Below, you may view a recent interview that Samantha did with My Yoga Online about yoga and life:
What does yoga mean to you? What impact has yoga had on your life?
To me yoga is a lifestyle. Yoga is my life and how I choose to engage with the world from my heart. It is the lens through which I see and approach the world. My entire life I have wanted to help people to make a true difference in the world. For me yoga is the ideal platform to be of service to help people empower themselves to remember their unique expression of vibrancy in the body, mind and heart. In helping others to remember their own power I am fulfilled and find deep happiness.
“Yoga is my life and how I choose to engage with the world from my heart. It is the lens through which I see and approach the world. My mission in teaching is to share accessible techniques to empower people to remember their unique expression of vibrant health in the body, mind and heart.”
In what ways does yoga help you off the mat?
Since becoming a mom my practice has significantly shifted. I used to practice asana and meditation two or more hours a day, continually aspiring to the next difficult pose. However, with the fullness of having a toddler and running my own business,my asana practice inevitably gets chiseled away at some days, especially given that my son has asthma that at times demands my full attention. This I consider the “yoga of motherhood”. At this stage of my life, my daily practice is more focused on balancing my nervous system to be geared towards patience, grounding and compassion. I am so grateful for these years of practice as they have supported me through my transition into motherhood. I think the “yoga of motherhood” would be so very difficult without the important tools my practice has given me.
What do you recommend for people who are brand new to yoga?
Never give up. Meet yourself exactly where you are. You have all that you need within and the yoga practice is available to you to show you this power within your heart. You are supported by a greater power that rides on the wings of your breath. Pause and breathe fully, listen deeply and you are practicing yoga. Poses are an important part of yoga, but they must follow in the wake of your breath and be infused by the intention that you have for practice. That intention is affirmed and continually clarified from the wisdom of your heart.
What yoga tips can you share with people?
Wake up with a cup of warm water with lemon juice. This will help to stimulate your digestion and your body’s detox system. Warm up your legs with a few squats or your favorite pose and then sit for a least 5 minutes. You can sit in a chair, on a bench or on a pillow on the floor. Make sure you are comfortable and breathe into the depth of your lower abdomen. Sit with open awareness listening to your breath. Do not be discouraged if your mind races. This happens to everyone. Keep making the commitment to sit, even for just for 5 minutes. Pause to listen and be with your breath in the presence of your heart. This will fuel your active practice. Likewise your active practice of asana will support your ability to sit. Asana and meditation at two essential parts of the practice. Some are more are more drawn to one part more than then the other. Support yourself to follow what is natural for you but do expand your boundaries by participating with the part of the practice that is more challenging for you. There are many techniques for meditation. They are all rooted in breath awareness and increasing breath capacity using the gifts that were given to you of the four lobes of the lungs and the diaphragm. From this foundation you can go in any direction of study that calls to your heart.
What drew you to teach the particular style(s) of yoga that you teach now?
A lifetime of practice has led me through Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, the Bihar School, AcroYoga and Anusara Yoga. The last 10 years of my life were spent as a dedicated student and Certified teacher of Anusara Yoga. In addition to being a dedicated student of yoga and meditation I have intensely studied, energy therapy, body work, performance training and dance. Balanced Action Yoga (BAYoga) is a natural extension of all that I have learned through being a seeker on the path of spirit. Honoring its roots in Anusara Yoga, Balanced Action Yoga is a heart centered form of Hatha yoga that includes the full spectrum yoga experience: from dynamic flow to precise alignment based asana, powerful yoga therapeutics and restoratives. Steeped in the rich history and philosophy of the yoga tradition, BAYoga features cutting edge bio-mechanical understandings of anatomy and physiology. I believe that though dedicated practice we have the capacity to generate peace from the inside out. Inevitably, we find the vision and inspiration to actively share thatpeace, both in small acts and also through engaging in projects that help to unite and empower society to heal. Being involved in service to the greater community is an essential part of my practice and teaching. Through Balanced Action Yoga immersions and teacher trainings students will cultivate clarity as to what their dharma is. They will also gain tangible tools to be able serve others; to empower, heal and, in turn, be of service, on all levels from the individual to the collective.
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