November Ambassador: Ornella Semanta

The world works in the most mysterious ways. Ornella and I went to the same high school and both had our first job at Sunrise Bagels. Most kids in North Reading, MA either worked at Sunrise (a little family owned & operated bagel shop) or Stop & Shop and we worked at the latter. We learned a lot about customer service, hard-work and a hell of a lot about cleanliness. It had to be the best first job out there. Fast forward about 15 years and we now find ourselves together again, but this time through the art of yoga.

I opened Barefoot in March of 2014 and it took Ornella some time to get to the studio, but once she did she never looked back. It has been such a joy seeing an old familiar face in my classes and I love every time she walks through the front door. I was honored she said YES to being our November Ambassador and couldn’t be happier to introduce you to her!!





1. How long have you been practicing yoga, and what drew you to the practice?


At some point in High School I gave it a try. Since then, I have been popping in and out of classes, here and there, at various gyms I use to go to. It wasn’t until this year (2015) that I really started deepening my practice. There has been SO much going on these past few years, I needed something to help tame my anxiety and stress. Yoga helps a ton.

Also,  I lacked a “home” (Shala, if you will) or studio. Being part of a community is where it’s at! The classes at the gym were great and all…. but nothing compares. Sorry!

2. What’s your favorite part of yoga?

Is saying EVERYTHING too broad? It’s a beautiful practice, but if I had to choose one thing that ultimately makes practicing my favorite, it would be how it makes me FEEL – emotionally and physically. “Yoga high” is a very real thing.

Walking out of Barefoot Yoga Shala with the biggest smile on my face – its inevitable. I haven’t felt this healthy and happy in years.




3. You live in Salem with the cutest pup ever, can you tell us about him and how he helps your practice?

Oh, SHAYMUS!! He is such a love. He likes to practice with me on the mat, takes up the whole dang thing. I absolutely adore how curious he is at what Mama is doing.

Although I love having him hang out in the room with me, he does tend to think its “play time!” I’ll be in a supported headstand and he comes trotting over giving me slobbery kisses.

He has taught me patience. So much patience.

4. You’re taking the teacher training in January…why now? 

Jenny, I CAN’T WAIT!
At this point in my practice, I am ready to learn more and expand my knowledge of yoga.
I can’t wait to share this love and knowledge with fellow students, and some day, my own classes. I want to help people, not only with poses but feeling good about themselves – mind, body, soul.

5. What advice would you give someone who wanted to start taking yoga?

Go slow! It’s not a race. You will learn as you go. I am still learning every day!

And if I may quote you, “squash the ego” !!

Nothing worse than that pesky voice in our heads constantly telling us, “you can’t” or “that’s not possible”

Because you CAN and anything is possible with enough will.

6. How do you take your yoga off the mat and into the world?

When I am sitting in traffic after work, dying to get home, I find myself taking some deep breaths in the car. It helps calm my road rage.

There are so many benefits from pranayama. This is something new I have learned since going to BYS.

7. Tell us a fun fact about yourself


Maybe this isn’t much of a secret, but it’s true. I am addicted to fluffy, warm bagels and I am not ashamed to admit it!!!

8. What’s your favorite quote of late?

“Do it with passion, or not at all.

What a blessing to have her back in my life!
What a blessing to have her back in my life!

Thank you Ornella, for being a part of my life once more!!! I’m so blessed you decided to become an ambassador and even happier to have you in the Shala family.

Lots of love & Namaste

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