Founder of One Yoga Studio and Samantha Yoga
Samantha Sin started her yoga journey in her early teens. Upon graduation from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and equipped with a Bachelor of Nursing, she attained the highest qualification in yoga as ERYT500 and founded her first yoga studio. She finished a lot of other certifications eg, Aerial Yoga, Yoga Wheel, Yoga Therapy, Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, etc. She believes that yoga should be the union of mind, body, and soul. Samantha’s teaching style is dynamic and fun. She encourages students to push their own limits and progress in a non-competitive way. Thanks to her Bachelor’s studies and knowledge of the human body, she is able to break down each pose straight to the yoga basics, since she believes that mindfulness connects a lot of things together. Samantha offers a progressive approach to Hatha and Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and her inspirational classes are a dynamic combination of breath-inspired movement and creative, yet balanced and intelligent sequencing. Samantha’s career in yoga resulted from the harmony between what she loves to do and what she needs to do: to spread the benefits of yoga. Samantha has a genuine love for yoga and she is dedicated to helping people improve their lives through the correct practice of yoga. Samantha has been teaching for around ten years.
How did yoga come into your life? How long have you been practicing yoga? How has your life changed since you started? What is the most significant change you have observed in practicing yoga?
I guess I have always had a special relationship with yoga since I was a kid. My parents met each other in a yoga class back in the 70s. Yoga was not nearly as popular back then as it is right now. I always find it fascinating how both of them developed an interest in yoga and fell in love with it. Because of my parents, I was exposed to yoga ever since I was a kid. They practiced yoga at home from time to time. I still remember how my sister and I mess with our parents when they were doing asana practice. As we grew older, they started teaching us bits and pieces. It was fun. It was however not until years later that I was really hooked. My undergraduate degree was in nursing. Naturally, I started my first job as a nurse after graduation. Working as a registered nurse in the operation room was extremely stressful and I felt that my life was turned upside down. My mind and body were not in the right balance. I had lots of negative thoughts constantly and I realized that was not the life that I want. Completely by chance, a friend of mine asked me one day if I wanted to join her for a yoga session. And it was how I get reconnected to yoga. It may sound cliché but yoga changed my life so much. Not only because it is a large part of my life now, but also because it transformed me spiritually. I become more grounded and am able to live the moment after I start practicing yoga regularly. It becomes easier for me to let go of negative thoughts in life. There is a reason why yoga has become so much more popular in recent years. I truly believe that yoga is what most of us need to help restore our mental and emotional balance. It is a high-paced society we are living in, and the world is becoming more and more uncertain. It is very easy to feel insecure and develop anxiety in a place like Hong Kong. The benefits of yoga are very evident.
“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender. I think business is the same. You have to have perseverance and believe in yourself. Trust the journey. But you also have to be flexible enough to adapt to changes when needed.” – Samantha Sin
How did you decide to become a yoga teacher? What do you love most about your job?
After I started practicing yoga regularly again, I found myself much happier than before. It didn’t change how stressful my job as a nurse was, but I became a lot more resilient. I started falling in love with yoga and did my teacher training. At the time, I wasn’t really thinking about a career change. I did it simply because I wanted to. After obtaining the qualification, however, the possibility of becoming a full-time yoga teacher became a lot more real. Even then though I wasn’t sure if I should make a career change and become a yoga teacher. I was afraid of the uncertainties. However, something completely changed my mind. I was reading the book the Alchemist and I always remember the courage I found from the line – “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”. That was the moment that I decided to start my own yoga studio. When I started my yoga studio, yoga was reasonably popular but not nearly as popular as it is today. There weren’t many options for people who wanted to practice yoga outside of the major chains. I wanted to promote yoga and make it affordable for everyone. People could come to try it out and decide how regularly they want to practice it without having to pre-commit to a 2-year contract. In a way, we are offering flexibility to our customers.
“We believe that when the course materials are properly developed, online learning could actually be a much more effective way to learn yoga.” – Samantha Sin
The studios One Yoga, and Samantha Yoga, across four different locations (Central, Wan Chai, Tim Sha Tsui, and Sheung Wan) in Hong Kong, are the brainchild of Samantha Sin, which is a yoga teacher and an entrepreneur. The two studios, with more than 2,000 students visiting a month, share the same vision and mission: to promote yoga and provide quality yoga experiences for everyone. They try to arrange their class time and length to make the experience easy for people, who aim to live a healthier and happier life through the practice of yoga. As a registered yoga school with the US Yoga Alliance, Samantha and her team have also trained many yoga teachers through their yoga Teacher Training Programme which was started in 2018. The studio is an internationally recognized yoga training school, that provides diversified yoga training and builds a yoga community for yogis. The team consists of young and passionate yoga teachers and management that take care of the operation of the studios as well as the online program, that trying to give their students more individual attention, helping them to find something that suits them in terms of ambiance and style. In addition to the online courses and studio sessions, the team also holds regular training classes for all levels and abilities, from beginners to advanced level yogi, and on various specialty yoga such as Aerial Yoga, Wheel Yoga, and Yoga Therapy, and many more!
One Yoga, “ONE” means yoga is for everyone.
