better question is WHY NOT YOGA?  When I first began practicing yoga (concurrent with a running regiment), a good friend of mine was so excited for me! I remember her saying, “you can run for a while, but YOGA…you can practice yoga for a lifetime!”  There are so many pieces of yoga that translate to everyday life, I really can’t imagine my life without it. The benefits are endless! The feeling you have when you leave is addicting.  Before TT I really could name it, but knowing that yoga is yoking the mind, body and spirit, It is really EVERYTHING that I need!



Who or what currently inspires you? 

God, my family, my students (school and yoga), my yoga family/mentors, Dr. Chelsea Jackson, my uncle Barack and Aunt Michelle (lol, Obama that is 😉 ), my ancestors….Work being done with underrepresented/marginalized communities.



What do you enjoy doing “off the mat”? 

Spending time with people I love! Watching my daughter play basketball, watching my husband coach basketball, chatting with my son who is away at school. Laughing, reading, listening to podcasts (#staywoke), shopping, running. I also REALLY enjoy my 9-5 at a local nonprofit whose primary focus is to provide college access to Columbus high school students. #iknowican


Favorite Pose? 

Man… high lunge, warrior 2, headstand are DEFINITELY in my top 3!


Least Favorite Pose? 

Not sure now…Yoga Teacher Training has opened my eyes to all the benefits of each asana and I somehow try to find comfort in discomfort.  BUT, it DEFINITELY used to be utkatasana!!!!  chair pose used to get at me!




Yoga Interview Series: Laurie Gyurko

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

Laurie Gyurko is the founder and owner of Balancing Owl Yoga studio in Dublin, Ohio. Since I don’t leave my Grandview/Downtown/German Village bubble that often, I haven’t had the opportunity to experience Balancing Owl, but I am hoping to get out there soon! Balancing Owl Studio offers gentle yoga to a more power flow vinyasa, including some more unique styles that aren’t offered as widely around town, for example Kundalini yoga. Laurie also is certified in iRest. I HIGHLY recommend Kundalini and iRest if you’ve never tried them.


Laurie Gyurko // Balancing Owl Studio


Tell me a little about yourself in a few sentences.

Out of college, I spent 3 years as a High School teacher and then 15 years as a Corporate Trainer and Project Manager. One of the things I taught in High School was Entrepreneurship so I knew very early on that someday I wanted to own a small business. I have been married to my husband for 20 years and we have 2 amazing kids- ages 12 and 14, as well as, a dog, cat and many other small animals.


I know you own Balancing Owl Studio in Dublin. How did that materialize? 

I began facilitating women’s retreats in 2013 with my business, The Balancing Owl, LLC. These retreats were designed to create experiences to help women find life balance including yoga, meditation, a mindful book club, art, silent nature walks, nutritional guidance, etc. In Dec., 2014, I began hosting my retreats at Nurture Yoga and also became the studio manager and began to teach separate, weekly yoga classes. In April, 2016, I became the owner of Nurture Yoga. Later that year, I changed the name of the studio to Balancing Owl Yoga to more align with my vision: holding space for others to connect, find peace, and become empowered to live the balanced life they deserve!


Where did you do your teacher training? 

I received my RYT200 yoga teaching certification from Laurel Hodory at the Yoga Training Center. I received my iRest Yoga Nidra certification from Yoga on High. I received my Reiki Level 1 & 2 certifications from master Reiki teachers here at my studio.



What style(s) of yoga do you teach? 

I was trained in Ashtanga & Hatha. My favorite class to teach is a Slow Flow Vinyasa, which I teach twice a week at my studio.

At what point did you decide you wanted to teach yoga? 

I was first exposed to yoga on vacation in Grand Cayman at a beach resort years ago. When I came home, I found a beginner series and was hooked. I also explored Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga. Soon after, I decided to go through teacher training and began teaching yoga in my retreats.



What is your advice to a first timer? 

For first-time yoga students, I always tell them to accept where they are today as they begin their yoga journey. They were drawn to yoga for a reason and can trust the process.


For first-time yoga teachers, I encourage them to teach their first class as soon as possible after teacher training so they don’t lose their nerve. I also tell them to respect their learning in training, but to also listen to their inner spirit to guide them in their teaching and evolve as the teacher they were meant to be.

Yoga with or without music? If with, what kind?

I know there is a lot of discussion about this topic. I feel that yoga can be great with music, music with lyrics, and without music at all. The teachers at my studio use a variety of these options and I think it’s great! I personally like to teach with music of all kinds depending on what I feel the students need. If I sense students are having trouble getting out of their heads, sometimes music can help them relax as they breathe and move. Other times, it can distract them from listening to their own breath and inner guide, and I turn it off; especially during shavasana.



How has yoga impacted your life?

I could write a 10-page essay on this question alone but to summarize, yoga has helped me discover my true self, find more authenticity in how I live, and helped me maintain life peace and balance. It also now allows me to provide space at my studio and in my classes for others to do the same.



