Black, M.Ed., E-RYT 200/500 Hours
Senior Baptiste Yoga Instructor
Founder/Director of SHAKTI Vinyasa Yoga East, West & Redmond
of Lisa Black
Lisa Black is the founder/director of
SHAKTI Vinyasa Yoga East, West & Redmond studios, voted “Best
Power Yoga Studios” by 425 Magazine in 2010, Seattle Magazine in
2009, and the Seattle Weekly in 2007. Lisa has been featured by Yoga Journal
several times, including a March 2008 article highlighting her as one
of the most “talented upcoming yoga teachers in the country.”
Recognized as a Senior Baptiste yoga instructor, Lisa brings her extensive
training and over 12 years of yoga teaching experience to her daily classes,
workshops, and retreats offering a broad range of knowledge, techniques,
perspective, and a great sense of fun!
With Lisa's energy, attention to detail, and upbeat attitude, her classes
are challenging yet accessible, inspiring and filled with heart. While
guiding you with essential alignment cues, Lisa keeps you moving fluidly
and breathing deeply. She leads you through comprehensive flowing sequences
as she encourages you to explore your edge, discover your strength, and
shine more brightly. Lisa often shares personal experiences, insightful
readings, and philosophical nuggets to support living happy and balanced.
You will feel the sense of connection and community in Lisa’s classes
through her heart-centered and passionate approach to life. “I strive
to create a unique and impactful experience so that you shift physical
and mental energy and that leaves you feeling more expansive. I believe
in empowering you to try challenging postures (like in handstand). Through
giving you tools and techniques for healthy alignment, I believe that
you can do anything!”
Baron Baptiste has been her main teacher, inspiration, and mentor. Lisa’s
other influences include Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Sean Corn, and Bryan
Kest. Lisa believes in Baptiste Yoga as a powerful tool of transformation.
During a 6-month journey around India in 1999, Lisa was first certified
as a Sivananda yoga instructor. In 2000, she furthered her training in
Seattle by completing teacher trainings with senior Iyengar instructor
Aadil Palhkivala. In 2001, Lisa first met Baron Baptiste and completed
his very first Level 1 & 2 Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Trainings.
Since that time, Lisa has become one of the few Senior Baptiste Power
Vinyasa Yoga Instructors under Baron Baptiste’s direct training
and mentoring. Lisa has been assisting and teaching with Baron Baptiste
at teacher trainings and boot camps nationally and internationally since
2001. Lisa has co-taught three Baptiste Week-long Bootcamps with Senior
Baptiste Instructor, Gregor Singleton and she has taught workshops at
many national conferences including Yoga Journal Estes Park, Yoga, Pilates
and Show Toronto and Vancouver, BC, and Whistler Wanderlust.
Lisa founded SHAKTI Vinyasa Yoga (West) in September 2003, opened SHAKTI
East in January 2006 with her husband, Peter Avolio, and opened SHAKTI
Redmond in January 2011.She lives a full life of teaching yoga, directing
three yoga studios, training new teachers, and raising her two children.
Healthy Mom, Happy Baby: Prenatal Yoga:
Dr. Anna Davis and Lisa Black, M.Ed.
Question & Answer with SHAKTI Founder Lisa Black, interview by Nicole
Tsong (January 2011)
In 2003, Lisa Black opened a yoga studio in Ballard called SHAKTI Vinyasa
Yoga. The studio was the first in Seattle to focus on a dynamic, heated
flow known as Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. Word spread fast. Two years
later, Lisa opened a second studio in Bellevue with husband Peter Avolio
and opened a third in Redmond in January 2011. Here, Lisa, a Seattle native,
shares her journey from yoga neophyte to senior Baptiste teacher and owner
of three busy yoga studios.
Q: What were your first experiences with yoga like?
A: In 1998, I took a Kundalini yoga class in a gym at graduate school.
It was mostly a lot of breathing exercises, a lot of breath of fire. I
liked it, but I didn’t connect with it completely. [I felt] there’s
something intriguing about yoga, but this isn’t quite the style.
