This week we had a chance to sit down with Samantha, or as she is known to her friends and students: Miss Sammy Sunshyne. Hailing from Nebraska, USA, Sammy has been a yoga teacher at Navutu Dreams Resort for almost four months. We discussed inversions, studying spoken Sanskrit, and what she will miss most about Siem Reap when her time comes to move on.
How Sammy Got Her Start
Sammy was a member of a dance performance group in Omaha, Nebraska and had already been an avid yoga student for five years when she was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in India. Upon her arrival, Sammy took the chance to further her study of yoga in the land of its origin.
Inevitably, Sammy fell in love with India’s vibrant culture and history and, upon her return to the States, Sammy Sunshyne took Hindu scripture classes and learned to speak Sanskrit – all while teaching acrobatics and flexibility classes.
At Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa
Sammy’s background in dance and acrobatics make her an ideal candidate to teach Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga. The way she describes it, she splits the Vinyasa discipline into two classes. Her Power Yoga classes focus on building strength, especially in the core, and conquering the back bend.
I take joy in watching my regular students make progress. I have enjoyed creating new Vinyasas and incorporating new poses into sequences. I love working one-on-one in my private classes. Teaching at Navutu Dreams, I am more conscious of my communication with international clients and I really appreciate that.
In her other Vinyasa Flow class, Sammy’s students focus more on hand balancing, leg balancing, and inversions. Ashtanga classes repeat the same series of movements each time, but that is anything but boring for Sammy.
I love teaching Ashtanga because it’s the same primary series each time and this gives students a chance to dig deeper into their own practice. They know what’s coming and practice becomes more meditative.
Dedicated students and small class size are just a few of the perks Sammy reaps at Navutu. With the resort’s commitment to wellness, Sammy has had the opportunity to learn from other yoga teachers and wellness experts at Navutu like Francois, who teaches Iyengar yoga and Sivananda.
And it doesn’t hurt that the property is dedicated to the idea of whole body wellness. Navutu Dreams Resort fosters a sense of wellness that promotes taking your health seriously.
The facilities are the best in Siem Reap. The floors are so clean. Everything – down to the mats and blocks and towels – is so well taken care of. When I started teaching at Navutu I was nervous at first — tiptoeing around such nice facilities. But once you realize that you’re a guest of the resort when you come to practice yoga, you realize that the facilities and services are here for you.
Sadly, Sammy is leaving Navutu Dreams soon to travel around Southeast Asia, stopping first at this year’s Rainforest World Music Festival in Borneo. When we asked her what she will miss the most about her time at Navutu Dreams she didn’t skip a beat:
the students and the grass!