What do you enjoy doing “off the mat”?

I find great joy spending time with my active kids and husband, being in nature, and walking my dog in the woods.



Favorite Pose? 

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold). I do this several times a day to help me reconnect and maintain my life balance & breath.



Least Favorite Pose? 

Sirsana (Headstand). While other people seem to love this pose, it doesn’t feel good for me, probably due to my short humerus bones. I’ve tried making modifications to make it work and haven’t yet had success.



Yoga Interview Series: Anna Schott

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

Anna Schott opened Renew Wellness in 2012. Renew Wellness, which now has 2 locations, combines traditional therapy with other methods of healing, such as yoga and meditation. I was first introduced to Renew when one of my former colleagues (and fellow yoga teachers), Katie Gilbert, decided to join the team at Renew full-time. She gave me her business card when she left our company, and I remember pulling up the Renew website and thinking what a cool concept it was! A few years later, one of my best friends, Jessie Andrade, also started teaching yoga at Renew and I was reintroduced. I have since attended a few classes and their studio in Gahanna. It is a very cute, intimate, studio. I was so excited when Anna reached out to me to get involved in the interview series!


What type of yoga do you teach? 

I primarily teach Vinyasa and gentle yoga.


Where do you currently teach? 

I currently teach at Renew Wellness.



Where did you do your teacher training? 

I did my yoga teacher training at Studio Om.




Can you tell me about Renew Wellness Center that you own? 

Renew Wellness specializes in working with individuals who would like to improve their emotional and physical health through mental health therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic services, yoga, and other specialized wellness interventions. Renew Wellness recognizes how real change comes from connecting the mind, body, and spirit to improve an individuals’ overall functioning.


Why Yoga? 

Yoga helps connect the mind, body, and spirit and helps students ground in themselves and stay present and mindful.



When did you take you first yoga class? What kept you coming back? 

I took my first class when I was 18 years old in college.  I loved the way it made me feel, the physicality of it as well as the meditative qualities of the practice whether it was a flow class or a slower, gentle class.



What is your mission as a yoga teacher? or What do you hope your students take away from your classes? 

My mission as a yoga teacher is to help people discover their best self in their practice, and I want them to take this experience off the mat and into their every day lives.


Who or what inspires you right now? 

Seeing people grow and change inspires me right now.  It is an amazing experience to watch people discover their best self.



What is your favorite pose? 

My favorite pose is chaturanga.  When I practice it, I feel powerful, strong, and like a badass.



What is your least favorite pose? 

My least favorite pose is crane.



Walking into a class for the first time can be intimidating! What advice do you have for people who want to try yoga, but are hesitant? 

Part of practicing yoga is challenging yourself without judgement.  We want you to experience an environment without judgement where you can do that on the mat, and hopefully take that challenging mindset off the mat.




White Wine Asparagus Pasta

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017 in Entrees, RECIPES, Uncategorized

I was staring at the pile of asparagus I bought out of excitement that it was coming back into season. I looked at the partially full bottle of white wine I had leftover from a dinner I hosted. (I don’t drink). I tried to come up with something I could make with the two and this pasta dish was born!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe. I was awaiting inspiration…and this recipe is it! I made it as part of my weekly food prep 3 of the last 4 weeks, which I never do. Usually I make a dish and don’t revisit it for several months because I crave variety in my food, but I could not get enough of this!

Veggies + Pasta are usually a win-win. Plus it smells DIVINE when it’s cooking or when it’s reheated. My coworkers kept asking what I was eating for lunch. NOM.

I keep at least one box of Banza in my pantry at all times for easy meals. I’ve found a lot of bean based pasta are kind of slimy, which is a totally gross description, but true! Lez be honest…but Banza is quite tasty, and only has 4 ingredients! I poured vegan Parmesan “cheese” over this, which makes it even better! Hoping to get that recipe up here soon too! 🙂 The parsley gives it a nice little kick.

The pasta keeps and reheats well for about a week, so it’s great for leftovers or lunches! Hope you love it as much as I do!

White Wine Asparagus Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A quick and easy go-to veggie pasta dish!
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • 8 oz Pasta
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ Medium Onion, minced
  • 4 Tbsp Ghee/Vegan Butter
  • ¾ C Dry White Wine
  • ½ Bunch Asparagus, chopped into 1 in pieces
  • ¾ C Peas
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper , to taste
  1. Cook the pasta per instructions on the box.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, saute garlic and onion in the ghee in a medium pan until fragrant.
  3. Add white wine, chopped asparagus, and peas to the pan. Bring to boil and allow the liquid to cook down for a few minutes.
  4. Drain pasta when finished cooking and place in bowl.
  5. Pour pan contents over cooked pasta and mix thoroughly. Mix in chopped parsley.
  6. Enjoy!
I typically cover this in vegan Parmesan cheese made of cashews. It will likely need some additional salt if no parm is added!




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