After trying Kundalini, I tried Iyengar yoga for a while. I loved the
physicality of it. It was great stress relief and injury prevention since
I was a big runner so it felt great…I was still seeking something
Q: In 1999, when you were 29, you decided to quit your job in
technology training and go to India for six months. What inspired you
to make that trip?
A: I felt this desire to go on a spiritual quest. What is beyond just
sitting in a cubicle? I loved my job in technical training, but it was
not necessarily fulfilling in the heart sense. Basically, I sold everything,
sold my car, sold my furniture. I went on this quest: what else is out
there for me? What do I need to be doing? I was seeking something greater.
Q: How did your practice change while you were there?
A: In India, every morning I committed to getting up and going to the
rooftops of these hotels. I would practice yoga as the sun was coming
up; that was my huge inspiration. I studied yoga wherever I went and ended
up for a week at an ashram in Rishikesh. It was a very powerful experience.
I stayed for an extra month and did my first teacher training in Kerala
at the Sivananda ashram which was life changing.
Q: What did you do to pursue yoga when you returned home to Seattle?
A: My whole life experience and journey when I came back here made it
very clear I was continuing in the yoga realm. I did several teacher trainings
with [Iygengar teacher] Aadil Palkhivala. I taught yoga 2000 to 2003 at
the Seattle Holistic Center, 8 Limbs in Wedgwood, and Santosha in Madison
Park. I got my yoga teaching feet on the ground.
Q: When did you meet Baron Baptiste?
A: In 2001, I had a retreat booked to go study with Aadil and Richard
Freeman in Hawaii. My best friend Tabby said, “I’m going to
go study with this teacher Baron Baptiste, you would love him, I just
know you would.” I decided to go. We together went to our first
Level 1 teacher training with Baron, the first one he had ever done.
Q: How did Baron change your practice?
A: When I met Baron and was on my mat for the first time with him as a
teacher, I felt like I had finally come home. It was challenging, which
I loved, it was mind focused, breath, and inspiration, really speaking
to heart. His teaching really clicked for me. Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga
has been the main style I’ve been teaching ever since.
Q: When did you know you wanted to open your own studio?
A: In 1999 in Nepal, I had a vision during a 10-day Vipassana meditation
course. It was there I literally got the vision and the image of opening
a yoga studio that would have classes, workshops, and retreats and many
Q: What kind of studio did you want to have when you opened the
first SHAKTI in Ballard in 2003?
A: I wanted it to be welcoming, beautiful, and inspiring. The colors are
inspired by the bright colors in Rajasthan, India. I wanted to create
a studio that focused all on Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, on all levels.
It was very exciting to bring in this specialty of this powerful style
of yoga. I really wanted it to be a home away from home to everyone feels
welcome. I wanted to create a studio that provided quality instruction
and a community of like-minded people interested in well-being and who
are inspirited to work deeply and powerfully.
Q: What does it mean to be a Baptiste affiliate studio?
A: There are so many different styles of yoga out there and we focus on
Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. I believe this is a challenging, inspiring,
transformational style of yoga. What students are going to experience
by being a part of our Baptiste affiliate studio is they’re part
of a greater whole. They’re actually in a studio that’s part
of now three studios in the area, part of 50 others in the world, with
a future projection of 200 affiliates. All of our teachers are trained
by Baron Baptiste and myself so that they are teaching the most powerful
and clear Baptiste methodology from the source. I believe we’re
carrying on the lineage of Baptiste Yoga in the traditional form, so it’s
not getting watered down.
Q: Why did you name your studio after the Sanskrit word SHAKTI?
A: SHAKTI is in everyone, it’s in all things. SHAKTI is power and
energy. It’s the untapped potential that needs to get turned on
in all of us; it’s the fire that needs to be built and fueled. How
can the experience at SHAKTI turn up their passion, turn up their lights,
turn up their zest? I really believe yoga does that, just by doing the
asana sequences, just the physical practice, you would feel the light
of prana and circulation and energy. By combining it with the breath,
the movement and the inspiration and focus on heart and mind, it’s
a more profound level that really can bring lasting transformation and
Q: What inspires you about yoga and running your studios?
