Sam Fong Brooks. Born 1986. Yoga teacher and personal trainer.
When and how did you start yoga?
I started yoga during a surf trip along the east coast of South Africa. There was a big wave surfer on a surf documentary practicing Ashtanga and I thought; if it works for this guy who is paddling into giant waves, then there has to be something in it. This was simply the beginning of the asana practice. It could be argued that I started yoga at the age of 13 as that was the start of my interest in meditation.
What style of yoga do you practice?
My main practice is dynamic Hatha or what some would likely deem as a slow flow. Other practices include Ashtanga and Yin.
How has it changed your life?
The asana practice has healed my body while the daily meditation practice has created a connection with my body and mind that had become rather absent. I should add at this point that the asana practice started in 2008, though was very on and off until about 4 years ago.
It has helped me to be more in touch with my emotional and psychological experiences. Living with anxiety and depression, it has allowed me to come to terms with these emotions - noticing them and taking care of myself when they arise.
What is your most memorable yoga moment?
There are many, though currently it would be the weekend in Edinburgh with Dylan Werner. There was such a great deal of knowledge shared, it challenged me on a psychological level as both a teacher and student. Poses were achieved that I had been working on for a considerable time. Bursting into tears on my mat after a deep hip practice, an unlocking of pure emotion in the most positive way; it is memorable as through self medication my emotional experience had become somewhat limited.
What makes a great yoga teacher?
A great teacher is present and continually a student; understanding that we learn from those we share our knowledge with.
What is your favourite pose and why?
Kurmasana - turtle. A pose in which I feel truly present and is a reminder of how far my body has come from the bag of knots it used to be. There can be no rushing, it only comes when the body is ready.
What do you do when not doing yoga?
I do a variety of things, though to keep the list to what I am prioritising: climbing, learning Sanskrit, hanging with my dog, creating tasty food, drawing and woodwork.
What are you listening to?
Audiobook - Science of Yoga,
Music - Keep it to most recent; Flight of the Conchords
Podcast - Waking up with Sam Harris
What are you reading?
The Science of Discworld 2; Yogavataranam; Joseph Campbell - The Hero With a Thousand Faces
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I would like to a farmer later on in life, growing and maintaining heritage varieties.
If you could be any animal in the world, what would you choose?
It’s a tough toss up between a manatee and a dolphin.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Benicio Del Toro - from an appearance point of view, I believe he is pretty close. His ability to play both light and dark roles is fantastic, and the various roles he has played would lend kindly to some of the more twisted aspects.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Binge watching a series accompanied by junk food. Though I never feel that guilty...
When are you happiest?
In the sunshine!
What is your greatest fear?
Not having someone to share the beauty of life. The ups and downs - warts and all.
Where would you go if you could time travel?
I'd love to see the dinosaurs.
Why should people do yoga?
To bring balance to an ever increasing life of excess. To actually spend some time going inwards rather than spending all our time seeking outside of ourselves provides some powerful healing and understanding.
Tell us something we don’t know.
In mythology, the first yoga student was a fish.
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