Gyl Elliot believes the path to good physical and spiritual health is through the practice of yoga and meditation.
Elliot has been a fixture in Monrovia’s yoga community for over a decade, and has taught yoga in a number of venues, including the , , and as part of a Monrovia Co-op of yoga teachers. She has also taught classes at Arcadia Fitness and the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena.
Since September, Elliot is also partnering with her former yoga student, acupuncturist Kathy Pentecost, at on 815 West Foothill.
Elliot said that she began practicing yoga 16 years ago because she wanted to get into shape after the birth of her son. After trying out many forms of yoga, she began seriously training with Rupa Subramanyam, a teacher of traditional Indian yoga.
“Rupa asked me to become a teacher. In Indian tradition, the instructor picks the student. If you meet her, you know she’s a force of nature,” Elliot said.
Previously, Elliot worked as a translator of technical documents from Japanese to English. She had earned her undergraduate degree from Kobe University in Japan, where she worked as a translator. She also worked for the City of Los Angeles as a Public Information Director.
“This was a huge change for me,” Elliot said.
Elliot has been teaching yoga for 12 years, and learning more all the time. After she studied structural yoga therapy, which emphasizes anatomy and physiology, with Mukunda Stiles, she also learned Sanskrit, and in 2009 she earned a Master’s in Eastern Philosophy at the University of the West in Rosemead.
“It’s this unbelievable school that’s right up the street,” she said.
In addition to training yoga instructors at her Yoga Alliance certified school, Shanti Yoga Center, Elliot now offers structural yoga therapy, ayurvedic assessments, meditation, private sessions, and classes for couples and small groups at the new location. She also gives workshops on a variety of topics, including Sanskrit, the Bhagavad-Gita, energetic anatomy, yoga sutras, mantras, and mudras.
“It’s very much focused on the spiritual. If you want to relieve anxiety and stress and find a spiritual center, I can help you,” she said.
Shanti Acu Yoga offers two separate businesses under one roof, Shanti Yoga and Shanti Acupuncture. The location includes a reception area, a garden, and separate rooms for yoga and acupuncture. The rooms also have themes, such as “The Blue Room,” “The Golden Room,” “The Cave,” and “The Garden Room.”
Acupuncturist Kathy Pentecost said that the work she did in Elliot’s yoga classes at the Monrovia Community Center was transformative, and even helped her achieve a significant weight loss.
“Yoga changed my life. It’s not like gym yoga,” Pentecost said. “I relaxed and concentrated differently when I did the mudras. I honestly think it was the breath more than anything that made me lose weight.”
“The word yoga means union. We’re trying to create union or balance in your body and your spirit,” Elliot said. “We wanted to make this into an integrated health center for people.”