I am a Peaceful Warrior; Changing Hearts & Calming Minds


"Growing up, I was always active and into sports. Getting older I found myself working more and moving less. On lunch break from work one day, I overheard these two women speaking about their morning workouts. One described her yoga class as being orgasmic, better than sex. Who wouldn't want to try yoga after hearing that!

I’m such a research head, it’s ridiculous. I guess the journalist in me manifests in all things. After
researching what yoga is and where I could go, I took a yoga class. First of all, it wasn't better than sex, clearly she’s doing something wrong but I did feel something. Moving my body felt great even if I didn’t fully understand what the instructor was saying. The studio I went to didn't feel very welcoming but that didn’t discourage me from practicing. I continued down this yoga path at home with DVDs and YouTube videos. After 15 years of practicing on my own, I decided to get my yoga certification. Not to teach yoga, but to deepen my personal practice.

What called me to become a yoga guide was the desire to offer yoga to real people. I constantly hear how others feel like yoga isn't for them or they don't feel comfortable attending classes. I want to create and hold spaces for people to get curious about their bodies. I guide with movement queues instead of poses; offering suggestions that ultimately allows people to create their own adventures on the mat. Making yoga more accessible.

Once I earned my Strala Yoga certification, I continued my education by becoming a certified
Trauma-informed Yoga instructor as well as a Health coach. Utilizing these tools, I didn’t go the
conventional route of working in yoga studios. I held classes in parks, rented dance spaces, used friends homes and offices; offered classes to run clubs, inside stores as well as in shelters for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. I created my own path by utilizing who and what was around me. 

Through word of mouth and social media other opportunities would arise. I am constantly sharing the importance of self-care, eating well and yoga with everyone and in that people would begin to connect me with wellness in their minds; with that connection people would recommend me for gigs or to other people to come take class with me. Having the support of friends and family is a major key. If they aren’t willing to pay you for a class, you need to think about two things:

  1. Is there value to what I’m offering?
  2. Do I need a better support unit?

There are many struggles in this wellness arena especially while maintaining a full-time career at major broadcast news network. It’s hard to balance both but I want to help people live their best life and being a yoga guide and health coach allows me the opportunity to do just that and it brings me joy along that bumpy ride. The ride hasn’t been a smooth one. Some of my low-lights have been renting space and no one showing up for classes; having my ideas stolen by someone I trusted; not socializing as much as I would like and just simply doubting if I’m even good at doing any of this. Then there are the highs: having a regular spot on the Athleta Flatiron Studio calendar since 2016, being asked to host workshops in Woodstock, teaching in Grenada and the biggest highlight of them all is seeing people enter the space totally stressed out and then leaving looking completely refreshed and people sharing with me how they
feel after a class. That’s what keeps me going, it’s a reminder that I am creating something of value. It’s a wonderful thing!

I hope that I’m able to show people that yoga is so much more that what’s being presented in the mainstream. So many people think yogis are all vegans, spiritual AF, unicorns that poop rainbows, and everything nice but that’s not an accurate look at who I am. I am 100% me on and off the mat. I am honest, direct, with a dry sense of humor who loves to eat real food and occasionally drink some wine. I’m all about good vibes, positivity and doing no harm but best believe I don’t take no bull either. Yoga is about embracing who you are and polishing yourself to be the best version of yourself for yourself. An added bonus: others benefit from you being your best self as well."

ammee Leigh
IG/TWITTER: @chasing_sammee

Originally published on The 201st Hour.