In this series, we catch up with some of our inspiring Teacher Training graduates to see where life has taken them since the start of their Yogacampus journey. Here, we talk to Sam Loe, who was on the first ever intake of the Yogacampus Teacher Training and now runs a successful studio in New Zealand.
When was your very first introduction to yoga?
When I was in my early twenties I was introduced to Yoga at a New Years Eve’s party in Devon by a very tall man with curly hair whose name I don’t know and I have never met again! I owe him a big thank you. We began talking about the philosophy and he showed me some basic postures and something inside me said ‘Yes this is my path!’ and the very next day I just started practising the things he’d shown me. It tapped into a deep part of me, almost as if he reminded me of something I had always known. Once I got back to London I went on a mission to attend all the yoga classes I could and I spent a couple of years indulging in many styles and teachers, loving it all but became especially enamoured with Astanga Vinyasa.
At what point did you decide that you wanted to train as a teacher?
I was practising in the Mysore style daily at Yoga Place in Bethnal Green and my teacher encouraged me to assist him during the self-practice sessions. It was a real honour to begin my teaching through observation and touch but I soon realised that I needed a bigger knowledge base and experience if I wanted to teach. It was the wonderful Sarah Litton who mentored and taught me anatomy and Yoga philosophy for a while and as she was involved in the birthing of what is now called the Yogacampus Teaching Diploma, I found myself on the first ever intake of their 18 month training in 2003.
Why did you choose to train with Yogacampus? How do you think our teacher training diploma compares to other schools?
As I began to share what I knew about Yoga with other people I became very aware how different every person’s body, ability and needs are. I was practicing in a style that has a fixed sequence which my body and life could take on with relative ease but I began to see that this ‘one size’ did not fit all. The Yogacampus training aimed to respect and honour all styles of Yoga. Its aim was to be firmly rooted in the Yoga Traditions whilst embracing the various forms that have emerged and to support teachers in understanding a wider perspective and applying this in a contemporary setting. This really resonated with me at a time when most teacher trainings certified people within a particular ‘style’ of Yoga. I think that this ‘Bigger Picture’ continues to be an advantage and strength of the current Yogacampus Diploma. It draws in incredible and inspiring teachers from around the world who have an immense wealth of knowledge.
What was your biggest highlight on the course? And biggest challenge?
My biggest highlight was getting to hang out with like-minded people and being exposed to amazing teachers. The challenge was that I was living in Geneva, Switzerland for half the course and so had to do a lot of travel. Luckily the time frame and structure of the course could accommodate my situation.
How has your life changed since graduating from the course? What are you doing now?
That was 12 years ago and my life and practice have changed massively. I now live in Nelson, New Zealand. What hasn’t changed is my passion for Yoga. I run a small studio and teach weekly Somatic, Restorative, Prenatal and Yoga Nidra classes and workshops in my community. After my training in London I went on to study intensively with Donna Farhi in New Zealand whom I assist regularly. I have cultivated an attitude of acceptance and kindness towards myself that helps a great deal in being the mother of 2 lively boys as well as running my Yoga business.
What is really exciting you right now in your work and in your vision of the future of yoga?
I feel more and more drawn to the healing and restorative power of Yoga. I am interested in practices that can meet us whatever life throws at us. I am working with women living with Cancer using Restorative Yoga and iRest Yoga Nidra and have found that creating a safe and nurturing environment and facilitating deep relaxation as well as meditation is a potent combination in supporting their journey and creating resilience.
As health systems around the world struggle and begin to collapse with the burden of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes to name a few, I see Yoga as playing a huge part both preventatively as well as in supporting people back to wellness.
Visit Sam's website: http://samloe.yoga/