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MY JOURNEY TO YOGA

Samantha Alvarez

I have always lived an active life. In high school I ran track and played soccer then took up cycling classes and a regular gym routine in college. Although I was in-shape, my body was far from healthy. I developed sever back pain (knees and ankles too) over the years and didn't know what workouts would both ease the discomfort and allow me to keep fit.

I found yoga in 2014 and first fell in love with the way it moved my body. I have never been too feminine. I grew up with two amazing and tough brothers and as most younger siblings do, I wanted to be just like them. Yoga was the first thing that made my feel womanly (I am sure I looked like a giraffe learning to walk). The beauty I found was in the synergy of the gentle movements and stillness in my mind between in the midst of sweat puddles on my mat. 

After practicing for four years I decided to take a Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training at my favorite studio, Spark Yoga. My intention with taking that course was to better understand the mechanics of the poses. I had no desire to stand in front of people and teach. In fact, I would have nightmares about public speaking.  I would get nervous, my body would shake and my words would not form complete sentences. I lacked any and all confidence and I hated being the center of attention. I challenged myself to change and took the leap. I have loved every minute of it since. 


As an instructor it is my aim to help students listen to their inner selves and find the courage and confidence to step out of their comfort zone. I hope that my students experience what this practice has given to me.

Image by Dollar Gill

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as 'ordinary courage.'"

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ABOUT ME

I grew up in Orange County and moved to the Central Coast in 2014 to attend California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. I graduated with a degree in Environmental Management and Protection and two minors (Biology and Indigenous Studies). With some family close by, I decided to stay in this beautiful town.

For work, my full time job is with California State Parks where I am an Environmental Scientist. I work in Resources where my focus is on the land. I do everything from invasive plant-removal to controlled burns as a part of the State Parks Fire Crew. Most of my time is spent in the hills of Montaña de Oro or out and about all along the coast of SLO county and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I have a small business, Nugget of Love Co. where I sell handmade candles, soaps, and other goodies. The process of creating and exploring new products is so cathartic to me. It brings me an immense amount of joy to share my passion with friends and family. 

Last but not least, my zoo. I find a tremendous amount of healing through animals and have brought that into my home. I have a sassy Husky/Lab pup that stole my heart the second we met. Myles has been my right hand man, he has made me belly laugh more times than I can count, wiped (licked) tears when I cried, and protected me from every doorbell sound on Netflix. I also have a kind kitten, Maya Mae. I have never been much of a cat lady but this girl has me smitten. Her mellow demeanor has slowed me down when life moved too fast, her "dough kneading" has massaged my anxious belly, and her gifts of dead lizards always brighten my day. I also have two beautiful bunnies that make me believe in true love. Moon Boots and Stumpy are either getting into trouble or spooning and there's no in-between. Whatever it is, it is done with love in their hearts and carrots in their teeth. My newest addition to the zoo is Miss Lettie Lutz. She is a baby bearded dragon that loves lounging on her hammock or helping me make breakfast from my shoulder. I am so thankful for the lessons they teach me and the love they give. My heart has grown so big with each of these critters in my life.