Yoga - From Pastime to Full Time

Welcome to 'Stretch With Samantha'! 

I want to tell you guys how and why I discovered yoga and decided to take it from a hobby to a career, so you can get to know me a little better, and for all you brand new yogis that aren't sure if  Yoga is for you, here is my story... 

A few years ago an event that devastated me and those close to me could have sent me one of two ways: off the edge of a bridge and into a painful downward spiral or onto a clean path in the complete opposite direction. Though it was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, I chose to separate from it and work on myself. During the worst of it, almost ready to take the wrong turn, I slept all day and cried all night. I was a zombie, for want of a better word. I decided to leave the country for a few months, throw myself into work, friends and getting healthy and leave everything bad behind me. I don’t know if this is how a lot of people discover yoga, but it is how it came to me. 

Before this trip I had only ever done one yoga class, it was my mothers regular class and she constantly raved about it, one week she couldn’t go, but as it was paid for she asked me if I wanted to go in her place. I hated it. It was everything I thought of yoga, pretentious and uncomfortable and at the end I felt like I had wasted an hour of my precious time and got nothing out of it, except being made to feel incredibly stupid. I know I’m supposed to be selling this to you, so please do keep reading. 

When I arrived in LA for my month of ‘cleanse' I began training with an amazing woman, she was recommended to me by a friend and fitted into my life perfectly. The whole point of this excursion was to get myself fit, healthy and happy again. I trained with her once a week and also began attending some of her classes, she taught spin, pilates and yoga. I was addicted to her spin class but stand offish about yoga. When I finally gave in and attended a class, I could not believe what I had been missing out on. It was nothing like the humiliating gym class I had taken in place of my mother. It was calming, energising and rejuvenating. I left feeling relaxed but also worked out. 

A large problem I have with classes of any kind (not just fitness) is that if I can’t engage with or relate to the teacher, or I feel no positive energy from them, I simply switch off. My attention span is drastically short, so for someone to grab me for an hour and keep me engaged is a miracle. She set the ground work for all the yoga teachers that I would have in the future, she got me hooked. Most humans are blessed with a significantly better attention span than me, so probably don’t need to be as engaged, but I cannot stress to you enough how much of a difference the environment and the teacher make as to whether you actually get anything out of a class. If you have a bad experience your first time, much like I did, chances are you will write yoga off, just like I did, and decide never to do it again. PLEASE give it another try.

When I got back to London I started regularly attending yoga classes, I took everything from Kundalini to Ashtanga to Bikram to Vinyasa Flow. My addiction grew and with it my anxiety shrunk (not completely, I don’t claim to hold the cure for all mental strains and stresses) but it really helped. 

If you live a busy and stressful lifestyle the best thing you can do for yourself and your body and mind, is take some time out, and that is hard. Today having a career is all encompassing, especially being self employed, I have modelled, DJed, been a writer and all of the above at the same time, engaging with other people constantly, travelling to and from work or events, which is exhausting in itself. Everyone in this busy age is dying for a release from work and stress and drama, and when you have those blessed days or evenings off? I’m sure you’re probably on your computer or phone trying to sort out your social calendar, your bills, your work for the coming week, your kids, wife, boyfriend, dogs… AGGHHH. 

My brain never switches off, I am constantly thinking and over thinking and planning. I know I am not alone, and that is where Yoga comes in.  It is 1-2 hours of my day where I do not have my phone, I do not have to try and make conversation and I do not have to think about anything other than my practice. It is my time to switch off. I understand that for a lot of people making the time to travel to and do a yoga class everyday is nearly impossible, we have jobs and boyfriends and kids and pets and deadlines and our favourite TV shows (God forbid we miss any of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, how will we live?) 

And that is why I decided to start ‘Stretch With Samantha’. I found yoga had such a positive impact on my life that I ended up going to school and training to be an instructor. I studied anatomy, physiology and nutrition along side the history and physical aspects of yoga. My assessment was the first class I ever taught and was possibly the most nerve racking and unrelaxing experience of my life, the class also happened to include my mother, my partners mother and one of my best friends. I spent the entire time desperately trying to avoid the proud beaming smiles from the two mothers and the ridiculous off putting faces my friend was making. 

‘Stretch With Samantha’ is for every single stressed out, over worked, can’t find the time in the day Londoner (like me!) That needs the exercise and the release but just does not have the time to go to the gym, and the yoga studio down the street has classes at really bizarre times (it is ALWAYS the way) I wanted to bring a calming class with effective meditation and relaxation that also encompasses asana that fit your particular level of Yogi, and I wanted to bring it to your own front room, at whatever time may suit you. Be it 6am or 11pm I will fit your busy schedule, right into mine.

If you would like to read more of my and other wonderful writers pieces on yoga, fitness, health and diet head over you Longevity.Media