Michelle Gigante, Director
"Michelle Gigante is an embodiment of yogic wisdom, a master teacher.”
Michelle Gigante has been guiding people toward energetic openings and spiritual awakenings for over two decades. She uses her instinctual gift to read the room and create a vibe that is meaningful for both the individual and the group.
Her independent spirit fostered the opening of Shakti Yoga ten years ago. She has dedicated her energy and knowledge to welcoming people into Shakti’s nurturing home, which promotes well-being and inspires creativity.
Michelle’s background in theatre gives her the skill to execute a class with clarity and precision. Her many years as a dancer allow her to “choreograph” sequences that are creative and playful. Her experience as a Reiki III healing master and Qi Qong practitioner gives her the insight to effectively choose postures that open energy channels.
A typical class with Michelle gives students a chance to meet their challenges and reach their greatest potential with their breath. The cultivation of deep breath-work provided by Michelle’s steady pace and seamless cueing encourages a natural rhythmic flow and turns the average yoga practice into an holistic experience.
Michelle always reminds her students that the practice is a healing modality. They are encouraged to go at their own pace and be in their own bodies with suggestions on how to modify and or intensify.
Guiding the individual toward their own personal edge of intensity while drawing from the collective energy of the group is one of Michelle’s greatest joys. Welcoming the community into Shakti’s healing space is another. Helping people let go into the flow of life is yet another.
She is available for private treatments.
Steve discovered yoga in 2008 as a means to heal. To his surprise, he was met with an uncontrollable thirst for higher truth as yoga worked its magic.
This drive to understand personal authenticity led him to Shakti. The familiar pulse of love, compassion and wisdom radiating from her sacred space offered refuge and support to a soul in need of digging deep into tender wounds. By simply opening and allowing that sweet vibration to penetrate through the thick armor he had been wearing, a momentous process of remembering his purpose in life was unleashed.
As a teacher, Steve offers a shared learning experience in unveiling layers of protection built around our hearts by playing with the breath, appreciating the body, and becoming more aware of the mind. Steve adds elements of the present moment to each class in union with dynamic yet restorative-like movement.
“When we give ourselves permission to surrender to the flux and flow of space and time through movement, we prepare the physical vessel to experience a movement internally. When we allow this, we may find the answers within” - Steve Belle
Meredith has been practicing for over ten years. She connected with the practice right away because it was such a unique form of “exercise” that not only fed the body, but conditioned the mind and spirit as well.
She deepened her practice by enrolling in teacher training at Yoga Sutra in New York City. Meredith strives to create an accessible yoga practice that helps manage and prevent stress and discomfort that naturally arises from everyday life. Her classes promote harmony throughout the physical and energetic bodies and give the individual an opportunity to go deeper when and if it feels right. Meredith found Shakti while looking for a yoga teaching opportunity after moving back to Buffalo.
If she had to choose what she values most about Shakti, it would be authenticity. Shakti holds space for those of all levels to learn and practice the principles of yoga in a warm, welcoming community of likeminded individuals. It is truly a gem in our community that celebrates diversity and culture, and genuinely encourages everyone to show up exactly as they are because that is enough.
“Yoga is a path toward personal freedom.” - Meredith Alayne
Abby first came to yoga while working a high-stress corporate job in New York City almost ten years ago. She was in need of a more sustainable work-life balance as she approached a transition period in her life.
What brought her to Shakti, and keeps her coming back, is the approach of connection to breath as the foundation of practice. She values that emphasis because it is accessible to beginners and masters alike - the connective energy that facilitates a deeper surrender to Self.
The most important element Abby has learned from Shakti’s teachings is that simplicity and patience, over force and struggle, can propel growth faster and with more ease.
Abby offers students a safe space to explore mind/body/spirit connection in a way that is unique to their own practice. Students can expect a class that promotes a deep reverence to breath and a softening into the body. This approach might take the form of surrender in challenging physical postures or in stilling the mind when the physical practice feels subtle.
Her classes are a reminder to embrace love, play, and compassion for the self, which supports connections to others off the mat in all parts of life.
"Yoga is “a union that allows the mind and body to work in partnership rather than in conflict.” - Abby Spindelman