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Shanti Hauptmann, NYC Yoga Instructor

The journey, a person’s evolution from the beginning of their practice and career to now is deliciously intriguing. The leaps of faith and inspiration that guides us back to our dharma, our cosmic order of why we were placed on this earth to serve… this inspires us at Urban Wellness Clinic.  This week Shanti Hauptmann is our muse.

Shanti and I met the first day of yoga teacher training at Abhaya Yoga in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I distinctly remember sitting beside her, thinking she is saying what we all want to say but in such a sweet lyrical way. Shanti has inspired me since with her languaging and thoughtful instruction. She is currently in high demand as a yoga instructor in Baja, Mexico. A peak into Shanti’s world as she has inspired us all at Urban Wellness Clinic.

What is your morning ritual?

I shimmy my legs up the wall and play a grounding meditation by Francesca McCarthy on my ipod. I flush out all the unnecessary energies not serving my body and re-establishing my auric shield to allow for clear healthy boundaries in my day.

What is the first thought when you wake up after your morning meditation?

Coffeeeeee! Baja Brewing Company makes a mean coffee.

What is the simplest change you’ve made in your life that has had the biggest positive impact? 

I’ve dealt with chronic low back pain for many years, so now living in Mexico I don’t have the same access to all the amazing healers that I found in NYC. I’ve recently given myself a 30 day yoga challenge, on day 20 now. I practice 40-90 minutes/day, with the intention to move on my mat with self love and being open to what happens in the moment. It’s a very exploratory process. I’ve been playing with toning of the gluts and core, and focusing on thigh bones back and rooting the femur into the sockets which helps with my chronic low back pain.

Yoga Poses with Shanti Hauptmann

Any other exercises you are playing with right now?

I’m exploring “rolling-wave” vinyasa, transitioning from downward facing dog to plank pose and rolling through the spine vertebra by vertebra. This allows for a controlled opening, amazing the space it give the spine and tone to the abdominals.

If you could share a piece of wisdom with a younger version of yourself, what would it be? 

“Seek out your true hearts desire and go for it fearlessly.”

Favorite restaurant?

I love to cook! For myself, but especially friends, I find it therapeutic and meditative so often then even going out I will whip up something in the kitchen that is nourishing, going with the seasons, quality ingredients….and always with a hint of an exotic spice!

How about in NYC, a favorite restaurant?

Madiba in Fort Green for their lamb biryani and a glass of Pinotage, a South African wine.

Any music playing through your life right now?

Best of Gramatik (chill out funk step) and Oum “Lik” (I listen to this song on repeat, it moves me so much)  

Any favorite quotes?

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”


“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

-Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist

Yoga Poses with Shanti Hauptmann 

How did you first come across yoga?

It was a gradual journey into a steady yoga practice. My dear friend Annie MacDonald guided me through a yoga sequence on my patio while working at a winery in Napa Valley in 2004. I was struggling with chronic low back pain and relying on health practitioners to put my body back together. There was a strong desire to take healing into my own hands. When I learned the Universal Principles of Alignment in Anusara Yoga there was a physical experience of “ah-ha,” this methodology offers me a tool to heal my own body.

Six years later, there was a moment of deliberate clarity where my body said “I want more!” and I began my 200 hour training going deeper into the practice with Sianna Sherman and Kenny Graham.

What’s the philosophy of your yoga practice and teachings?

Work from the inside out…I teach from my immediate experiences of life and my discoveries. It is what speaks the loudest within, which then becomes an undeniable inspiration that I must share!

Any mentors who inspired your teachings along the way?

Tara Glazier at Abhaya Yoga honored and held space to help me find my authentic voice as a teacher. Elena Brower showed me that I could be fluid, intimate, and precise in my teachings with my students. Sianna Sherman and Kenny Graham for their soulful teachings. Emily Kiberd for her keen anatomy eye and knowledge of how the body works and compensates for injuries.

What steps or leaps of faith did you take to get you where you are today?

I quit my job in northern California and six weeks later I moved to NYC to train with Tara Glazier at Abhaya Yoga…then 2 ½ years later I gave up my day job and began traveling and now living in Baja Mexico teaching yoga.

 How do you hold yourself to walk your talk as a teacher? 

Adhikara, sanskrit for studentship. By staying a committed student, I am evolving and exploring when I step onto my mat.  A quality of being open to the feelings that surface in the moment carries over into my teachings. I plan my classes and when I arrive I tailor my plan to what is best for the students. I expand my teachings to what that students are presenting in front of me, so that I can best serve them.

Do you have a mantra to carry you through your day?

“Trust that all will reveal itself as needed”