By Christine Graf
Saratoga Springs native Samantha Lyman is the new owner of Yana Yoga located in the Malta Commons Business Park at 100 Saratoga Village Boulevard in Malta.
She purchased the business from Amber LaPointe who continues to teach classes at the yoga studio.
Lyman has been practicing yoga for 13 years, but it wasn’t until six years ago that she became a certified yoga instructor. She pursued her training after experiencing a medical crisis that altered the course of her life. At that time, she had two young children and was working 80-hour weeks for a local property preservation company.
“I woke up one morning and I was paralyzed,” she said. “I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. My vision was impaired.”
The Utica College graduate was rushed to Albany Medical Center and for the next four months she was in and out of the hospital. Her condition baffled doctors who eventually concluded that Lyman suffers from an autoimmune disease that causes her adrenal glands to shut down when her body in under stress. Although her actual diagnosis was inconclusive, she said the disease is similar to lupus.
It was only after Lyman adopted a holistic lifestyle which included eating only “food from the ground” that her health gradually started to improve.
“Before my illness, I was eating processed foods, working ridiculously long hours, and practicing no self-care,” she said. “I started drinking celery juice non-stop, eating lots of sweet potatoes and greens, and practicing a lot of medication and yoga. It was through that mind body connection that I was able to bring myself out of it. After I got back into my yoga practice, I never put it back down again. It literally saved my life.”
As soon as she was able to return to work, Lyman took a job at Saratoga Hospital where she worked as a patient care assistant in a cardiac and renal unit. After strict COVID protocols limited her contact with patients, she made a decision to leave the hospital.
“I opened myself up to find my next step in life,” she said. “I just knew there was something waiting for me, and the week that I left Saratoga Hospital, I was scrolling online and saw an ad that said ‘Do you want to own a yoga studio?’”
It was Lyman’s dream to own her own studio, and even though she was skeptical of the advertisement, she responded to it. A short time later she was contacted by LaPointe who invited her to come to the studio and take a class. It was Lyman’s first time at Yana Yoga, but the moment she walked through the door, she said she knew it was where she belonged.
For much of the next year, Lyman worked closely with LaPointe, learning the ins and outs of operating the studio. On Jan. 1, 2021, she became the new owner.
Its approximately 1,500-square-foot space features two studios that are used for adult and children’s yoga classes, yoga teacher trainings, Reiki sessions, and a variety of specialty classes and programs. Classes are available for all skill levels, and the majority are also offered online. Yana’s beginner class is especially popular and is designed for people who have never practiced yoga.
Memberships are not required, and the studio offers drop-in rates as well as monthly multi-class and unlimited packages. There are four instructors in addition to Lyman, who is also a certified Reiki practitioner.
Lyman said buying a business was a scary prospect, especially in a world filled with pandemic uncertainly. Because of COVID, the studio is operating at a lower capacity. Lyman will continue to evaluate and adjust class sizes as necessary.
Discussing her health crisis, she calls it both the best and worst thing to ever happened to her. Although she endured a great deal of suffering, the experience gave her the opportunity to take a hard look at her life.
“By working 80 hours a week, I literally ran my body into the ground and was of no use to anyone. The biggest thing that I have learned is that there is success in simplicity. This is why I do what I do and why I am so passionate about it,” she said.
“I always dreamed of owning a studio—of having this home where people could come and feel seen, heard, and loved. That is literally my biggest goal—to let every single human that I come into contact with feel seen, heard and loved. I think everyone deserves that.”
For more information, visit yanayoga.net.