After living overseas in Rwanda and the Czech Republic for many years, Sam Reynolds finally found her way back to the Sunshine State. Reynolds has an incredibly interesting journey and is always sharing something new on her Instagram – @journeysforthesoul. We caught up with this local Yoga instructor for another edition of our Quick 10 interviews.

Tell us about yourself – where are you from and how did you find your way to the 305?

I was born in Sylvania, Ohio and I first moved to Miami in 2007 to pursue a Master’s degree in international administration from the University of Miami. I moved overseas in 2009 and finally returned to the USA six years later. I eventually made my way back to Miami in 2017. I love Miami for its diversity, wellness scene, and vegan restaurant options.

How did you get your start in fitness and as an instructor?

I never imagined I’d become a yoga instructor. Before I moved back to the United States in 2014, I lived in Rwanda. I worked at a youth village for orphaned teens. Yoga and fitness were not in my vocabulary at this point in my life.

After six years abroad, I finally moved back to Florida. My mom actually invited me to a yoga class and I gave it a try, and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to continue practicing, but I was broke so I offered to clean the studio in exchange for classes. The manager of the yoga studio offered me a yoga training for work. I started my training six months later and I completed my 200-hour course in November 2015. I finally found a way to reconnect with myself and transformed my life to focus on wellness and healthy living.

I currently teach throughout Miami, am planning my first yoga retreat, and taught my first international class in Rwanda last year.

What is your favorite part of being a fitness instructor?

I love offering a space for students to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zone. It’s those moments of awakening and empowerment that I love most.

How would you describe your classes?

My classes challenge students, physically and mentally. I encourage students to approach their practice with an open mind and see where their journey takes them.

Tell us a little bit more about your specialty as an instructor.

I teach primarily Vinyasa and Yin yoga. I love arm balances and handstands, so I often incorporate those into my vinyasa classes. My students tell me I have a peaceful, soothing voice and that I’m encouraging. My yin classes are typically a means to slow down and de-stress.

Besides fitness, what’s one thing you’re passionate about?

I love photojournalism. In another life, I’d be a National Geographic photographer.

What is a long-term goal you are working towards or would love to achieve?

I would love to publish a book on my journeys around the world.

What is the one thing you do every day to stay fit?

I sleep for at least eight hours a night. I find that when I’m well rested, I make healthier decisions throughout the day.

How do you practice mental health in your everyday life?

I spend time outside by the water. Being in nature helps me stay calm. I also have a meditation practice.

What’s your go-to healthy and cheat meals?

If I’m being healthy, I’ll eat roasted vegetables and tofu. But I love Thai red curry and vegan cookies n’ cream ice cream.