Samantha has been teaching yoga since 2002. She believes that the real purpose of yoga is to bring harmony to our relationship with ourselves and those around us, and that awareness is the key to all healing.
Samantha teaches private yoga sessions in San Francisco, and private group classes.
Together with her husband Robert Thomas, Samantha has been co-leading Zen and Yoga Retreats nationally and internationally since 2007.
In 2011 and 2012 they led retreats in Katmandu, Nepal and Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well at at the three practice centers of the San Francisco Zen Center: Tassajara in the mountains near Big Sur, CA, Green Gulch Farm in Sausalito, CA, and the City Center in San Francisco. In 2014 they will lead another retreat in Katmandu, Nepal.
training & practice
Samantha has been practicing Iyengar yoga since 1991. She is a certified graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco's Teacher Training Program. Samantha has apprenticed with master-level yoga teachers Patricia Sullivan and Anne Saliou, and has studied with many teachers from other yoga lineages as well, including Ashtanga and Viniyoga.
Samantha also brings to her teaching her study and practice of Eastern healing traditions and many therapeutic modalities to alleviate physical and mental suffering, including Zen and Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Samantha first came to yoga to heal her lower back pain. Years later, yoga helped her to heal a repetitive stress injury to her neck and arms, and a whiplash neck injury. Through healing her own injuries with yoga, Samantha has gained both the personal experience and the training to help others with their injuries and chronic pain, including repetitive stress injuries.
For yoga therapy, Samantha is also guided by the teaching of Aadil Palkivala, Judith Hanson Lasater (restorative yoga teacher and physical therapist), and her study of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qi Gung, as well as the Feldenkrais Method.
Feeling that something important was missing after practicing yoga for five years, Samantha moved to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, a Zen Buddhist monastery in the California mountains, where she spent the next few years in intensive training in Zen Buddhist meditation and work practice.
After leaving the monastery, she spent a year in Asia studying Tibetan Buddhism and Yoga in India, Nepal and Thailand.
Samantha's experiences with these teachings taught her about the mind and the nature of the universe, the importance of learning to quiet the mind, and the possibility of learning to connect with the life force that nourishes and moves through all things.
traditional chinese medicine
Samantha has recently completed her Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine - acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine - at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. Her understanding of the body/mind and how the life-force is expressed and its patterns of movement in the body/mind, has grown deeper and wider in these five years of study.
Samantha worked with the Green Yoga Association in its first three years as director of communications and newsletter editor. The mission of the Green Yoga Association is to raise awareness that practicing nonviolence to all things is an essential part of yoga. Samantha helped to define Green Yoga's philosophy and develop its programs for the yoga community, and also taught at the Green Yoga Conference in 2007. Deeply influenced by her study of Green Yoga, Samantha's yoga teaching is grounded in the awareness of our interdependence with the Earth and the cosmos.
Samantha's training includes 15 years of dance training in ballet, modern and Butoh, a modern Japanese dance form. She toured nationally and internationally with the West Coast's most prominent Butoh company, Harupin-Ha Butoh Dance Theatre. Her revered teachers, Hiroko and Koichi Tamano, were students of the originator of Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata. Samantha's training in Butoh taught her the joy of imaginative play. Samantha currently lives next door to the San Francisco Zen Center with her husband, Robert Thomas, a very handsome Zen priest and the President of the San Francisco Zen Center.