Discovering Yoga by Sam Moynan
My first memorable glimpse into the world of yoga was during a difficult time in my life. I was starting my final year of college while going through a painful personal situation and I picked up the book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay off my bookshelf. This is not a book about postures (asana), but instead a book about taking control of your own life, taking responsibility for the circumstances around you, and leaving the world of victimhood – things that I would call true yoga. It was the first time I saw a glimpse into what it would be like if my perspective on my life story were different. I began to see things as being a direct reflection of my thought patterns rather than as things happening to me for no good reason.
During this book, I dove into all things Louise Hay. Through her, I found a yoga teacher she spoke of – Tara Stiles. I decided I was going to give this yoga thing a try and got some Tara Stiles DVD’s and set out to “stretch”. In her video classes, Tara would always talk about moving with ease in your body and there being no rules, while I was in my bedroom realizing I had probably never stretched my hamstrings and there was zero chance I’d be touching my toes anytime soon without taking out my back. I felt no ease in the poses, and honestly, didn’t know if it was for me. I realized it was really challenging – a surprising turn of events many of us come to realize after our first go at a yoga class. Luckily, I hung in there long enough to notice what draws me to the asana practice – the mental benefits. I was entering a completely new world. I felt good after. I had energy. I had muscles in my body speaking to me when before, I didn’t even know they existed. My back pain was going away. And best of all – I could cope with the circumstances of my life simply from rewiring my thoughts and movement.
Most of my yoga experience comes from practicing alone in my own home. I was never a huge studio goer and remained private about it for the first three or four years. I feel that this gave me the time and space to create my own confidence in my practice no matter what it looked like, to move how I felt, and to back off anything I didn’t want to do (and this is what I now try to give others).
Eventually I branched out and tried different styles than my home practice – from Bikram, to hot vinyasa, to my now calm and gentle practice I’ve been drawn to lately. In 2017, I took the leap to become 200hr RYT with Hot Asana University. I graduated in 2018 and began teaching right away. I never thought I’d be standing up in a room, sharing my messages publicly, and guiding other through a flow, but here I am.
I teach a flow style class with a special target on tuning into your own, individual body. I want to remind people that their body knows what it needs and can tell them how to move – with a little guidance, music, and trust in intuition. I try to keep it fun and not take myself too seriously in class – music will be fun (a dance song is always in the mix – feel free to do a jig), sometimes I’ll forget my lefts from my rights or what an elbow is called, and sometimes I’ll crack a corny joke (maybe you’ll laugh, maybe not) – but that’s the point! Let us move, feel, dance, laugh, and come back home to our bodies. I can promise it is always a safe space and I can’t wait for you to join me.