a brief history

January 2011

May 2022

With the support of Swan River Yoga New Orleans, Swan River Yoga Arabi opens its doors as a completely donation-based yoga studio, the first of its kind in the area. Swan River Yoga provided a trusted name, access to teachers, and other logistical supports. Later, they provided the idea for our Seva Yoga Teacher Training, a 108-hour condensed, introductory teacher training. 

After 11 years and the creation of a strong community, Swan River Yoga Arabi has decided to become an independent entity. With love and appreciation for everything Swan River Yoga New Orleans has provided, we see that it's time to establish our own identity, policies, and trainings, and taking this next step will allow us to do so, run by the community that we have cultivated. Swan River Yoga will always be a beloved part of our history. 

letters from Michelle and Haiyan

From Swan Michelle There is an unbearable lightness of being that enters in when we affirm our growth with action. Growth can only withstand what once was liberating but is now limiting for so long, It is the very essence of our birthright, our right to freedom, and our right to create. I remember the ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor of Arabi and with Haiyan. It felt so unusual to persue our hopes and dreams after the biggest storm of our life hit the lower 9 hard and we were ready to serve. All floods bring light. Embodying this, we can look out at one another and our new vista points, and we see deep within, we are still the same, yet traveling new purposes and ways of being within and throughout our communities in our rightful places and purpose. "Sama", literally translated as "same", yet also as equal, even, or equality. It is the equal need of each of us to expand, and it touches my heart forever to know Sama Studio in Arabi continues on. It has launched from a unified foundation that all of us must do. Fly. In love and support forever, Swan Michelle. Founder; Swan River Yoga

From Haiyan Khan Sama Yoga: The next chapter of our journey I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you more about the important decision of changing our name from Swan River Yoga Arabi to Sama Yoga. It's been 11 years since our humble studio in Arabi started. It's quite amazing that Swan River Yoga Arabi has not only survived but grown during this time. The studio started with a desire to create a space where yoga is accessible while being rooted in selfless service. Since then so many people have been touched by the studio. It was Michelle, Keith and I that started the studio now over a decade ago. Initially it was going to be myself and another partner, but after a last minute change, I was looking at starting the studio myself. I was uncertain about taking on such a responsibility by myself. It was then that Michlelle offered Swan Rivers Yoga New Orleans’ support. While I knew that I was still going to be responsible for the bulk of the work, this support was exactly what I needed to start the studio. Now looking back it was a wise decision. Being my teachers, Keith and Michelle along with Swan River New Orleans provided most of the teachers to Swan River Yoga Arabi. This was vital especially in the early years. Later, the teacher training idea from Michelle proved to be another vital component in developing our own teacher base and community. All in all I have a deep gratitude for Swan River and all its contributions to our studio. As years have progressed, Swan River Yoga Arabi has grown from an infant studio, to an independent young adult anticipating its future and independence. A new chapter awaits Swan River Yoga Arabi as it changes its name to Sama Yoga. This chapter starts with aligning the studio with how things run at Arabi. Almost all activities for the last several years have been working independently from the New Orleans location. Laura has been doing an amazing job of stewarding the studio for the past several years. Thanks to her, many important decisions are made collectively by a smaller group of teachers and our Karma Yoga team.The new Sama Yoga hopes to further reflect this. It also opens the opportunity to tailor our teacher training to reflect our mission. The new name further refines the vision of the future. The word Sama means undivided or equal. This is the root word in Samadhi (a word for awakening) and Samastha (equality and same standing). Our vision continues to provide equal access to yoga for all, a deep commitment to service as one of the primary paths towards a more content state of mind and an equitable community. The future of Sama Yoga is bright. As we grow, my hope is we remember and honor our past and all those who helped us and look forward with great courage into the beautiful unknown. Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu Haiyan