Sunday – Friday 9:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m
9-10:30 Morning Practice
10:45-12:30 Morning Lecture
12:30-1:45 Lunch/Free practice time
1:45-3:30 Afternoon Lecture
3:30-5 Practical Application
I started this journey when I was 17 years old, after I underwent major brain surgery to remove a tumour. At that time, I was a tiny, 90 pound, straight-A student working 40 hours per week as a Manager at a retail sports store while competing in tap, ballet, jazz, and musical theatre dancing. Seemingly overnight, I was very weak and very sick and my life became a daily practice in fulfilling basic needs. When I was well enough to focus beyond survival, I found myself in the body of a 200+lb. person that I did not know or understand. My life was dramatically different: I had to ask for, and accept, help for nearly everything; I developed longand short-term memory loss; I could only take one course per semester and planned for my fifth year of high school instead of for graduation; I had to step down from my job; and I was not able to continue dancing with my team of five years. I struggled against the reality that my life had been dramatically altered for a number of years, which were mostly spent bouncing between denial, unfocused and insincere action and passive aggressiveness while I waited for things to return to “normal”.
In University, my passion for kinesthetic movement reignited through yoga. I came home to myself and became eager to delve deeper into this practice. I discovered that the truest parts of me had not been altered by this trauma and that I was not lost, just hiding. This understanding brought me back to life. On and off the mat I was – and continue to be – transformed through the inquiry of yoga in ways I could never have anticipated.
After completing my post-secondary education in Health Studies and Education from Queen’s University in 2009, I went on to graduate from 200-Hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Mona Warner in Kingston, Ontario. Over the years, I have been honoured to study with such inspirational teachers as Bo Forbes (Restorative Yoga for Emotional Balance), Tiina Veer (Yoga for Round Bodies), Nadine Saxton (Craniosacral Therapy) and Monica Voss (Pre- and Post-Natal Yoga).
As I developed into this yogic lifestyle as a bigger bodied woman, I found that a lot of teachers did not know how to accommodate for thighs that touch or a belly that is always in the way. In 2012, I took a leap and began teaching Yoga for Bigger Bodied People, which was passionately embraced by the community. This encouraged me to organize weekend retreats for this dynamic group. These classes play a part in a self-love movement where plus-sized people can lovingly and methodically reclaim their bodies because our worth is not measured by our waistlines.
In the fall of 2015, I was honoured to be invited into the Yoga & Body Image Coalition as a Community Partner for my work and advocacy in the field of yoga as a bigger bodied people. The YBIC is a collection of yoga teachers, practitioners, experts, educators, activist, writers, artists, non-profit organizers, and advocates. We promote optimal well-being and healthy body relationships through a consistent yoga practice, including physical asana, meditation, and beyond. We are committed to creating safe spaces for bodies of all types, devoid of body shaming, while offering a comprehensive body image education for yoga teachers, community and media outlets. I went on to become an active member of their leadership team in 2017 and continue to enthusiastically represent this brand.
Also in the fall of 2015, I checked a big one off my bucket list and completed my Therapeutic Yoga Intensive training with Susi Hately and began to immerse myself more fully into the world of yoga therapy.
Also in 2016, I became certified as an “Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher” with the Yoga Alliance after teaching well over 1,000 hours of yoga. As a result, I was able to begin working with a local yoga school co-facilitating 200hr. and 500hr. Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher training programs. The experience was incredibly affirming and inspired me to launch Yoga Teacher Training Kingston in the fall of 2017. Navigating students through the waters from practitioner to teacher has been an incredibly affirming and fulfilling experience as I funnel all of my experience and trainings into lessons for the next generation of yoga teachers.
In the summer of 2016, I met my sister in body positivity Dianne Bondy. Dianne is a writer, motivator, educator, yoga teacher, and creator of Yogasteya.com and Yoga for All Teacher Training. I have had the privilege of studying with Dianne, receiving my 300hr. Yoga Teacher Training from her, then partnering with her to teach and (soon-to-come) create online classes for all bodies at Yogasteya.com. I am honoured to be associated this leading voice in the self-love movement.
Through the practice, I have regained my sense of self. Each step on my path has unfolded beautifully as I have evolved. When given the opportunity to act, I have done so authentically, bearing my my most vulnerable self and, in return, I have been met with love and support. I am grateful for my history, grateful for where I am in this moment, and grateful for my future…however it unfolds.
I teach people to breathe better, whether through Buteyko breathing or on the yoga mats. My intimate home studio is located in the heart of Cabbagetown, Toronto, where I teach yoga classes to all levels of practitioners, and where I help people achieve optimal health through retraining breathing patterns.
My goal is to help people meet themselves where they are. By being present with your breath, your body, and your discomfort, you can bring yourself into health and alignment.
Samantha is the founder, manager and teacher at Just Breathe Yoga.
Samantha is an innovative leader and facilitator and a collective bridge to bring people together.
Nothing excites her more than helping others step into who they came here to be. She is a facilitator who is here to create an authentic space which allows individuals to be themselves. Her mission for the studio is to bring a tribe together for kindred souls to become one and create a space for others to shine their brightest light.