September 2014 Student of the Month

Sam Roberts

sam Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 21 years young and a dedicated yoga practitioner. I took my first Bikram yoga class on February 22nd 2013 and instantly fell in love. I knew I was hooked. In my former life I was, and still am to an extent, an avid skateboarder, and a physics guru. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, following my graduation from high school I began to fall in with the wrong crowd and started walking the path of self-destruction. Right up to the point where I began practicing yoga I was dealing with substance abuse issues, depression, and my overall quality of life was, well suffice it to say, not so good. This yoga has helped me in more ways then I can possibly explain and I cannot even being to express my gratitude to every single one of the amazing people I have met here at The Union. In the year and a half I have been practicing I have made great strides to mend the relationships I have hurt with my friends and family and will continue to strive to be a better person each and every single day.
What brought you to the yoga practice?
A desire to be a better person, self expression, to heal my mind and body from the myriad of destructive things I put my body through. To remind myself everyday to be just a little bit kinder and just a little bit stronger, I needed a creative outlet in my life and I feel yoga asana provides this for me.
How often do you practice?
Six days of yoga asana practice one day of rest, rinse, and repeat. Strangely enough sometimes it's harder to take the day off then it is to get myself class. I always need to remind myself to be mindful of my body and to give it rest every once in a while. As important as yoga asana is to overall health so too is relaxation. 

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking you first class?
Growing up skateboarding there is a saying that you either “go big or go home”, this mentality lead me to taking a lot of bad falls and a lot of high impacts. Naturally, knee and lower back injuries ensued. It's funny, one does not realize how badly one's body is beat up until the steps are taken to reverse the damage done. I can say that in this point in my life I have never felt more healthy and more happy and I know this I can attribute to a consistent yoga practice.
What are the greatest benefits of your practice?
I can say that it keeps me in good physical shape and I can say that it builds resolve to weather even the most overbearing of challenges. Yoga has taught me discipline and perseverance in mind, body, and spirit. However I can say that, for me, the greatest benefit from this yoga is the fact that it holds me accountable for my life-style choices. Yoga asana has shown me to be mindful of myself and to regard my body in all aspects of life.
What is your favorite part of the yoga?
Wearing booty shorts, obviously. B. K. S. Iyengar, "The practice of yoga asana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end… Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit."