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


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.

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,

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.

How a Marine Corp vet found healing through yoga. Interview with Justin Blazejewski

I am with the founder of VEToga, Justin Blazejewski

Justin Blazejewski joined the Marine Corp after high-school. He transitioned to a contractor, working in IT. His normal coping methods of dealing with stress were very physical such as marathons and lifting weights. He went to a yoga class after a few injuries and significant pressure from a friend. He was hooked after his first class. Like a marine, he started off going to yoga 6 days per week. As a contractor, he often found himself in war zones and would practice yoga on the bases. The soldiers observed his practice and his state of calm and assumed the two were connected. When they began to ask him to teach them some yoga, he decided that he should take a yoga teacher training so that he could share the practice, the correct way.

After taking a yoga teacher training with Dharma Mittra, he began to question what he was doing and what his purpose was. He decided that he could use his experiences abroad, in war zones to help others that have had similar experiences and so he created VEToga. VEToga is a yoga teacher training for Veterans, Emergency Responders and their families.

When asked, without hesitation Justin recommended the Bhagavad Gita to anyone looking to dig into the background of yoga, dharma and finding your path; especially for those who come from a military background.

Justin Blazejewski is not alone; there are quite a few veterans that have returned to civilian life and have created programs to help other veterans return. Below is a list of some other Not For Profit organizations that work with veterans.

Malas For Vets

Veterans Yoga Project

Mindful Yoga Therapy

Warriors at Ease

The Give Back Yoga Foundation

Mission Continues


Team RWB

Helping Vets Help Vets: As we discussed in the interview, there is a special event that we working together on. On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, 2017, all over the country, teachers will be running a class that is dedicated to the veterans of the U.S. military to honor their efforts and to bring awareness to the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. All proceeds from the class will go to a scholarship fund that will send veterans to a yoga teacher training run by VEToga. VEToga was created by veterans, for veterans. You can learn more on the Facebook page for Boundless Service. We are currently looking for teachers that would like to participate. You can sign up as a teacher or participant on the Boundless Service website. #HelpingVetsHelpVets

Special Thanks: I am grateful to Davide Di Censo for providing the introduction and to 13 Hands for graciously giving us permission to use ‘Big Love’ as the intro and outro.