Alison Bologna, Shri Studio


Alison Bologna, Shri Studio

In 2009, Alison Bologna opened Shri Studio, Urban Revitalization Yoga, in downtown Pawtucket with the mission of offering yoga and wellness classes to the local downtown district while spearheading neighborhood revitalization efforts.  Today, Shri Studio is the only corporation of its kind in the state with an emphasis on yoga outreach in urban communities.

A longtime student of yoga, Bologna received her National Yoga Alliance teacher certification in 2006 and since then, she has taught yoga classes in several locations throughout Rhode Island, when she’s not busy anchoring and reporting the news for WJAR.  When she moved to downtown Pawtucket in 2009, she was inspired by the revitalization efforts in the district and decided to create a space where yoga classes could be accessible to students of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, and where new jobs could be created to help gentrify the neighborhood.

Shri, in Sanskrit, the language of yoga, is loosely translated to mean that which radiates light and abundance.  The studio’s name then reflects the studio’s mission: to illuminate downtown Pawtucket, and communities beyond, with positivity by making the practice of yoga accessible to everyone and everybody, and in keeping with its mission, Shri now runs  five signature Projects including: The Shri Studio Shelter Project, School Project, Adaptive Project, Recovery Project, and Military Project.  Implementing a custom curriculum written by Bologna with input from project leaders she appointed from her teaching staff, Shri now works with hundreds of men, women and children in schools, shelters, community centers, prisons and hospitals – every week.  And to date, Shri has grown to employ more than 20 certified yoga teachers to deliver these classes, 6 of whom the Studio trained this past year through the National Yoga Alliance and Spirit Tree Yoga, a local partner.

For the past two years, with this structure in place, Shri has been measuring program outcomes to prove that the organization has been building healthier communities in Rhode Island.  In 2010, for example, through its pilot program at Blackstone Valley Prep, a mayoral academy, 84 percent of students reported feeling less stressed during their school day after practicing yoga with Shri teachers, while 71 percent of students reported feeling more focused in school and 82 percent said they felt more self-confident.  Students also reported similar outcomes during Shri’s pilot program inside The Rhode Island Training School, with incarcerated youth.

“Since opening Shri, I feel both blessed and grateful to work alongside other inspirational leaders in Rhode Island, from both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, who share my same values in investing in our downtown districts, supporting collaboration and creating jobs – all in an effort to build healthier and more compassionate communities,” said Bologna.


In 2012, Bologna founded Shri Service Corps, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the Studio, that funds these customized yoga projects for organizations that otherwise would not be able to afford such programs.  Fundraising for Shri Service Corps officially began that year with the Shri Summer Soiree, held at the Old Slater Mill Museum in Pawtucket; that event netted nearly $8,000 for the organization, which immediately went back into the community to buy yoga mats and to pay teachers at reduced rates to run more than 300 free yoga classes in schools, shelters and community centers in Pawtucket, Providence and Central Falls.  Then in 2013, Shri’s 2nd annual Yogathon fundraiser raised even more money for the organization while bringing hundreds of participants into the downtown district.  With its annual operations budget continuing to grow, Shri now reaches more than 100 students through outreach on any given weekday in the community.

Looking to the future, Shri is now preparing to run more teacher trainings based on its unique, outreach-­based curriculum, and another growth strategy in the works is to market the Shri Curriculum to other studios across the country, in which organizations can become affiliates of Shri by purchasing the curriculum and by receiving the Studio’s staff support (management and instructional consulting) to both brand materials for credibility and class management purposes.

And that’s not all.  Bologna is set to launch a Shri food product in 2014 in partnership with a licensed, local baker.  The nutritional product, a nut-free, oat, seed and fruit square, will carry all the Shri branding, and once positioned on local store shelves, the product will work to promote Shri’s mission to even larger audiences, while helping to sustain its charitable endeavors.



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