About Shaila

Founder, YogaHotDish (North Oaks, Minnesota)

Shaila Cunningham North Oaks Minnesota Yoga Instructor
years of teaching

Trained in the Good Ol' Days

Shaila attended yoga teacher training in residence at Kripalu Yoga Center for Health, Stockbridge, MA in 2001. This was back when the Yoga Alliance required immersion in a residential program for yoga teacher training certification. No cell phones allowed, and no coffee!  Collegial in atmosphere, a large staff of full-time teachers was ready to guide you, tell you the truth and kick you in the backside.

different disciplines

A Globally Informed Yoga Style

Shaila first studied yoga and meditation while living in Singapore and Japan. Kripalu, Sivananda, and Iyengar influences somehow get thrown together in a Santa Barbara secret sauce. Sprinkle in modern best practices to ensure safety along with the latest latest research and you get a slow-cooked…HotDish.  YogaHotDish is currently served in North Oaks, Arden Hills and Falcon Heights, Minnesota to anyone curious enough to show up!

Students maximum

Small Classes for Better Practice

Shaila believes in fully customized yoga education. If you go stumble into a class and the students all have the same body-type as the teacher (especially if it’s not yours), RUN! YogaHotDish classes are full of all shapes and sizes, ages and stages, scaling the poses in the best way for their body types – not for Instagram! (#notinstayoga). With class sizes topping out at around 12, YogaHotDish is a totally unique custom experience.  

Woo-woo Yoga

Down to Earth Yoga

Shaila isn’t a Buddhist or a Hindu, just a Lutheran with Quaker roots who started studying yoga and meditation while living in Asia, trained with leading teachers in California and Massachusetts — and knows how to throw a HotDish together!  You won’t find any chanting or new-age assumptions about energy, chakras or astrology! What you will find is relaxation, peace and lots of QUIET! 

nogc indoor seated

The Yoga HotDish recipe is an eclectic blend of classical yoga and modern best practices.

No cutting corners: no quickie classes, dumbing it down, new-aging it up, or converting to Hinduism. You will "confront the quiet" and "move into stillness" for a work-in that will have you more relaxed from day-one so a calmer, more mindful you can shine through.


The Yoga HotDish recipe is an eclectic blend of classical yoga and modern best practices.

No cutting corners: no quickie classes, dumbing it down, new-aging it up, or converting you to Hinduism.

yoga hot dish logo

Take a Class!

The Detailed hotdish recipe

A sprinkle of this, a heaping of that...

One Part Kripalu

I chose Kripalu for my yoga teacher training as it was the best blend of East and West: a school of lineage with roots back to India, under the capable leadership of Stephen Cope, a former therapist and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. Kripalu had dispensed with unhealthy guru worship (along with the guru) and phased out devotional Hinduism to become secular. Known as the “Yoga of Transformation,” it’s a place to Get Real with 6″ of closet space, bunk beds, and all things yoga from 6 am to 10 pm.

Another Part Sivananda

My first yoga teacher in Singapore was a Zen Buddhist who did her yoga teacher training in India. She was down-to-business and always wore the same uniform: white polo shirt and blue track pants. She told me it would take 10 years for my collegiate tennis-tortured hamstrings to stretch out in 1999, and she was right! “If you can’t have a flexible body, then have a flexible mind"--and that was even before all the yoga brain research! She also taught me the importance of headstand and how to approach it safely, in spite of a whiplash injury.

A Dash of Santa Barbara Creativity

Santa Barbara has long been an incubator of amazing, eclectic Indie yoga. A vacation home in Santa Barbara afforded me the opportunity to study with local legends like Eddie Ellner in his one-of-a-kind sacred space known as Yoga Soup. There, by sheer happenstance, I stumbled into trainings with major thought leaders of our time.

A Heap of Modern Anatomy

Modern anatomy yoga teacher training with with Paul Grilley, Leslie Kaminoff, as well as Kripalu’s doctors-on-staff have led me to realize there’s no one path to the perfect pose. While knowing “universal alignment principles,” is a start, it can only take you so far; and, if applied dogmatically, can lead to injury.

A Rich Zen “Sauce”

In 1989, I found myself at the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto mesmerized by snowflakes. When I returned to Japan in the mid 90’s to manage a software company, I befriended an elderly woman who spoke no English. Once we exhausted the limits of my Japanese for the day, we often sat in silence, eyes closed, be it in a garden or on the train. Simple acts of eating food, drinking tea and strolling the nearby “samurai garden” were done with total focus and awareness, in silence. I realize now that all of these were meditation experiences, yielding a level of peace I only re-discovered when I found yoga in Singapore.

This recipe is gluten-free, but will stick to your ribs. Gimmick-free without the new-age music and mirrors that detract from true meditation. No microwaved, “hot yoga” served here — the heat is supposed to come from within and build gradually, as not to harm your joints and muscles. No pressure to sport Lululemon or tie-dye for that matter (unless you want to); and please, no Speedos!

Are you ready?

Why limit yourslelf to one style of yoga when you can have a curated collection of best practices across a variety of schools and instructors over 20 years and 3 continents?

Choose your adventure...