Brandon Compagnone
Naima Workman
Vanessa Ross
Grace Griecci
Matt Shamey

Brandon Compagnone

I have been teaching Baptiste Power Yoga since 2003. As a part of the Leader Teacher Faculty for the Baptiste Institute, I lead Baptiste programs around the world.

I grew up in Milford, MA, studying Goju-Ryu Karate at my father's karate school from age 5 to 17. I began wrestling at the age of 13, and became obsessed. I loved it, but it left me injured and disconnected from my body. In my search for healing, I practiced Kundalini and Iyengar yoga in college, and began to connect to the suffering that is part of the human condition.

After graduating from U-Mass Amherst with a degree in psychology, I ended up selling real estate in Boston. I was making a living, but it was unfulfilling. Knowing I needed to return to the yoga mat, I picked a studio randomly off the internet and miraculously landed in Baptiste Power Yoga in Boston. My first class was like returning to a long-lost love. That is the day I reclaimed my life and remembered my work. I felt like I could do anything. I started running marathons and ended up participating in the Boston marathon seven years in a row.

I continued to practice day in and day out and was amazed to find how healing it was physically and emotionally. Over time, I transformed my pain from an obstacle to a stepping stone for a new attitude toward life. As a teacher, my intention is to wake my students up to what’s possible for them in life, beginning with the potential that’s available when living in healthy body with an inspired heart.

Naima Workman

I arrived at my first Baptiste Power Yoga class in 2002, when a friend brought me to one of the original Baptiste studios in Boston. I was looking for a good way to stay in shape, and instead I found a practice that would completely transform my life.

I started running long distance when I was 11 and enjoyed the physical challenge and the success, but did not enjoy the injuries that left me limping by the end of high school. When I went to college at Harvard, my physical discipline went out the window. Needless to say, by the time I graduated, my mind was overloaded and my body neglected.

When I first encountered Baptiste Yoga in Boston, I felt like I had discovered a home I hadn’t known existed. Although it kicked my butt (and still continues to do so!), I felt invigorated in mind and body. As I continued to practice, I realized that I had to share my discovery and signed up for my first teacher training with Baron Baptiste in 2006. I have been a certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga teacher since 2010. In 2007, I quit my job as a graphic designer and moved to Northampton, MA, to open Shiva Shakti Power Yoga with Brandon.

In my classes, I encourage students to challenge themselves sensitively and to discover the tools they need to explore on their own. I look at teaching as just another step in my studentship and an opportunity to share my experiences of growth and discovery.

Vanessa Ross

I have been practicing yoga off and on since 1994 when I took an Iyengar class for a college PE requirement. When I discovered Ashtanga yoga a few years later, I fell in love with the Sun Salutations, with the flow of the postures and their devotional connection to the natural world.  Though over the intervening years, my ability to attend classes was limited by becoming a midwife and then a mother of two, I kept coming back to yoga for the energy and peace it brought to my body and mind. I practiced at home and with a variety of teachers and tried almost every style of yoga out there.

In 2011 I was suffering from chronic pain due to a herniated disc despite practicing several times a week. A teacher from another studio suggested that I try hot yoga at Shiva Shakti. I had never understood the appeal of practicing in the heat, but I quickly began to experience the incredible therapeutic effect it had on my back pain. After only a couple of months, I was seeing my chiropractor less, felt my body becoming stronger and more balanced, and discovered I had "grown" a half an inch. I was hooked. I went to a Baptiste Immersion later that year and felt even more inspired to deepen my practice. When Brandon and Naima planned their first teacher training, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it, and I have been honored to teach at Shiva Shakti since receiving my 200 hour certification in February 2013.

Beyond the physical benefits of the practice, I love the way Baptiste Yoga connects our practice on the mat to our lives off the mat, bringing together the physical and the spiritual, which is truly what yoga is all about. I have found that the more dedicated I am to my practice, the more benefits I reap in all aspects of my life, particularly when life becomes most challenging. Becoming a teacher has been an amazing experience for me as a student of yoga and of life, and I am grateful to be on this path with all of you.

bioGrace.jpgGrace Griecci

I first came to Shiva Shakti in 2010 after my gym closed unexpectedly. I was especially sad to lose the sauna and gentle yoga classes, so a friend suggested heated power vinyasa. After my first class I experienced an unfamiliar sense of calm and peace in my mind and body. I returned, faithfully, every Sunday morning for the physical workout and the emotional release, but soon realized the practice was offering me much more—I felt alive, present, and hopeful about meeting the challenges in my and my family’s life. Since then the practice has opened me up to profound connection to myself and to others.

This ongoing transformation motivated me to participate in the Shiva Shakti teacher training in 2015. I wanted to share the power and potential of Baptiste Power Yoga with those around me, and after completing the training, I established a weekly yoga program for students ages 3 to 12 at the elementary school where I teach preschool. I love to see a child experience the excitement of doing something they didn’t know was possible for them, whether it be stillness, balance, or a difficult pose. Every time I teach or practice yoga I am reminded of how committed I am to inspiring others to access their power and goodness.

I completed Baptiste Level 1 & 2 Teacher Training in 2017 and 2018 and I am thrilled to share my love of the practice with the Shiva Shakti community. I truly believe that Baptiste Power Yoga is a transformative experience, allowing every student to realize their potential as a kind, compassionate, strong, and loving human being.

Matt Shamey

I started practicing at Shiva Shakti consistently in 2012 when I was training for my first marathon. The heat made the postures accessible to my tight muscles and the emphasis on cultivating awareness rather than simply striking pretty poses made the practice appealing.  I remember leaving my first class and walking out of the studio still sweating—washed clean mentally, emotionally and physically. I was hooked.

My running shifted; there was less suffering and more enjoyment as my body began working in a more efficient and integrated manner.  I began to question my perceived mental limitations and when it came time for the marathon, I was ready.  The fears and doubts came, for sure, and I let them pass. That year, I won the Holyoke marathon.

Inspired by the possibilities offered by Baptiste Yoga, I enrolled in the Teacher Training at Shiva Shakti.  Soon after completing the training in 2016, I began working and living internationally, leading semester-long experiential education programs for recent high school graduates in Latin America and East Africa.

Since returning home, I feel fortunate to share my practice with the Shiva Shakti community. My intention as a teacher is to create space for mental and emotional healing through the physical practice, ultimately leading to personal transformation and empowerment.

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