Shannan Donovan left San Francisco and a corporate schedule at Levi Strauss to head west. She is owner of Thrive Yoga, in downtown Sebastopol. Forget trying to decipher the allure of her heated classes, it would almost kill the vibe. A sweat soaked hour and a half flies by, thanks to her explicit version playlist. “People here treat yoga as a necessity, not something squeezed into their schedule” Shannan notes. She’s built a reputation for her no filter approach, speaking her mind between poses. The studio is low tech, which tacks on more appeal. All forces combined, it’s a formula that refuses to be branded - Namaste to that.
She is comforted by the backdrop of livestock on West County roads.
Surrounded by vineyards, she’ll choose Coors Light over wine.
Her Day of Choice would begin solo with a dog walk at dawn at the Laguna Trail, over to Taylor Maid in The Barlow for coffee/scone combo, teaching her Sunday Morning Revival class at Thrive, brunch at Willowood with friends, off to Doran Beach and Rocker Oysterfeller’s on the way home.
Her worst job ever was hawking vacuums door to door. “I suck at sales.”
The book she returns to: “Illuminata” by Marianne Williamson.
She collects knives, her most treasured a Boker Tree Brand, with horn handle.
Her body stays that way with 90 minute Vinyasa sessions, five per week.
On her fantasy drive, she would have a beer and not have a seatbelt.
She prefers the company of athletic, adventurous people. And a wicked sense of humor helps.
She drives a Dodge Ram Hemi, which gives her fifteen miles to the gallon. Admitting “It’s not eco, but this truck massages my constitution.”
She wears flannel shirts and cashmere sweaters, mens size XS, from J.Crew.
Her cherished clothing item would be the handmade cowboy boots by Michael Anthony, who takes 8 to 10 different measurements to guarantee a perfect fit.
The high cost of West County real estate has more than once prompted her to move elsewhere.
Expansive is the one word she would use to describe West Sonoma County.
Finding a date is a source of frustration, because “a majority of the local gay community are married, with children.”
A Rib-Eye with mashed potatoes might be the path to her heart.
Her classic West County experience was attending a group marriage, of the polyamorous kind. “The grooms were dressed as pirates and came leaping out of the forest.”
She feels at home in "the gray areas of life, the chaos and the mess."
She wants to create a lecture series on combining witticism with spirituality.
If she was granted a do-over, she would open a yoga studio, again.
Images and Interviews by Michelle Pattee