By Gabrielle Fellows
“I spent a lot of time wondering how to serve the community, and I decided to finally do it through yoga, which is my passion and the passion of many others.”
Shannon Shugart is the zealous owner of PurYoga, a yoga studio in Boardman that opened its doors this past weekend.
“This company formed through my dream of wanting to benefit the community mentally and physically,” Shugart explained. “I’ve noticed that yoga is getting more popular over the years. It’s a newer concept to this area, and a lot of people of all ages that are becoming more aware of the benefits of yoga and wanting to dive into the practice. Yoga’s been growing for quite some time now, and I only see it growing more as time goes on.”
Shugart started practicing yoga around 20 years ago, claiming she became very involved with the activity for the last 17 years and became a certified yoga instructor in 2011. She explained that her passion was formed by a simple question from a friend.
“My friend, Congressman Tim Ryan, a few years ago asked if I had ever tried yoga,” she said. “That simple question made me curious and lead to me practicing at home, getting my license and lead to the opening of this studio. It was something that I fell in love with over time.”
PurYoga offers classes that vary in style and difficulty, designed so that individuals of all levels can get a workout that best fits their ability. Zumba, aerial yoga, prenatal yoga and power yoga — often referred to as hot yoga — are just a few of the classes offered at the new studio.
Lauren Verzilli, a yoga instructor at PurYoga, said that aside from the physical benefits that come from yoga, there are also many mental and spiritual benefits.
“Aside from the physical practice, yoga gives you the tools and the opportunity to quiet the mind. As long as you have the courage to be present and truly listen to your heart, you will start living in a way that will guide you to places that seemed impossible before,” Verzilli said. “Yoga is a constant practice; there is no finish line.”
PurYoga’s website, puryoga.net, has more information on signing up for classes, their prices and times. The studio offers a student and veterans discount — 40 percent off of any yoga package. Students in college and high school can also get unlimited yoga classes, minus aerial yoga, for $40 a month.
In the end, Shugart said that yoga is something that she loves and wants to share with the community, whether it’s people who have been practicing yoga for years or for those who are planning on trying it for the first time.
“If this is your first time, come in with an open mind. The hardest part is just walking in the door. Start in a basic class and work your way up,” she said. “There’s really a class for everybody. Yoga isn’t one of those things that you find — it finds you.”