From Smith College with highest honors in English.
From Yale Divinity School with a Masters in Religion.
From The New Seminary with an ordination as an interfaith minister.
From The Kripalu School of Yoga as a certified yoga teacher.
I’ve published two novels with Bantam Books.
I’ve self-published a collection of my sermons.
I’ve taught thousands and thousands of yoga classes, retreats and workshops.
I’ve officiated at dozens of weddings.
I’ve preached hundreds of sermons.
I’ve served in the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ.
I served countless individuals outside of any tradition as a spiritual counselor and teacher.
I’ve given birth to five children.
But my real qualifications come from my own lifetime of spiritual practice, seeking, study, heartache and perseverance—just like I bet yours do. I’ve studied spirituality, motherhood, and yoga since early days—I’ll tell you more about it below—and it’s saved my life more times than one. Not the fancy stuff but practical, relevant, real-time spirituality.
My works seems serious but it’s also pretty funny. Breathing noisily to feel better. Telling stories about my divorce from the pulpit. Wind-relieving pose. Babies spitting up on you. Teenagers verbally spitting up on you.
Thank goodness for spirituality. I think it can save us.
But so can humor.
To me, spirituality is funny and humor is spiritual. I use both of them in all my work and writing, whether it’s a novel about the post partum experience, a wedding ceremony or a cookbook with invisible ingredients.
Some things you may want to know about me
I started practicing yoga at age 9 back when people thought it was really weird. Back when we all wore unitards and Suzanne Somers wanted you to buy her thigh master. It’s definitely my main spiritual practice, though it encompasses all for me—prayer, meditation, contemplation. Teaching yoga is one of the joys of my life.
I’d like to date when I become so interested in spirituality. You’d have to ask my mother, though. I think she’s still surprised I became a minister. What I really wanted to be as a kid was an actress. When that wasn’t practical, I studied to teach high school English. One trip to the high school to student-teach and I changed directions and headed to Divinity School where I was the only Unitarian and realized no religion is big enough. That got me to the New Seminary—the first seminary created for interfaith training—for study and ordination.
I have a mother’s heart. Mother is my archetype. My five beautiful children are the greatest gifts of my life. They have a lot to teach me. I have a few things to teach them, too. Like how to sit when you eat because running with a half-chewed carrot in your mouth might lead to your mom dusting off her CPR skills on you. They range in age from 14-newborn. I like to say I have “only” five children. Yes, I am rich in children but I adore children. And with kids as amazing as mine, I’d gladly take twice as many.
We live in Western Massachusetts in an old farmhouse shared with a dog and a cat (and some mice since but we’d rather not) and my amazing partner who supports, inspires and upholds me in my life, work and spiritual journey.
My students are beloved to me. I’ve taught some for nearly twenty consecutive years! The connection between a student and a teacher when it is one of the heart has no comparison. Being able to love people through yoga and in ministry is an incredible privilege. It’s what I want to do and that I get to do it awes me. Then I get to write about it.
I’ve been writing since before I could read. As a child, I used to “read” aloud books using my own words which landed me in the lowest reading group in first grade. My brother said to me, “you have to read the words on the page.” I said, “But mine are better.” He told me it didn’t matter. I had to read what was written. The next day I did and went up to the highest reading group. I still like to tell stories.
I suppose it’s in my blood. My mother, Nancy Thayer, is a prolific writer and I grew up understanding that anything could be made better by putting it on the page.
Now that you know a little about me, what can I do for you? I would like nothing more than to find where my training, experience and practice can help you. So tell me.
“I just watched your you tube kitchen yoga video and it was exactly what I needed to hear. You are amazing and I love your kitchen!”
“Someone once told me [Sam’s] the best yoga teacher in the Valley. I don't generally believe in "best" (maybe more like "best fit," as there are so many great yoga teachers), but after a few classes, I can see her point! There is something very special that Sam brings to class. Her perspective as a minister, as well as her easy narrative (she's a writer, after all!), make her classes both fun (even humorous), and deepening. Not to mention heart opening and spiritually uplifting. All this, and I leave with rosy cheeks and a limber body. What a gift to myself it has been to attend her classes!"
“Working with Sam on the Mother's Day Retreat was a great and special experience. The class was made up of a variety of women with different levels of mothering...some brand new, and some that were already into the grandmother business. We shared, we did yoga, we laughed, and we comforted one another. It was a very special day....uniquely crafted by Sam, an insightful and gifted teacher."
“Sam brings her vast knowledge of yoga and a light-hearted approach to her work creating a warm welcoming environment and an experience that feels both nourishing and cleansing."
“Sam is by far the best yoga teacher with whom I have had experience. She fosters spiritual and physical growth in each student and in the class group. Also, her knowledge about yoga is amazing."