Featured Yogi: Samantha

Name: Samantha Hannah
Studio: My GLOW life – all over NZ! 
Years teaching: 1
Years practicing: 25
Favourite yoga style: Yin and Power Vinyasa

When do you usually practice?
I love practising power vinyasa first thing in the morning, straight after a meditation and YIN at night an hour or so before I sleep.

What’s the most exciting thing about the yoga world right now?
For me it’s how yoga is becoming more widely accepted and practised within many communities. Twenty-five years ago when I first started practising, it was hard to find a yoga studio, now there’s a ton of studios teaching a wide variety of yoga styles. It’s great.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
Great question. I do. Always be kind and compassionate, loving and open, both to yourself and others while courageously standing up for the life you want to live.

What does yoga mean to you?
Yoga means everything to me… it’s a way of life. To me yoga has always been far more than just an asana practice… and it’s never been about fitness. I’ve always been way more interested in how it makes me feel aligned – mind, body and spirit. I’m fascinated by yoga ‘off the mat’ – I’m a philosophy junkie!

Do you have a support network within your yoga community?
Oh my goodness YES! The Yogi’s and Yogini’s I choose to have around me are the some of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever met!

What would be your dream project as a yoga teacher?
I’m living it right now! I’ve created NZQA level 1, 2 , 3 and 4 wellness programs for high schools around New Zealand. My team and I are teaching adolescents how to deal with stress, cope with change, become assertive, learn the effects of drugs and alcohol, set meaningful goals, feel confident, self-resilient, worthy… so much more!

And we’re doing this by teaching teens yoga, mindfulness, how to breathe properly, journaling, healthy eating, personal values and daily movement. Basically these teens are being taught yoga on and off the mat to gain invaluable life skills and they’re getting NZQA credits for it. I could talk all day about how passionate I am about this work. I’m so very grateful that this is what I wake to do everyday. This is my dharma.

Most inspiring quote or mantra?
This is a tricky question…I LOVE quotes and mantra’s. One that I’ve lived by since I was 18 is, love is letting go of fear. It’s still my favourite. I also love the mantra (it’s more of a phrase, but it’s become a mantra for me) is, this too shall pass.

What’s one thing you do on a less than awesome day to stay positive?
Breathe deeply, add an extra meditation into my day if I need space and allow whatever I’m feeling to truly surface. I’m a believer in leaning into all our emotions, particularly pain. On the other side is love, right? And I repeat, I am enough even on a bad day.

Best advice you’d offer your students?
Learn how to breathe properly. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and accept where you’re at in any given moment. If you can trust that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, be it painful or glorious, you’ll let go suffering. No one needs to suffer: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional” – Haruki Murakami (I guess that’s another quote!)

What do you love about your part of town?
I live in Wellington, which I LOVE. The culture, food, creative people… it’s a very accepting city. I absolutely adore how everything in the city is within walking distance and I love our picturesque harbour. I’ve travelled a lot, and continue to do so. I still believe that Wellington is up there as one of the most beautiful cities in the world – this could also be because it’s where my heart is.

Thank you so much, Sam!

Would you like to be a Featured Yogi? We’d love to know more about you! Or is there someone you’d like to nominate … another teacher, a stupendous student? Getting to know our fellow yogis creates connection. We like that. Get in touch here.

© The Yoga Connection 2017

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