Samantha Bijok

Austral NSW
Australia

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I began practicing yoga in 1999. I found the combination of swimming and yoga awesome for my chronic back pain. I also found it quite fun and challenging to do ‘pretzel’ poses. My girlfriend and I used to like to perform them as party tricks and compete with one another. (Warning do not try this at home!)

After moving to the outer suburbs of Sydney in 2003 I was desperate to keep yoga in my life but was dismayed to find very few places to practice in the area, so I decided, then and there, that I wanted to be a yoga teacher, to forever keep yoga in my life. Plus I thought, all the older women I knew who practiced yoga all looked really healthy and great for their ages. Sounded good to me. It was all pretty superficial really.

So I enrolled in an Advance Diploma in Yoga Teaching course at Nature Care College in St Leonards. Just over a year full time and around 1000 hours and my internal (and external) life began to change. It was the internal change that was what so intriguing. I began to recognise many of my reactions in life were coming from a very turbulent, unstable and un-safe (for want of a better word) upbringing.

Without going into detail I have experienced my fair share of traumas. Whatever size they were, they were real and they were mine to learn and grow from. Whether you have experienced trauma or not. Many of us experience anxiety and depression or both, as a result of trauma, illness, extended periods of stress, grief or from a myriad of other reasons in life. Yoga can help us to overcome or at the very least be at peace with our inner turmoil, break our habits and stop self sabotaging.

I wanted to help myself and others with yoga. I continued to work on myself with my home practice and I continued my education in yoga in a variety of areas, mental health, children’s yoga and yoga therapy. Yoga therapy is really just yoga in more depth and individualised. Again yoga therapy was for myself to begin with and then for others. Thanks to Ryoho Yoga Therapy, I believe I have corrected a bulging disc in my neck and I am stronger and healthier than I ever have been. This still amazes me!

Yoga has gotten me through my darkest days, meditation has been my medication, basically #yogakeepsmesane.

I am here now a senior registered yoga teacher with Yoga Australia and a registered Yoga Therapist with AAYT. What does that mean? Well it doesn’t make me ‘feel’ any different or make me ‘better’ than any other yoga teacher. I recognise I am still a student of yoga and I will most likely never become a ‘guru’, I will always be a student, what it means is, whatever I learn in my own practice, with my teachers and continuing my education, I can share with you. If that makes a difference in your life, then I am fulfilling part of my role in this life.

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