It is very clear that Samara Speller is beyond her years. She has a thirst to learn about yoga, anatomy and people. And her thirst is inspiring.
Her yogic journey inspires me and I would like her to inspire you.
Photo by Kristina Kashtanova. IG:@icreatelife_
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?
I never had any desire to be at the front of a room full of people, as public speaking has always made me feel ill but the more I practiced and learned the more I wanted to share with others. Teaching has taught me many things. Among them:
a) How to not take things personally: students' facial expressions while they're practicing, their reactions to you/to themselves, feedback/suggestions etc.
b) How rare it is to find a body with no injuries. Everybody's got something so you can never make an assumption about someone's practice just from watching them.
c) Instant forgiveness of self. When I first started teaching I would get completely thrown off and lose my confidence if I made a mistake such as saying right instead of left or hand instead of foot. This kind of self consciousness is selfish because it means I'm thinking more about myself than my students. Teaching taught me how to roll with the punches. I still make little mistakes all the time but I brush them off because it's not about me, it's about them.
3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?
My dear friend Mathieu Boldron taught me about abundance. He told me about another teacher who gave him the advice to only give a little bit of information to students at a time so that they keep coming back for more. I asked him what he thought about that and he shook his head and told me he believes in abundance.
Being stingy or withholding comes from a place of fear, as if there isn't enough success or brilliance to go around. Ever since then I have seen in my own life how the more I give, the more I receive. Only good things can come from generosity.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
5-7 days a week depending on my schedule and how I feel.
5. Who inspires your practice?
The other people in the room. I love practicing in group classes. I usually only have about a 10% visual awareness of the two people on either side of me and 0% of everyone else but I can still hear and feel the presence of everyone moving together and it's magic. It's union. Plus, I'm an introvert so getting to be with other people without the need to talk to them is heaven.
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
Because I teach. Every cue that I give in class is something that I do in my practice as well. If I can't feel it in my own body then I would never instruct someone else to.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
The yoga practice is a tool. Just like any other tool, knowing when, why, and how to use it will get you the most out of it.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
I teach group classes everyday in Brooklyn. Goodyoga in Greenpoint/Bushwick and Lighthouse Yoga School in Williamsburg. I teach privately as well, all over New York City.
9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
It's made me more conscious of my own behavior patterns. The more I become aware of my own patterns the more I see how they affect myself and others. I'm able to see myself in others and others in myself very clearly. Because of this, life has become a lot less dramatic. The jig is up, so to speak. I can't tell stories to myself that I'm a victim or everyone else is crazy or I'm crazy or whatever the case may be because I know none of that is true. Any frustrations I have with anyone else are temporary and will soon be replaced with compassion. Compassion is an equilibrium. It's almost disappointing because being dramatic is fun.
10. What has kept you practicing all these years?
That there is no obligation. I can stop any day I want and that's why I don't. For many people, discipline is what draws them to the practice and keeps them going. "Do it because it must be done." That doesn't work for me. The second I have to do something, I don't enjoy it anymore. I do what I love and that's it.
11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?