Hello! I am Heather Ritenour-Sampson.
WHO am I? A wildly creative artist of life. A lover who loves to love and be loved. A healer who dances with light + shadow with equal amounts of passion + curiosity... a seeker, a finder, an adventurer... A true tiger goddess, committed to living an authentic life; one that encompasses fierceness and fire as well as luxuriating space and ease, all the while conducting myself as a goddess on this earth and beyond, receiving and radiating a constant flow of abundance, beloved nourishment, love, wisdom and creativity.
WHAT do I do? Create. Coach. Lead. Inspire. Provoke. Heal. Love. Teach. Speak.
HOW do I do it?
TEACH. I'm a 500 E-RYT certified Prana Vinyasa® yoga instructor, who has been studying, teaching and assisting the flow of Prana Vinyasa yoga with Global Yoga Teacher Shiva Rea (www.shivarea.com) for more than 10 years. I'm a yogini, riding the ebbs and flows of life with grace (sometimes) and clumsy crashes (other times), but either way trying to truly walk the walk.
HEAL: I'm a certified massage therapist with a visceral connection to the human body; how it works, how it moves; how it heals.
CREATE: I'm a freelance floral designer with 20 years of experience creating beautiful floral art that reflects the soul of your event -- whether it be a wedding, a birthday, or a just-because.
SPEAK: I'm a published freelance writer, with a passion for telling the truth and finding the beauty in every story. I also speak and present at events on topics of self-care, meditation, yoga, parenthood, and LIFE!
LEAD: I'm a licensed Desire Map facilitator, a process developed by author and speaker Danielle Laporte that helps you identify HOW you want to FEEL to help you decide WHAT you want to DO with your life.
I'm MORE. I'm a mother and wife living a FULL life -- committed to both my work and my family. I refuse to be told I can't have it ALL. I CAN and I DO. I am in a conscious relationship with my husband that blooms with time, rather than wilts. I have three beautiful children/gurus that teach me about love everyday (and DRIVE ME CRAZY)! I have the home of my dreams, in a Norman Rockwell-ian community that I LOVE. I'm a lover of spirit, devoted to walking with my higher power every day. I'm a recovering codependent, learning how to keep my feelings to myself -- and to tame my love of control and perfection. I'm a friend who can listen AND ask the hard questions, who will go out dancing, OR stay in and cry with you.
And I'm here for YOU. I'm excited to work with YOU. I work with empowered, embodied conscious humans with FULL lives to help you determine what's working, what's not, and why you're not living the life of your dreams yet -- or maybe why you haven't noticed you already have it. Let's get stronger together, shake off some stress, and claim the amazing life that IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT. ARE YOU READY?
MY YOGA JOURNEY.
I tried yoga once in college. It was a VHS tape. I had one of the those tiny college TVs with the VHS slot right in the TV... Remember those? I popped in the video thinking "I'm a flexible and athletic person. This should be fun!" Ten minutes later, I was sweating and grunting and hating the man in the leotard who was telling me how this particular pose was toning my endocrine system. I almost threw the TV out the window with the tape still playing. I decided yoga was not for me. Ever.
Fast forward ten years and I'm a massage therapist working at a holistic healing center. One of my colleagues, Robbin, teaches yoga, and she keeps trying to convince me to come to her class. I tell her the story about the VHS tape. I tell her yoga is not for me. She tells me to try again. So I arrive in the musty basement of some old church in town, and we proceed to HAVE FUN. We did lion's breath. There was laughter. She took us outside to do walking meditation on the grass. There was space my racing mind loved -- and needed. And then I became pregnant (and nauseous) and had to let go of yoga (again). One year into motherhood, I was sleep deprived, anxious, and overwhelmed. I had started playing soccer again very soon after my son was born, and my body, though lean, was tight... I had focused so much on "getting my body back" that I left some other things behind.
I signed up for a membership at the local YMCA and started taking yoga classes. There was one teacher in particular who inspired me. Her name was Lori. She was direct, empowered, and knowledgeable. She played great music, not just new-agey stuff. She introduced me to Ashtanga Yoga, and I was hooked. I loved the reliability of it, the way I knew what to expect in a time in my life where there was so little I could count on. I attended classes regularly at the Y, and after an instructor didn't show up to teach a class, I offered to help. I was told I needed some training before I could teach, so I attended a recommended weekend Yogafit Level 1 training. What I loved about it was that they taught us HOW to teach RIGHT AWAY. I started mentoring with my teacher at the Y within the month. A few months later, I was teaching my own classes.
A year later, I moved on to teach at the Rochester Athletic Club. I was incredibly impressed by the level of constructive feedback I was given during my audition, and the mentoring opportunities that were available to me. Again I was paired with a more experienced teacher who was able to guide me and help me find new territory in my personal practice and my teaching. Elaine encouraged me to pursue a 200 hour teacher training, and my search began. I remembered how much fun the Kripalu Yoga classes were that Robbin taught, that really fostered my love of yoga. So I looked at their training, and the dates didn't work with our family calendar. But, there was another training with a woman named Shiva Rea. The dates worked. I didn't know anything about her, or the style of yoga she taught, but the description in the booklet sounded awesome, so I signed up.
I did some research and found a short video of this Shiva Rea on youtube. She was practicing yoga on a mat on the sand, in the middle of a desert. She moved like water. Tears ran down my face as I connected to the femininity and freedom she embodied. I couldn't believe something like this existed, that THIS was yoga. The tears returned the first night of my training. I had traveled hundreds of miles of home, left my young son for the first time, and here I was in a state of COMPLETE FREEDOM. My heart burst wide open. Since then, I've committed myself fully to a practice that continues to challenge me, humble me, heal me, and reveal me. I love that Prana Vinyasa® is based on the ancient philosophy of yoga, and that it is evolutionary in nature; the practices adapt to the day, time, and season of my life. For a rebel like me, there's plenty of space to feel free and open and spacious. And for someone who likes to do things "the right way" (also ME), there's intelligence and wisdom and history backing it all up.
All photos on this site were taken by Emily Griffith