Sam Salwei, originator of a yoga modality

Sam Salwei

Originator of a yoga modality

“Movement arts to keep your body in shape to do fun things.”

Sam Salwei is one of the original YogaSlackers. He and Jason Magness started the organization in 2004 when a picture was taken of them at a yoga festival creating yoga poses on a slackline and soon after emails asking for information began pouring in.

A slackline is a length of 1 inch webbed fabric that is not taut and so it has some bounce. Slacklining has been around for a while and is particularly popular among rock climbers which is how Sam and Jason discovered it.

Same had been in an entrepreneurship program at the University of North Dakota. He left because of a conflict in philosophy; rather than focusing on returns for the shareholders, Sam believes businesses should focus on the product for the customer. Sam talks about his businesses being acts of passion rather than intentions of getting rich.

It may sound haphazard and undisciplined, but from the very beginning the founders were methodical; they had an Limited Liability Corporation and insurance soon after their photo appeared in the magazine. In our conversation, Sam explains the business model, which is not about making anyone wealthy. Most people that go through the teacher training have complete freedom to do with it as they will. There are a handful of teachers that represent YogaSlackers, the brand and these teachers have gone through a second, deeper training. They only run trainings whenever they feel that they cannot meet the demand from the public.

We talk about more than just slacklining. Sam left his apartment in 2003 and has not had a permanent residence since. At first, he was sleeping at a climbing gym. Soon, he began to travel, teaching slacklining around the world. Much of his journey occurred in the Peace Love Car. This 1998 Ford Festiva was not just a car, it was also his home. It was driven up to 520,000 miles with many repairs and modifications along the way. After 10 years of living on the road, or ‘reseaching’, they are now embarking on a project of building a new vehicle. If you are a gearhead, you should listen to how they are going about it.

After my conversation with Sam, I have a brief talk with Raquel who is Sam’s partner. Raquel talks about living, teaching and traveling with another human. She also talks about combining work and play.

Special Offer: Receive a 15% discount on any slackline kit on their website when you use the code SlacklineYoga

Upcoming Events:

YogaSlackers Teacher Training | Aug 31-Sep 9
Thailand Retreat, Chiang Mai | Nov 25-Dec 2
Koa Lanta Adventure | Dec 17-26

 

Social Media

YogaSlackers.com

Facebook

Instagram: @yogaslackers

Special thanks to Davide DiCenso for introducing the episode. He teaches yoga, handbalancing and acroyoga and can learn more about him on his website.

Leah Emmott: Owner & Originator of Inner Fire Brand Clothing.

Leah Emmott at her Wanderlust Booth

Leah Emmott

Owner and originator of Inner Fire Brand Clothing

“I left a 40 per week job to become an entrepreneur with an 80 hour per week job.”

Her yoga journey began with Bikram and after an injury, she transitioned into an exploration of other styles. She discovered Moksha Yoga and became enamored with their commitment to the yoga off of the mat as well as what happens in the asana practice. It did not take long for Leah to realize that she wanted to become a yoga teacher.

Leah had been a yoga teacher for about 6 months, and suffered a serious medical emergency. She took time off to rest and recover. During her convalescence she began to create and sell small products to hear friends through Facebook. The inspiration to do so came out of the blue; while driving, she quickly pulled over to write down a few slogans that suddenly occurred to her. Leah’s business began small and grew organically. When she finally committed to the  business full-time, she found herself with more free time because she was no longer trying to juggle multiple commitments.

Leah Emmott & Brian Macrae Davis

In the beginning, Leah sold shirts with slogans and while she continues to do so, her brand has evolved to add leggings and athletic tops with creative designs. Many designs are inspired by traditional patterns from Africa and other indigenous cultures. Leah designs what she wants to wear and designs with the intention that it should last longer than one season. She still handles many of the tasks within the company herself. In fact, you can often find her working the booth at each of the 6 Wanderlust Festivals.

Leah very graciously has offered a 15% coupon to any listener of Chats From The Mat. It is valid on anything on the website until April 30, 2018. The coupon code is MATCHAT. In April, Inner Fire is releasing a new collection called Elevate Spring 18. You will find a few sneak peaks at the bottom of the page.

