Join MysticMag and discover the enchanting journey of Heartwood Yoga Institute in this exclusive interview with Ginny Shaddock, the Co-Owner. From its humble origins as a yoga studio, Heartwood has blossomed into a 7-acre haven, blending nature, diverse yoga practices, and a sense of community. Ginny shares the inspirational tale of creating Heartwood’s unique ambiance, detailing the dedication and creativity that transformed it into the renowned institute it is today. As the founders, David and Ginny Shaddock, prepare to retire, the interview unveils the past, present, and future vision of Heartwood, offering readers a glimpse into the heart of this extraordinary yoga haven.
What is the story behind the Heartwood Yoga Institute and how was it founded?
Heartwood began as a yoga studio in Sarasota that expanded to two locations, and it’s owned by my husband David Shaddock and I. We had longed to find a property to be able to combine nature and larger yoga experiences with the traditional yoga practices available in a studio, and after several years of searching, found a property in Bradenton in August of 2013. I was a seasoned yoga instructor and yoga therapist, and David was an electrical engineer and mechanical engineer. Together we had the skills to create a unique yoga facility. The next ten years were devoted to developing the site to become what it is today, an inspirational and unique, 7-acre site that invites students to reflect, connect, and learn.
We had limited resources, so we did most of the work to manifest our vision with nothing more than creativity and personal sacrifice (and hard work). We began by planting a quarter-acre chakra meditation garden with 11 meditation seats and covered decks which won an award and was featured in Country Gardens magazine. As the years unfolded, we added an 11-circuit labyrinth, bamboo meditation grove, medicine wheel, shamanic wishing tree, meditation gazebo, and elements firepit were also added to provide welcoming spiritual areas for students to retreat to for quiet reflection. A large outdoor screened redwood pavilion was built as a second practice studio, and the lodge provides another beautiful indoor yoga space with towering stained-glass windows. An art barn and massage room complete with a Himalayan salt wall expands to school with more areas to support a wellness journey. Two more new buildings are onsite, soon to be built to expand learning spaces.
We loved every minute of creating Heartwood’s unique ambiance and community. We will forever be devoted and willing to assist in teaching the programs here. However, at 65 and 70, respectively, we are planning to retire as owners and stewards of the property for health reasons, so the programs and future vision of Heartwood will shift to the new owner sometime this year.
What are RYT Courses and what can people expect from them?
Heartwood specializes in yoga teacher training and offers dozens of programs each year at the 200, 300, and 800 yoga therapy levels. Students can come for live immersion programs and stay on site, hybrid programs which include a shorter retreat study program with some work offered online, or a fully online program which includes live Zoom meetings and interaction for a comprehensive yoga education. Heartwood is one of only 70 schools worldwide that is accredited for yoga therapy certification with IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapy).
Heartwood has specialty training for students over age 50 who wish to become yoga teachers and want to study in a community of mature students. It also offers a yoga transformation course for students who want to dive into the deeper dimensions of yoga. This is like a YTT course, covering yoga philosophy, practice, meditation, chakras, and more but doesn’t devote time and energy to subject matter someone attending for personal growth wouldn’t use, such as teaching skills and practice, anatomy, and business of yoga.
At Heartwood, there is a program for everyone, no matter what your level of experience.
What can you tell me about the Reiki training you offer in collaboration with the Florida Reiki Association and what certification can people get from it?
Heartwood offers comprehensive Reiki Master training with seasoned Reiki masters who are also LMTs and Craniosacral therapists. The programs teach the history and practice of Reiki along with energetic healing, crystal healing, sound healing, and tuning forks.
What Ayurvedic Massage Certification Courses do you offer?
A new addition to Heartwood’s educational programs includes Ayurveda Massage certifications. David Shaddock LMT, IAYT Yoga Therapist, and Ayurvedic massage specialist offers these courses for LMTs wanting to expand their services and learn authentic Ayurveda massage techniques.
What topics does your podcast cover?
I have a podcast called Yoga Perspectives which discusses yoga philosophy and contemporary yoga issues for serious students of yoga.
To learn more about the Heartwood Yoga Institute, you can visit rytcertification.com