Yoga Trade Travel Rep! May 2016

Shannon Handa is a RYT-500 yoga instructor who was based in San Francisco, California where she taught private, corporate, and group classes. Shannon loved all the yoga that San Francisco had to offer, but she wanted to continue to expand her practice by experiencing how yoga was practiced elsewhere. She decided to leave her life in San Francisco and created her project called Yoga Across the Globe.

Shannon travels to teach and practice yoga in different countries to explore the similarities and differences in how it’s approached. Her aim is to help bring yoga communities together, remind people why they practice, and become aware when yoga is being presented as a product rather than a lifelong practice. She writes about her travels on her blog to share her experiences with fellow yogis.

In her travels so far, Shannon has taught workshops and classes in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Gent, and Paris. She sees teaching abroad as a wonderful opportunity to share her practice with others, as well as continue to grow as a teacher.

Teaching students who didn’t have any familiarity with her or her teaching style, gave Shannon a fresh perspective on her classes and what she hopes to impart to her students. She structures her classes to present students with the tools to feel empowered, vibrant, and compassionate towards themselves and others. Shannon always encourages students to “Meet yourself where you are. Be kind. Be you.” She will be announcing classes in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Czech Republic for May and June 2016.

While practicing at different studios, Shannon noticed that overall there are more similarities than differences. Because at the end of the day, we all get onto our mat for the same reason, to connect.

Since embarking on this project, Shannon has gained a deeper connection with her yoga practice. Not in the physical sense however, but in the sense of really living yoga in her day to day life. Some lessons she’s learned so far:

  • Traveling itself has a way of pulling you right into the current moment, whether you’re celebrating the experience of being in a different country or dealing with frustrations that can arise from not speaking the same language as those around you. Don’t get stuck on labeling experiences as positive or negative, just be in them.
  • Getting back on your mat after traveling for 13 hours is a humbling experience. It puts what your practice is really about into perspective, it’s simply about connecting to your breath and creating space where there is resistance. It’s not about getting into any fancy poses, because at that point, a simple twist will be more than enough. 
  • Remember to take a moment to step back. It’s natural to have a long list of things you want to see or do when you’re in a new place, but remember to also bask in the sweetness of doing nothing. It’s like hitting a reset button and will only help you further appreciate your activities later.


Yoga Across the Globe | Instagram