We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Vanatko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandra, how does your business help the community or world?
I think now more than ever the services we offer at Indra’s Grace are a necessity. We are a studio that focuses on yoga therapeutics, mindfulness, stress reduction, meditation, and the healing arts. During these times of uncertainty I have worked with more people that are struggling with anxiety and depression than ever before. I am a classically trained yoga teacher, a certified yoga therapist, meditation teacher, and energetic healing practitioner. Much of what I offer through group and 1:1 work is teaching people how to self-regulate their nervous system these days. I teach different techniques for students to ground themselves into presence which helps ease the unrest of uncertainty. I guide people into feeling into their bodies and awakening to the felt sense of the body. I love helping people cultivate an intimate relationship with the felt sense of the body. When in touch with body we can get to the heart of unrest and unease and release it. I share breathing exercises (It’s my passion!) that can help students that are having anxiety. I share practices that they can do daily to encourage them get in touch with their breath and cultivate an intimate relationship with their breath. I also share techniques for them to self-regulate in the midst of panic. Over time when these techniques are done regularly I have seen a reduction of anxiety with students through the power of breath. It’s free, literally right under your nose, and an always very accessible tool. I also have been teaching a ton of breath work this year that is designed to strengthen the immune system. I think this is so important right now with COVID cases on the rise. The bulk of the work I am doing is one on one right now besides teacher trainings and group classes. It’s creative and intuitive and born of my meditation practice that has its roots Advaita, non-dualism, and Tibetan Buddhist Meditation. I work with people in person and since COVID19 I work with people via zoom which has expanded my practice and I now work with people from New York to CA, and beyond! It’s been amazing to get to connect further and wider during a time where we are being asked to socially distance. In these sessions I use a traditional style of healing that has its roots in resting into and as Awareness. I support students in coming into a deep state of relaxation which is cultivated through creating a safe container. Once the student is in a Yoga Nidra state resting into being I encourage exploration of subtle contractions within the felt sense of the body. As we do this together clients will often come up on limiting beliefs, old memories, and traumas that need support releasing. We lovingly and affectionately lean into what is and work together in a co-created environment to release them. Covid19 has triggered so much of our unintegrated parts to come up. I love working with people to help make these shadow parts come to light consciously. When we do this we become freed up from them and can ride this wave we are all on with more ease. I feel right now the work I do is more important than ever.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am very proud of what we offer at Indra’s Grace! All of our teachers have SO MUCH TRAINING! Everyone has at least 500 hours of training and many of us have over 1000 hours of training. Everyone that teaches for Indra’s Grace is PASSIONATE about yoga and deeply desires to serve community. There is a lot of depth in our offerings. All of our teachers are embodied practitioners with a regular personal practice which I think is most important when guiding others. We all practice what we share. Our yoga focuses on a very holistic approach which includes asana, pranayama (breathing techniques), mindfulness, meditation, and more. We also mentor in the healing arts including Reiki. We also offer meditation courses. We are often told that our studio offers the depth that yoga students are looking for in practice. We often teach and mentor long time teachers and draw students in from all over the country for our 200 and advanced 300 hour teacher trainings.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I am an avid mountain biker so I would take them out to either Quanah Hill, Northshore, or Erwin Park for a ride! I might also take them out for an afternoon swim at Possum Kingdom Lake during the summer. Locally in Weatherford I would take them out for dinner to Zeno’s. A cute small fabulous Italian restaurant on the square and maybe a picnic at Chandor Gardens which is gorgeous! I would also definitely set my friend up with a massage at Wholistic Body Solutions after coffee at Iron Works.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so very grateful to all my mentors and teachers that have so lovingly guided me along the way over the years. I am profoundly grateful for my mentors Annette Knopp, Dr. John Churchill, Rupert Spira, Ben Allen, and Shashi Pottathil. I am also profoundly grateful to Jenny Reitz who is queen bee of Indra’s Grace and supported me through all the twists and turns of Indra’s Grace. Jenny was amazing when we were mandated to close in March due to COVID and we actually were only closed for two days before we transitioned to an online platform due to Jenny’s ability to think quick on her feet. Jenny spent 72 hours researching the best way to move our whole business online and we were back in 48 hours to serve our community. Her ability to help us adjust was crucial in keeping us sustainable through COVID.