With our Kauai retreat coming up in just under a month, we wanted you to get a chance to meet our team! First up is our retreat Yoga Teacher, Samantha Fox Olson.
How did you get into yoga?
At the age of 9, I vividly remember a girl in our school’s talent show, in a long sleeved rainbow leotard, flipping across the stage. It felt to me like every cell in my body enthusiastically came alive just watching her. I clearly remember my first day walking into the gymnastics club too. I recall the emotion and the energy and I felt like I had found my home.
When I found yoga in high school I was very curious and interested to know more because the physical expressions resembled gymnastics. However, I could sense something uniquely magical and mysterious about this yoga practice that intrigued me deeply.
So I got a book and some DVDs and I began my own home practice. I taught all my friends what I was learning and eventually, years later, found my teachers and deepened my practice.
What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
Every since I started practicing I knew I wanted to teach, to share this magical practice with others. This was never a question for me. Maybe because I taught gymnastics at that time, it just felt natural I would teach this too.
After about 9 inconsistent years of my own playful practice, I walked into a yoga studio that just opened around the corner to my house (back some 18 years ago now) and asked, “How can I start teaching?” The owner of the studio replied, “Start by taking classes.” LOL. That is really what happened.
How does the island energy of Kauai come into play in your yoga practice?
Ah, I love this question! The first principle of my yoga practice is to simply breathe, and to open to something bigger. Everything else, all the alignment, the strength, the extension and full expression is birthed from intent-fully breathing and connecting to something bigger.
The energy of Kauai is magical, nourishing and so inspiring. The spirit of Aloha is alive here. So very much alive. Alo can be translated to mean “to share.” And ha, means “breath / spirit.” Aloha can translate into meaning “to share breath”, or “to share spirit.”
In the Hawaiian culture, everything is alive. The rocks, the mountains, the ocean and all of nature is held in reverence. The Hawaiians culturally greet one another warmly by placing their third eyes together and (in the aloha spirit), share breath. Isn’t this so beautiful?
In my practice of yoga, with each inhale I can mindfully receive in the exhale of this generous and mana-filled nature. I can receive in this nourishment, this spirit into every cell and fiber of my body. With each exhale I can give back in offering, knowing that MaKauai will draw in my exhale.
We share breath. We share spirit. It fills me with love and deep nourishment, and in gratitude I can give back.
What is your favorite part of teaching yoga and leading retreats?
There are countless things I love about both teaching and leading retreats on Kauai. My absolute favorite part of teaching is being witness of people come back lovingly home to their bodies in a playful and connected way. To see their enthusiasm for life awaken inside of their every cell.
My favorite part about leading retreats is the deep-dive opportunity. During my retreats I get to fully immerse into the island vibes and wellness lifestyle with my guests for 7 consistent days. It is 7, soul-quenching days of retreat, exploration, wild expression, stillness, deep nourishment, listening, adventure, play and comfort zone stretching goodness. It brings me so much gratitude and joy to see the transformations and inner awakenings that happen here, and then to hear how this supports the next-level unfoldment of their lives when they return home.
What advice do you have for people getting into yoga or continuing their practice?
Yoga is an ever expanding, ever evolving and alive practice. Enjoy the fruits of this practice by showing up consistently. Don’t let your mind fool you in making up an excuse that you need lots of time or space or ability to practice. Ten minutes a day, 6 days a week will reap more benefits than a 90 minute practice, once a week. Consistency is key.
What are 3 things you are most grateful for?
Thanks for asking. My ohana (my husband and our daughter). Our health. And this breath that I get to take right now.
Do you have anything coming up that you want to share?
I do! My next yoga and fitness retreat is happening August 29-September 4th, 2017. An all-inclusive, soul-quenching experience on the North Shore of Kauai that includes daily yoga, fitness, an in-house chef and nutrition expert who will also be pouring her passion and expertise into us, daily guided adventures in paradise, as well as accommodations in a spacious retreat home surrounded by rolling pastures and distant ocean views.
From asana to adventure, cuisine to cruising the coastline, this life-changing retreat will embrace all your senses amid the peace and power that is Kauai. Find out more here.