Photography by Alison Dunlap
This Hispanic woman-owned and operated small business offers everything yoga – from retreats and beach yoga to yoga teacher training and many styles of yoga therapy that adapt to every student who walks through the door. Their mission, however, extends beyond the yoga classes, as their revenue proceeds go toward community-based service projects, local and global, through their nonprofit Shine Yoga Project.
Suburban Family spoke with Wanda Feliciano, one of the owners of Shine Power Yoga Studios, to learn more about their impact on the community and the unique programs it offers.
What is the connection between Shine Power Yoga and the Shine Yoga Project?
Shine Yoga Project acts as the umbrella company of Shine Power Yoga studios. Through the non-profit, we support our community locally and globally, using the resources and finances from the yoga studios. For example, today I’ll be in Camden, where we are providing 400 meals to those in need made possible from membership revenue.
We also provide support for students associated with UrbanPromise to guarantee their education is made possible and they are fully supported within an amazing school community. Our goal is to serve our community the best we can in all ways. Shine Yoga Project is on the pulse of what the direct and long-term needs are in our communities. We will often work to help local people deal with tragedies – for example, a house fire or a family member who is terminally ill.
We support many animal rescues through puppy and kitten yoga classes, and provide our finances and hands-on work to Majoda Stables, our favorite horse farm/rescue that provides lessons to special needs children and adults. Even internationally… there’s a yoga community in Nairobi, Kenya, that we’ve supported for 10 years now that provides food, clothing, education and job opportunities to individuals in complete poverty.
Tell me about Shine Power Yoga’s retreats.
Our yoga retreats give people a healthy alternative to get away to exotic, warm places. In April, we will have an adventure retreat in Costa Rica. What makes an adventure retreat special is it really provides an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. They’ll have chances to practice yoga, go horseback riding, zipline, waterfall rappelling and so much more. A lot of the time, our participants come not knowing who they’re going to meet, and they come from all over. Some people come to deepen their yoga practice and others just let go and find time to sit quietly, to restore, to meditate or to make new friends.
Beyond the yoga classes and the retreats, how can people engage with Shine Power Yoga?
One of the most fun ways to be involved beyond attending a yoga class is to schedule a team-building session. I’ve worked with middle and high school teams for close to 20 years, travel teams and even college teams – like UPenn’s baseball team. These athletic teams get the benefit of an active restorative practice while completing an activity together. A lot of the work we do goes beyond the physical. It has to do with the mind and with breath work, slowing down, and connection to yourself and to others.
This team-building work that we do is immediately impactful and it’s affordable. And there's always a couple of teachers in the room with them. It’s also a really great experience for the young people who are struggling to balance academics and sports. Like last Friday, I had the Moorestown High School boys basketball team, and the moment that they were done, they didn't want to leave the room. They immediately said, “Wow, when can we do this again? This was the best I have felt in a long time.” One of the seniors turned to his teammates and said, “I just experienced something that changed me and I don't even know what it was or how; I just know that this was life-changing.”
What drives the teachers at Shine Power Yoga and makes them stand out?
They are passionate about seeing, feeling and sharing in this sense of wellness and growth for students. Our theme for 2024 is “Lead with Love.” Our goal going in is to have connections and see people who come in not knowing what to expect, be in a community where people are going to smile at you and see you in a very approachable and loving way. They leave feeling better and saying, “This is something I want more of.” The entire team, each person that leads here has found this is what they're the most passionate about. They love it and they want others to be passionate about it—it’s infectious. We are a very close team that shows up for each other no matter what's going on. We show up and we do it with love.
Looking into the coming year, what does Shine Power Yoga hope to accomplish?
The first thing we will strive to do is grow our community and get more people involved. We will be more impactful on the mental and physical health of our communities. The second is that we would love to have a huge service project in Kenya by the fall. We used to be in Kenya twice a year, but the pandemic caused travel to become unsafe. We also want to offer three yoga retreats a year with service built into the program, and we want to go somewhere we haven’t gone before and make an impact on ourselves and those around us!
Shine Power Yoga
Maple Shade & Medford
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 7.
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