During the conversation, Leah mentioned her Entrepreneurship Accelerator progrm, EO; Entrepreneur’s Organization

To learn more and follow her work:

MyInnerFire.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

There is some background noise during the conversation because we recorded our conversation in a common room in the hotel at the Wanderlust Festival in Mont Tremblant.

I would like to thank, for providing the introduction to this episode, another Canadian by the name of Tony Vendrasco.

Elevate Spring 18 Collection
Elevate Spring 18 Collection

Peg Mulqueen; Ashtanga teacher, magazine editor, podcaster and more

This episode contains occasional profanity.

Peg Mulqueen began practicing yoga 17 years ago, after her kickboxing class and she would leave before savasana because taking a break in life didn’t make sense to her. She started teaching yoga because the regular teacher was pregnant. After that, she began studying yoga sequences and only then did she look for a teacher training program. Two years later, she opened up a yoga studio. She emphatically states that this is the wrong way to go about it, now that she knows. But, that was her path.

Peg speaks frankly about her frustration with the present yoga system: churning out teachers in packaged programs. She gives a new idea for a business model for yoga studios that could replace the teacher certification program; it is an on-going relationship between students and the teacher or studio. People crave knowledge and that is often why many of enter teacher training. This business model is not really new, it is based on the old way of study; one on one.

Being a yoga teacher is not a great business model because it is about the people, not about the money. And so many people now think big and that can be their downfall. Peg encourages teachers to start small. Students care more about relationships. Invest in people, not in overhead.

Peg explains that Ashtanga is a breathing method, not a physical practice.

On a whim, she and her daughter created a magazine called Ashtanga Dispatch. From the magazine, the podcast soon followed with the help of Chris Lucas. There is also a blog that Peg occasionally writes in. All these can be found at the website, AshtangaDispatch.com.

Blog Post: Why (Almost) Everything you Learned in Teacher Training is Wrong

She mentioned Samantha Lucas, a woman who practiced Ashtanga Yoga and is missing the lower part of one leg. You can learn more about her on her Facebook page.

Special Thanks to Zo Leroux for the introduction. A big thanks to 13 Hands for allowing us to use the song, Big Love in the musical opening and closing of this episode.

Please help us to spread the word of this podcast by sharing the episode, reviewing the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts and by following us on our social media by searching for Chats From The Mat.

Part 2 of the interview with 13 Hands: Grammy nominated musician, yoga professor and a fun guy to talk to

This is the second episode of two. The first episode was released immediately before this one.

Yoga is about freedom and doing right by your tribe. – 13 Hands

This episode contains occasional profanity.

The conversation jumps around to many different topics, including his process of learning his own body. He tells about spending hours reading about how the body works and using medical literature to show Doctors how wrong their opinions are.

He gives us a Business 101 course on getting into yoga, from an artist’s perspective. He talks about showing up to teach a workshop where there were only 2 students and teaching anyway. He explains how to get a base income, seeking out supplemental business and the importance of marketing. He talks about how to present your information, depending on who you are talking to. That you should figure out what you are good at and build off of it and to consider when it is better to partner and when it is better to run, solo.

To learn more about 13 Hands:

Website: https://13hands.bandcamp.com/

Facebook

Ted Talk YouTube: Music for healing, from a “calm type-A” personality

And, of course, we appreciate 13 Hands for the conversation and for providing the music at the beginning and end of the episode.

Some of the different people and places that were mentioned in the conversation:

Mount Eden Retreat Center in Washington, NJ

SuperSoul Farm in Canaan, NY

SuperSoul Yoga in Chatham, NY

International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT)

Dr. Michael Schachter in Suffern, NY

Tantris, the clothing line and studio of Russell Simmons

200HR Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training at Kula Kamala Foundation and Yoga Ashram

A few of the books that were mentioned in the conversation:

Heal Your Body by Louise Hay, Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons, Yoga & Ayurveda by David Frawley