Samantha Oswald is Alive + Well’s Hospitality Coordinator, as well as a part of our team of yoga instructors. Working behind the scenes as we prepare for our Grand Opening, Samantha has been fundamental in helping to set the groundwork that will allow us to provide a truly unique integrated wellness community that supports healthy and mindful living for Austin area residents. We’re absolutely thrilled to have her as part of our team!
Tell us about your role as Hospitality Coordinator and how your role fits into Alive + Well’s mission of cultivating a community living at their optimum wellness, both physically and mentally.
Can you imagine the potential of a community truly living at their optimum wellness? When we are bogged down with life, be it from disease (mental or physical) or other challenge, we aren’t able to be present for our lives or for each other. We get stuck and we get sick, and suddenly life becomes about avoiding our experience (because it hurts!) rather than being present for it and the goodness we can get from the moment.
As the Hospitality Coordinator at Alive + Well, I have the pleasure of being the ultimate relationship builder between our community and our amazing staff. Our services, along with the carefully selected team of staff and practitioners, are fully capable of bringing someone who is hurting into being someone who is healing and thriving! We also serve those who just needs a reset in their day, or those who needs some space and time for self-love and care.
Regardless of how big or small the journey, I’m excited to help our community find their right path to wellness. I like to think of myself as a loving and supportive guide, meeting our guests where they currently are on their wellness journey, and walking alongside them as they work towards the unveiling of a more joyful life experience. We all long to feel validated, whole, healthy and vibrant in our skin. We also all long to belong to a community that loves and supports us. As the Hospitality Coordinator, I aim to hold that intention for all who walk through our doors.
In addition to your role as Hospitality Coordinator, you’ll also be teaching yoga courses at Alive + Well. Tell us about your background as a yoga instructor & areas of focus
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 12 years now, and had the pleasure of training for my 200-hour certificate at Yoga Yoga here in Austin. I continue to learn from amazing teachers and train towards my 500-hour certificate. I also recently became certified as a Prenatal yoga teacher, so I’m excited to serve women and mothers in the Lake Travis area!
My teaching style is nurturing and intuitive. I instruct in a way that emphasizes the student paying attention to their experience of sensation, energy and breath. By really placing attention on the inner experience, students develop an understanding for what their body needs that day. Our bodies change all the time, which means that what we need one day is different than what we need the next day. I consider it my job to offer a well-rounded, strengthening, and playful class where students are empowered to decide how much they need to push themselves, or where they need to slow down, soften and surrender. Asanas (poses) should always be secondary to presence and connection to the breath.
Yoga is a practice that helps you learn a new way to communicate with your body. It’s been the foundation of my own healing and journey in self-love. It sounds cheesy, but I truly believe that if everyone practiced yoga and meditation, the world would be a more conscious and easeful place. There will always be times of trial and tragedy, but when you learn how to cultivate inner strength and a strong center of self-compassion, those times become easier to deal with and less impactful on your overall health and spirit. On top of that, yoga builds a strong foundation of sangha (a sanskrit word which can translate to community). Once again, we develop a wider perspective on our lives by knowing we aren’t in this alone. We have each other to grow with and to turn to for support.
In your opinion, what role does yoga play in health and wellness?
I think science is only just now starting to catch up with the huge role yoga can play in overall health and well-being. Even more exciting than just aiding in general health, I think there are all kinds of ways yoga can assist in support of medical healing, trauma recovery, eating disorder recovery, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, depression and anxiety, just to name a few. Yoga therapy, which is a growing field and resource for support in treating and improving symptoms of illness and disease, will also be a part of our offering.
Much like McCall McPherson (our functional and integrative medicine practitioner) has expressed, it’s not about just treating illness; it’s about creating true health and vitality. I believe that requires learning how to soothe and support our mind and body on a daily basis, and from moment to moment. Yoga gives you an amazing toolbox to pull from. One of my favorite teachers always says “now begins the practice of yoga” right at the end of her class. I just think that’s so true, the real practice starts when you step off the mat! Yoga isn’t just about doing poses on a mat, it’s about a healthy and positive relationship with yourself and others when you’re out in the world going through what you go through.
What most excites you about being part of the team at Alive + Well?
My favorite part of any position I hold is connecting with others on a level that’s authentic and openhearted. None of us are perfect with this whole being-a-human thing (and let’s be honest, perfection is boring), but when we join forces to help one another, that’s when the magic happens! We are better together and we can help each other.
That’s what I love about Alive + Well — it’s an integration of amazing practitioners who are all experts in their field, from acupuncture to yoga and integrative medicine, and so much more. We also have incredible tools and amenities at our disposal to help our guests explore just what their body and soul are asking for. Although helping folks achieve their wellness goals is an added bonus, I think the common desire for bringing a deep sense of well-being into the world is what I love most about this team. There will always be hard parts of life, but knowing how to get yourself back to wellness is something we can be a part of teaching and supporting, for others and for each other.
Who/what inspires you?
Nature and wildlife have always been my biggest inspiration. When I’m in nature, I feel connected to ancient wisdom and life forces that exists within all of us. Whenever I lose sight of who I am or why I’m here, I look to nature. I grab my sneakers and go for a run around Lady Bird or take my pup for a walk.
I also enjoy spending time volunteering with various organizations that help animals. I have a background in animal care and rescue of which I’m very proud. It’s given me such a depth of understanding for the other creatures we share this planet with and how we are all connected. I’ll always consider nature my greatest teacher!
What’s your favorite indulgence?
A good book or memoir to become immersed in, or the pleasure of having an afternoon to be in the sunshine by the ocean!
Otherwise, I always say the best thing you can possibly spend your money on is travel or a good massage! It seems like an “indulgence” to do either, but really, it’s a beautiful and necessary thing to give yourself permission to enjoy and do what feels luxurious and nourishing for your soul! You gotta feed the fire that is your passion for life!