Tell us what led you to The River.

I believe in the euphoric, synchronistic, and beautiful parts of life… because the universe matches that magic. In summer of 2013, I’d completed my 200hr yoga teacher training, yet entirely unsure how I’d possibly turn this newfound passion into a reality. But I made a commitment to myself to put a seed of intention out into the universe, telling as many people as I could that I wanted to teach yoga – specifically working with students with disabilities. Not having any bites or nudges, I decided to throw my sails to the wind and go to Wanderlust Festival by myself. It was a challenging, inspiring, opening weekend and it was coming to an end. The final class wasn’t short of tears, singing and smiles. When I stood to roll up my mat, I recognized an advisor from my university (and the now-owner of The River). She asked me what I was up to, so I told her. She smiled a knowing smile and said, “It’s funny how things shake out. You are exactly who we’re looking for.” And there you have it. What I was trying to give, they were ready to receive. The rest is history. The River is my hOMe and has the biggest place in my heart and has forever changed me.

In your opinion, what does “you are beautiful” mean and what is it’s significance at The River?

“You are beautiful” means not only self-acceptance, but in fact, radical self-love. To be honest, I’ve struggled a lifetime navigating a deeper understanding of internal beauty. Yoga has really helped me discover that beauty and wellness comes from the inside-out, and not the other way around. At The River, people come from all walks of life. We joke about being the “yoga misfits” sometimes, but really, we all “fit” just right because everyone has a hOMe here. To be exactly as and who we’re meant to be, look, do, feel… The River holds space for so many different people, beautiful in our own ways – and I think through that sort of sense of inclusion, community, connection and cherishing of idiosyncrasies, characters and anomalies… that’s actually what makes us realize our oneness. That we are all connected because of who we are in this moment. And that is beautiful.

How will the “you are beautiful” theme this year come through in your class?

The theme “You are beautiful” is going to shine-through in my class this summer through connection. To oneself, yes, but also to each other. Because we should celebrate what makes us unique as individuals, and beautiful in our differences, strengths, and capable bodies… but also in our common threads (sutras) that bind us as human beings. At the end of the day, we are all seeking health, happiness and wholeness. What do I mean by connection, you ask? You’ll just have to come play to find out for yourself 🙂

What have you done to prepare for taking the stage in front of 2,500 yogis this June?

Yikes! What an intimidating and exhilarating question! I’ve planned a sequence and run it through by myself, as well as with friends. I’ve sat down with mentors like Christen Bakken and Jacki Carr to look at how I can stand in presence, confidence, connection, and celebration with my message and my teaching. I have confided in friends about my fears and insecurities – like… how do I recover if I fart on stage?! 😉 You know… the normal human quandaries when you’re living a BHAG (“big, hairy, audacious goal” – prop-tarts to Sara Rice with Lulu Lemon for that acronym). And I am hosting a yoga-music-snack-dance party in the next few weeks with our DJ Japadapa and yoga stage demonstrators to connect and collaborate and see where we may be able to spice things up, slow things down, saturate the experience with the good stuff… I am so excited about that! Beyond the planning, I’ve invited friends and family and am so deeply honored that so many people I care about are showing up to support, but mostly I’m just excited for everyone to be a part of an epic experience, at one of the most beautiful places on earth, participating in one of the most magical practices I’ve come to learn and love so deeply… this experience is so much bigger than myself. And at the end of the day, I think it’s just a matter of getting up on that stage, taking a deep breath, and reminding myself that I am here for a reason. That my teaching is only a conduit to something bigger than myself. And heck, it’s just supposed to be fun 🙂 so by golly, that’s just what I’m gonna DO!

What are you most excited about of the YOTR experience?

Seeing people give the “Yogi’s Choice” of what I like to call, “The Triple H”… meeting a neighbor and offering a handshake, high-five or (my personal favorite) big ol’ hug!

If people want to come see you at The River, what can they expect?

If people want to come see me at The River, you can find me nearly every day, in a myriad of class formats. I teach beginners (River Basics), All-Levels Power Vinyasa, Align & Burn (yoga with weights), Adaptive Yoga (for people with disabilities, injuries, or who want a slower/grounding practice), Children’s Yoga & Teacher Trainings… you want it, I want to teach YOU! In my classes, I’m on a mission to stir souls, spread smiles, and start dance-parties. I’m a hug and high-five enthusiast and I hope when you come to my class, you feel welcomed, supported, happy and balanced by the end of class. Although I’ve never been able to personally “take” my own class, rumor has it, I kick your butt… but leave you with a big smile 🙂

Practice with Samy!

Mondays @ 5:30pm | Power Vinyasa Yoga

Tuesdays @ 2pm | Power Vinyasa Yoga

Tuesdays @ 4pm | Yoga Cross (Collaboration class with our neighbors Fitness in the City)

Tuesdays @ 6pm | Align & Burn (Yoga with Weights)

Wednesdays @ 12pm | Power Vinyasa Yoga

Thursdays @ 6pm | Align & Burn (Yoga with Weights)

Thursdays @ 7:15pm | Yoga Basics

Pre-register for classes here.