Just minutes from Key West's hectic "High Street" Duval, sits a quiet little yoga haven...
Shakti Yoga provides a healthy and relaxing atmosphere, moments from the more bustling tourist area. This beautiful studio, complete with dark hardwood floors and large windows allowing the Florida sunlight to stream in, is also located close to the beach! Rushing and arriving a few minutes late (finding parking can be killer in Key West - apparently even at 5:45am!), I assumed the door would likely be locked since class had already started. But I was pleasantly surprised by the open "island style" welcome I received! The door was left open for late comers (although ideally you should be on time)!
I waited outside the class space for the group to finish their opening chant before slipping into the back row. Our teacher, Tara McCabe, was friendly and welcoming. On this particular morning, I was joined by 8 other dedicated yogis, ranging in yoga abilities from beginner to advanced.
Tara provides a beautifully led Vinyasa Flow class, with options for different levels, accompanied by lovely yogic music. We moved throughout some difficult postures and I felt myself working hard. But she was also careful to balance our hard-work with a little relaxing yoga bliss. The class was only 55 minutes long so we couldn't fit in all the range of poses, but Tara did a great job combing sequences and fitting in quite a lot in a short timeframe!
At the end of the session, I also couldn't help but notice the effort and passion put in to decorating the studio. Painted flowers adorned studio beams, paintings and sculptures were on display, and a few yoga outfits and accessories were available for purchase.
After class, Tara made a very kind gesture in coming over and thanking me for waiting for the group to finish their chant before entering the studio. Her sincerity was so genuine and I felt a sense of community in this little class.
Life on Key West could not get more perfect if you ask me! Later that morning Tara was taking a group out to for "Paddle Board Yoga"! (Read The Huffington Post's 10 Reasons to Do Paddle Board Yoga here). I was very bummed it was my last morning on the island and I couldn't join her class.
As we walk out of the studio, the owner, Sofia Artola was running in to teach a small group of private clients. Everyone looked so happy & friendly, donning what I will call the "Key West Island Shakti Glow".
After I say my goodbyes, I watch with envy as Tara and some other yogis from class strolled down the street sharing a laugh asthey headed for a locally known breakfast spot around the corner. What a beautiful start to the day.
Man, I wish I was staying in Key West just a bit longer...
For more information on Shakti Yoga read here: http://shaktikeywest.com/
Other yoga studios on Key West (I did not have time to try them all!):
Yoga Key West - http://www.yogakeywest.org/
Key West Yoga Sanctuary - http://www.keywestyogasanctuary.com/
Lazy Dog (Tara's Paddle Board Yoga Classes) - http://lazydog.com/index.php/paddleyoga-and-classes