Can you tell us more about your studio? Which aspects of yoga are you most excited about teaching? What type of yoga do you teach?
We currently have two studio brands – One Yoga and Samantha Yoga with 4 studios in Central, Wan Chai, Sheung Wan, and North Point. We offer all kinds of yoga from ground to aerial classes. What sets us apart is our focus on teacher training in particular. We are currently the only studio in Hong Kong that is offering a full online RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training. Our RYT200 teacher training program is one of the most popular in Hong Kong and has many amazing graduates who are now professional yoga teachers. Some went on to start their own studio too! I used to teach a lot of Vinyasa classes and Inversion techniques at the studio. In recent years, I focus most of my energy on training new yoga teachers. I really enjoy teaching our teacher training programme. It is very different from teaching a regular yoga class. You spend a lot of time with your students and you develop a deep connection with them through the programme. It is a very rewarding thing to see how they grow their skills and confidence as a teacher. It feels amazing passing on yoga knowledge to the new teachers who you know will influence more yogis in the future.
“As long as you have a dream and you have something to share with people, you can always find a way to make things work.” – Samantha Sin
What are the biggest challenges and what are the rewarding thing in your career?
For everyone living in Hong Kong, it has been a tough couple of years since 2019. This was particularly the case for us as a business. Whilst teaching yoga is a very rewarding thing, running a yoga studio is very different. As a business, we have to face the business realities, survival, and competition. COVID-19 has definitely been one of the toughest challenges we have faced as a business. At the time of writing all studios in HK had to halt their operation due to social distancing measures. In 2022 alone we will be close for at least 108 days, if not more. The most rewarding thing for me personally is seeing the happy faces of my students; knowing that they have learned something in class that would be useful for their yoga journey. Even though we have conducted quite a lot of RYT200 teacher trainings already. Every graduation ceremony is still a bitter-sweet moment. Our students have all been very sweet. A lot of them write long thank you cards with touching words. It is really really rewarding knowing that they truly enjoy the journey with us.”
Is yoga more a spiritual or physical experience? What are your feelings about it?
Yoga is not whole if we only focus on the physical asana or the spiritual practice. For most people, yoga is probably more a physical experience; A lot of people do yoga as a physical exercise to relieve stress/stretch themselves. In a 60mins regular yoga class, it is usually difficult to cover the spiritual side of yoga. Therefore most people have the impression that yoga is mostly about asana. In fact, yoga has a long history dating back to the BC era. In its long history of development, different schools of thought and philosophy have developed for yoga. It is important for a yogi to understand the history and philosophy of yoga in order to gain the full benefit of it. This is also what we cover a lot in our teacher training programme.
“Yoga is not just an exercise but also a way of living. It is really exciting to be in an industry where there is an ever growing number of people who share your values.” – Samantha Sin
How important is meditation in yoga practice? Do you meditate?
Yoga and meditation are strongly related to one another, in fact in ancient times, monks practice yoga in order to be able to meditate more without stiffness in the body. I do meditate regularly and I introduce a short meditation exercise in my regular classes
Do you think yoga can help to stay focused and positive during this period of global stress? How long would you think is needed, in order to start feeling the benefits? What are your suggestions to stay calm and relaxed in such uncertain times?
Definitely! There are plenty of scientific studies that show the benefit of yoga for stress relief and achieving a positive mental state. The benefit of yoga is very evident from my own experience. It does not take long for one to see the effect. A lot of people think that you need to practice yoga for a very long time in order to see the benefits. This is not true. My recommendation is to focus on developing a habit initially. It is not realistic to expect a sustained benefit with just one session of yoga. Most people feel positive and rejuvenated after a yoga session but everyone hasn’t the time to go to a yoga class for 60mins. What I always recommend people do is to start with time you can commit and commit to doing it for say 7-14 days. It can be as short as a 15mins session a day at home. You can also include meditation in your practice. We have quite a few videos for beginners on our website for free.
Due to the pandemic and restrictions, some people have left their exercise or gym routine. Can yoga, especially now, be a practical home substitute for other forms of workouts? Can yoga be a more accessible form to stay and be healthy?
This is actually what we firmly believe and what we are promoting as a studio. Whilst yoga, like the gym, is becoming more difficult to access in a studio due to COVID restrictions, there are plenty of resources online that are free which people could make use of to practice at home. Unlike the gym, yoga does not require a lot of space and equipment. A simple yoga mat is enough to get you started. We as a studio have been actively promoting online learning/remote learning to help people continue their yoga routine during this difficult time.
“I decided to make a career change to pursue something that I am really passionate about; a dream that I can pursue for life.” – Samantha Sin
Do you feel anyone can enjoy and gain from yoga? What steps can be done to include yoga in the daily routine? What is your best advice?
The motto of One Yoga is Yoga is for everyone. The most common misconception is you need to be flexible in order to do yoga. Quite the contrary, it is because you are not flexible, that is why you need yoga. Like I mentioned, take baby steps. Start small, make sure there is continuity. Commit to a 7/14-day routine. Once you see the benefit and develop the habit, it becomes more difficult to stop than to continue.
Photo courtesy of Samantha Sin