Talk Radio With Heart & Soul

WRNP 1320 AM Radio Providence, RI

Alison Bologna, Serving Others Through Yoga, July 8, 2014

“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” Aadil Palkhivala

Alison Bologna, founder of Shri Studio and award-winning journalist, initially began Yoga to bring balance to her busy life when she was in her early twenties. It was during this time that she also got introduced to meditation. Although Alison does not always have time for a formal meditation practice she takes time throughout her day “even if it’s for two minutes. I know when I need it, I schedule it and I take the time and I become so much more productive on the other end.” Alison and her other Yoga teachers at Shri Studio teach mindfulness practices; “taking time out to breathe with awareness and to be present in the moment.” Alison has witnessed many changes in Yoga since she began teaching in 2006. “I have been noticing that a lot of Yoga practices have become overly physical and have taken out some of the spiritual and mindfulness pieces of it.” Shri Studio has evolved into a Karma Yoga studio, selfless service through action. She and her co-teacher of Shri’s Yoga teacher training, Cathy Cesario, try to instill in their student teachers the concept of self care. “If you don’t take care of yourself you’re not going to be of much use to anybody else.” The biggest lessons Alison has learned about herself through her Yoga practice is knowing her limits and having patience with herself. She chose to open a Yoga studio in Pawtucket to serve all people regardless of their socioeconomic background, physical, emotional or developmental challenges. Alison believes subconsciously her younger sister Jackie, who has a neurological disorder, has been the inspiration behind all of this. She has seen it improve the quality of lives of many of the students. One in particular is Alfred, “he can actually stand up on his own off the mat. He’s one of the most dedicated yoga students I have.” Shri gets most of its funding from community support and some grants. There is also a lot of collaboration with other local agencies and non profits. Shri offers the Path of Service Yoga teacher training, “You learn the nuts and bolts on how to become a Yoga teacher”, this is facilitated by Cathy.” We then infuse it with the path of service.” Alison runs the outreach component of the training. Students are required to participate in one of five signature outreach projects. “There is the Military Project, School Project, Adaptive Project, Recovery Project and Shelter Project.” The adaptive yoga class curriculum has four core values: 1) Support, 2) Honor, 3) Respect, 4) Inspire. The classes also incorporate four components: 1) Introductions and Intentions, 2) Movement, 3) Community Building, 4) Group mindfulness practice (practiced in a circle). Alison’s fiancé has created a nut free granola bar named Shri Bark. A portion of the sales of Shri Bark goes to Shri’s non profit organization. It is my belief that Alison and Shri Studio embodies the true essence of Yoga.

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Alison Bologna

Alison Bologna is the founder of Shri Yoga Studio which opened it’s doors in 2009. Since then the studio has expanded to become the only outreach-based studio in the state of Rhode Island to offer yoga and character-building classes both inside the studio and in community shelters, schools, prisons, recovery facilities and hospitals, serving more than 100 students on any given weekday.  In addition to leading a team of more than 20 teachers, Alison also teaches Urban Bhakti Groove every Saturday at the studio: an original, creative and fast-paced vinyasa class influenced by her love of ashtanga and hatha yoga. Alison has been looking for a place in New England where yoga is available to practitioners of all levels and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Once she found this downtown Pawtucket space and transformed it, her concept of “Urban Revitalization Yoga” became a reality. In April 2012, on the studio’s 2-year anniversary, Alison created and formed Shri Service Corps, a local 501(c)3 non profit organization, which supports Shri’s programs and trains teachers in partnership with other non profit organizations all over the state.
Alison received her yoga teacher training certification through Tonya Zaloumis in 2006, and since then has been registered with the National Yoga Alliance; Alison has also completed all three levels of the Little Flower Yoga kids teacher training at Shri Studio with Kate Reil.

Alison Bologna is an award-winning journalist, who anchors NBC 10 News at 7 p.m. with Dan Jaehnig, 5:30 p.m. with Gene Valicenti and reports with the NBC 10 Money Watchers Team, covering business and financial news of the day.



Studio Website: http://shri-studio.com

Shri Bark: http://shri-bark.com

Shri Service Corps: shriservicecorps.org