Stacey Chandler is no stranger to depression and anxiety. She suffered both after her divorce and the sudden loss of both of her parents in a car accident. Like many people with anxiety and depression, she was on medication. But the best medicine, she says, came from her holistic therapist and her yoga teacher, who taught a spiritual form of yoga.
Now Chandler wants to teach the healing benefits of yoga to others who’ve experienced behavioral health issues. Tonight, from 5:15-7 p.m., is the grand opening of her new studio, Shanti Shala, which means House of Peace. Chandler chose a purposefully intimate space to make her clients feel comfortable if they express emotion.
Located in the clubhouse at The Plantations, a community on Plantation Road in Lewes, Shanti Shala is dedicated to helping people with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. “I love to see people smile,” Chandler says of the studio’s focus. “I want them to see the beauty in life.”
Chandler, who is originally from Cochranville, Pennsylvania, is certified in classical mat Pilates. She completed her yoga instructor training in Shiva Rea’s Prana Vinyasa program, which stresses that yoga is about more than poses.
Indeed, don’t expect a make-you-sweat flow and a hot room at Shanti Shala. “This is not another hot vinyasa yoga workout,” she says.
Chandler is performing the Ganesh Mudra Ganesh, which symbolizes the destruction of obstacles. It’s benefits include manifesting confidence and willpower, and opening to trust in the divine order of things.//Photo by Deny Howeth
Classes include Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation practice performed while lying down with supportive cushioned mats, bolsters and blankets. In addition to healing from trauma and symptoms of PTSD, Yoga Nidra eases stress, chronic pain, premenstrual syndrome symptoms and improves sleep.
To help with anxiety, she designed a grounding practice called Lunar Flow to relieve stress, cool, soothe and gently restore vital energy. For those looking to combat feelings of depression, Solar Flow is an energizing practice designed to uplift moods and improve mental clarity and focus.
The studio will have a teacher certified in yin, which is a blend of restorative poses held two to five minutes so the body can move through a range of emotions, from discomfort to impatience to release. There will also be opportunities for one-on-one classes.
Chandler acknowledges that it’s often challenging for people with depression to get motivated. “If you can just find the energy to get to yoga class, you will feel better,” she says. “Getting there is the hardest part.”
You won’t get the same results at home through streaming services like Amazon Prime, she says, because there’s nothing that compares to a class with a live teacher. “There so much support—and you can’t access that from a video,” Chandler says.
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Lewes • 703-7108