Meet the Instructors: Dina & Stephanie of Sama Circle
Feb 06, 2017
If you're involved in Charlotte's yoga scene (whether at breweries or in more traditional practice spaces), then there's a good chance that you've been to a class taught by Stephanie West Therrell or Dina Gambella. In addition to being practiced yogis, Stephanie and Dina are also the co-founders of Sama Circle, an organization that seeks to empower you through yoga for total wellness, blending traditional counseling techniques and yoga for holistic healing and emotional growth.
As licensed mental health therapists and RYT-200 certified yoga instructors, it only made sense to Stephanie and Dina that their experience as counselors and yoga instructors should intertwine with one another. The Sama team introduced their brand of wellness yoga at a series of workshops, “Yoga for Resiliency,” in August 2016. Since then, they have continued to host workshops, as well as intention-focused vinyasa flow classes throughout Charlotte.
Read on to learn more about Stephanie and Dina, Sama Circle, and the Queen City's growing holistic healing community!
Name: Dina Gambella, LMFT, LCASA, RYT-200
Neighborhood: South End
How long have you been practicing yoga? 8 years
How long have you been a yoga instructor? 1 year & 4 months
Which yoga classes do you teach (both brewery yoga and non-brewery yoga)? Brewery yoga through NC Yoga Barand at Blue Blaze Brewing. I teach Wellness Workshops as a co-founder of Sama Circle, focusing on yoga for emotional wellness and community classes at Crossfit Surgo and Wallace Pruitt Community Rec Center. I also teach private clients in the comfort of their own home and have brought chair-yoga to various mental health agencies and churches in Charlotte!
What made you start doing yoga? I started practicing yoga to help reduce stress during graduate school and quickly cultivated both inner and outer strength! I fell in love with the mind-body-spirit component of the practice that can be applied beyond the mat.
What’s your favorite part of teaching brewery yoga? I love meeting all walks of "yogis" through teaching brewery yoga classes! Being a social butterfly, I adore any opportunity to connect with others through both yoga and drinks after class. I find freedom in creating funky, fun, and challenging classes with no rules and lots of laughter at breweries.
What has been the most challenging part of teaching yoga for you? Balance. When I first started teaching, I found that I neglected my own practice for a little while. Day by day, I am finding a healthy balance between student and teacher, making a mindful effort to honor both parts of myself and my practice!
Which is your favorite yoga pose? SAVASANA! I was taught that Savasana is the hardest pose of any class because the mind can be quite tricky to quiet. Savasana allows your body to process all the yummy work it has just done and provides an opportunity to rest and restore. As someone who LOVES rest and relaxation, Savasana is my jam (especially with my lavender essential oils)!
What’s one thing you would want to tell somebody who was considering attending a brewery yoga class? DON'T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH!
What do you want people to know about your yoga studio? At Sama Circle, we are working to build a yoga community for holistic healing and emotional growth. We are the same, we are all in this together, and we all want one thing: to be better versions of ourselves! We want to bridge the divide between traditional mental health interventions and the practice of yoga to empower, strengthen, and heal! And at NC Yoga Bar, EVERYONE is welcome to the fun. I love how NCYB connects community to our businesses such as Mint Museum, Google Fiber, McGill Rose Garden, etc.! There are no rules, just breathe and enjoy the ride.
What’s your favorite beer in Charlotte? No contest: the Up All Night at Triple C Brewery! MMmMMmMMmMm! NAMASTE TO THAT!
Stephanie West Therrell
Name: Stephanie West Therrell, QP, RYT 200
Neighborhood in Charlotte: Wesley Heights (West side stand up!)
How long have you been doing yoga? 6 years
How long have you been a yoga instructor? 1 year
Which yoga classes do you teach (both brewery yoga and non-brewery yoga)? Brewery yoga through NCYB and at Blue Blaze Brewing. I also teach Wellness Workshops as a co-founder of Sama Circle, and Community Classes at Crossfit Surgo and Wallace Pruitt Community Rec Center. In addition to those classes, I am currently writing a kids yoga program for Kinetic Kids, a pediatric therapy gym located in downtown Charlotte.
What made you start doing yoga? I started yoga while working for a wellness company. They offered deep stretch, restorative classes during lunchtime. I started to feel my body open up and then got hooked on hot power yoga while getting ready for my wedding.
What’s your favorite part of teaching brewery yoga? I love combining two of my favorite things, yoga and craft beer! It's like when your two best friends meet and they get along :)
What has been the most challenging part of teaching yoga for you? The most challenging part of teaching yoga for me has been challenging myself to keep learning as a teacher and student. There are so many different yoga styles and ways to sequence classes. I want to do it all and know that sometimes I cant! It can be easy to get in a rut so I try to switch up playlists or poses to keep everything fresh. As a teacher I am always a student, so I'm always wanting more, wanting to grow, wanting to learn new things!
Which is your favorite yoga pose? Forward Fold, hands down. Seated, standing, any way it comes, I love how it feels on my low back after some spine work!
What’s one thing you would want to tell somebody who was considering attending a brewery yoga class? Do it! What's the worst that could happen? I feel like having a beer while practicing takes the pressure off of 'how you yoga'. Don't take it to seriously, allow yourself some grace :)
What do you want people to know about your yoga studio? At Sama Circle, we are working to build a yoga community for holistic healing and emotional growth. As licensed mental health professionals, we want to take the stigma out of "therapy" and "mental illness." Why can't yoga help us get there? I also just love NCYB. It is the perfect atmosphere to take a great class, with a unique instructor; either with a beer or in one of the most amazing yoga locations in Charlotte. OMMMMMM!
What’s your favorite beer in Charlotte? Toss up between Noda Jam Session or Birdsong Higher Ground. Yum!