Sam’s story: when yoga comes for you…

Yoga was the answer to the question I didn’t know I was asking. At the time that I discovered yoga I was looking for something. Something different. Something that would help. I don’t want to imply that everyone who practices yoga is broken but then again is there anyone out there who isn’t a little broken?

I knew yoga existed. But I didn’t know much about it and I didn’t care. I wasn’t the type of person who “exercised.” (You get smacked in the face with the ball during one dodge ball game and you pretty much swear off of it.)

But in 2004, my 4-year on-again, off-again, tumultuous college relationship ended. For good it seemed. And I was cast off like a ship without a rudder. Newly single. With an awful job. With friends whose lives were considerably better than mine. So I did what any angsty child of the 90s did, I moped. And moped. And moped.

One day, my sister had had enough. So she bought me a gym membership and dragged me to a Body Flow class (a one-hour tai chi, yoga and pilates class). From the very first class it felt like something in me unlocked. It was as if this door that had always remained closed inside of me, suddenly opened up and revealed an uncharted and promising path. And to this day I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was that made this difference… Was it the poses, something the teacher said, a song that played? Maybe it was a combination of it all?

I still didn’t know where I was heading but I was moving and comfortable (at last!) where I was in the present. And I didn’t feel as lost as I did before! I was ecstatic! I felt great! And it was cheaper than counseling (which my crappy insurance didn’t cover)!! That was many years ago. To this day when I feel like I am veering off my path, I get back on my mat and find my way back.

The courage we bring to life

In a yoga class four years later, I met Ingrid Martin, the group fitness director at the Gold’s Gym in downtown Silver Spring. She needed more yoga teachers and in me she saw the potential to become a good yoga teacher. I had mildly entertained the possibility of teaching yoga someday but I didn’t really think I had it in me. (Don’t I have to be nice to be a teacher?) But Ingrid didn’t let up until I said yes. It’s amazing how some people can throw your life into a completely different trajectory just by believing in you.

When I finished training, she immediately gave me a weekly class to teach. I arrived an hour before my first class and sat in a nervous sweat in the empty yoga room until my first student arrived. And that student was Joy Andrews… I looked like a deer in headlights… The rest as they say is history.

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