I often get the question what kind of yoga I practice and share during our Surf and Yoga Weeks. And every time I want to give the perfect answer, all wrapped-up into a couple of spot-on sentences. And yet, every time, I end up with a lengthy semi fluffy explanation that does not seem to give justice at all to: Sama Yoga. Not a well known yoga style (yet), but ah, so sweet. As cliché as it may sound, it helped change my life. I kid you not. So, bear with me in this semi fluffy lengthy explanation in writing, hoping to shed some light on this style of yoga (and, more importantly, of life).
Yoga can be, and usually is, something we all relate to in our own personal ways. There are so many different styles, focus areas, and ways to practice. And, of course, the word "yoga" can often trigger different reactions, expectations, and opinions. With respect for all forms of yoga, I will not try to compare, just share with you what Sama Yoga means to me in my own personal way.
I have had my share of yoga searching over the years, spanning from the occasional physical "power-yoga-gym-workout" style to a very strict and disciplined, almost cult-like, yoga and meditation practice that turned out not to be healthy at all.
Then one day, seemingly from out of the blue, Sama Yoga found its way into my life and heart. And it was a perfect match. Which, without my previous experiences, I would not have recognized.
The physical presentation of Sama Yoga is a mix of asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and mantras (sound). You will recognize traditional postures and sometimes a watery Qi Gong flow finds its way into the class. Every class is different and is often taught intuitively, sensing the needs of the participants. Young or old, fresh to yoga or experienced, stiff or superflex, it does not matter.
Don't be surprised if you also encounter a combined sun and surf salutation during a "Sama class". I remember that time during the teacher training course where our teacher and Sama Yoga creator, Sky, introduced this creative mash-up. As much a tribute to the sun and ocean, as a full body warm up, this is a taste of the Sama style. Where tradition, creativity,
and knowledge come together and gives birth to something new.
And yes, you do get a good workout and stretch with Sama Yoga. Your spine gets its daily dose of flex and love, and there are many ways to challenge your hips. There are traditional asanas, and there are exercises where you might ask yourself what on the earth you signed up for. There are beautiful mantras and metaphors, and there will be laughter. And, if you are lucky enough, the occasional drop of salt water leaking from your eyes.
But most of all, there will be kindness.
Kindness in and through. Kindness towards yourself, kindness to those around you, and kindness and gratitude in awe of everything. And yes, I hear how it sounds, fluffy and rainbow'y and all, but Sama Yoga is one of the most down to earth and sincere practices I have come across. With teachers and mentors living a life of devotion, staying true to universal values and knowledge tradition. No hidden agendas.
No artificial sweeteners, as it were.
When we do Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) we get to stretch our muscles and joints and reap all the benefits of that; but when we also do Surya Namaskar because the sun is awesome and we get to express our gratitude, that adds another layer. We do the outer physical posture and movement, and we also do the inner posture.
And that, my friends, that makes all the difference.
Although it is really not my place to say (had better ask my friends), Sama Yoga had made me a kinder person, with more patience and gratitude. Patience towards myself, patience
towards others. Gratitude high and low.
So, for you who had the patience to read all of the above, here is the short answer to what kind of yoga I practice:
I practice Sama Yoga, embodied kindness.
I hope we can share some on our yoga mats together.