A: Everything about running a studio is what I love. I love to teach yoga.
I continue to be inspired by teaching this style because of the power
of the practice. It’s really the ability to speak authentically
and to current feelings or issues or things that are going on, the ability
to tap into that so everything stays fresh. As a teacher, you’re
constantly speaking from your own experience in life and the world that
will help be a teaching point for students whether it’s joy or love
or fear or activity or peace, balance.
Q: Seven years after you opened your first studio, why did you
want to open a third and how did you choose Redmond?
A: I believe in the style so much, and I really wanted to bring this style
and this community into an area I feel like is untapped. A lot of people
who come to Bellevue actually come from that area, and I feel like that
will be a really good way to bridge the two communities and connect in
a deeper way. One of my biggest passions is to train teachers and all
of our teachers have come through our Teacher Mentorship Program. By opening
a third studio, we have an avenue for bringing these amazing teachers
into teaching more classes and giving them a place to help make a living.
It’s serving the community, growing the community, growing our team
of teachers, supporting teachers in a greater way. I also love the creative
process. It’s like building your own house and having a party to
welcome people in.
Q: What is ahead for you and for SHAKTI?
A: My passion is teaching teachers, and my passion is teaching yoga. Fortunately,
I get to do all those things. My new passion is being with my kids and
teaching them about life. The next big thing for me is putting together
our 200-hour teacher training. My intention is to have it available for
September 2012. What’s great about SHAKTI is not only that we provide
amazing classes, workshops, and host international teachers, but we’re
a training center for teachers. As a senior master Baptiste teacher, I
will be teaching more workshops and yoga conferences around the country.
Q: Who do you consider to be your yoga mentors?
A: Teachers who have inspired me, Ana Forrest, Shiva Rea, Seane Corn,
and Brian Kest. But Baron Baptiste, for sure, is my No.1 mentor and the
teacher who has helped me grow the most personally and professionally.
--Interview by Nicole Tsong
“When Lisa leads a yoga class, she is 100% present to students
and the whole studio environment. Her classes are infused with her vast
background as a leader and her passion for life. She leads class from
a place of support, compassion, with huge encouragement to dig deep into
your own resources to see what you are capable of. You can fully expect
that when you take class with Lisa, to leave inspired and challenged,
on and off the yoga mat.”
--Isabelle Casey (Yoga student/SHAKTI Instructor 2002-2006)
"Lisa is a Senior Baptiste Teacher and an influential member
of the Baptiste community, as well as the owner of 3 successful studios
on the Seattle WA area: Shakti Vinyasa Yoga. I have known Lisa for several
years and have had the honor of mentoring with her during my early years
as a new yoga teacher as well as teaching at her studios. She has been
so inspirational to me and has demonstrated such love and skill in her
mentoring that I have her to thank for making me an exceptional teacher.
She is the beloved leader of a wonderful, thriving yoga community which
she grew in Seattle years ago, and because of her, the Seattle area and
beyond is booming with Baptiste yoga! I have witnessed the way she carries
herself in her life with the utmost integrity and grace. She is the true
embodiment of a yoga teacher’s teacher. Her life and way of operating
in the world are in alignment with what yoga asks of us: to be strong
and firm, with love and compassion, being appropriate and respectful in
our thoughts, actions and words."
--Melissa Longfellow (Newman), member Three Oms Yoga, LLC, Bellingham,
Lisa Black was featured in the
March 2008 issue of Yoga Journal magazine in an article as one of the
upcoming yoga teachers in the country.
Lisa's yoga class playlist in Yoga
Journal magazine. October 2009
Here to watch Lisa demo with Baron
Lisa Black- Deep Lunge Backbend, LuLu
Lemon photo shoot
Lisa Black, Side Lunge, Lulu Lemon photo
Lisa Black, Side Plank, Lulu Lemon photo
Lisa Black, Fire Fly Yoga, Lulu Lemon