Samantha Coker-Godson was introduced to meditation as a fifteen-year old and immediately felt at home.
“I grew up in the country, on a farm,” she explains. “I had lots of alone time and there was lots of space to wander. I remember, even as a child, I would spend time questioning spirituality, contemplating the beauty of nature and the vastness of life.”
When Samantha became unwell as a teenager and couldn’t attend school, she had the opportunity to join a group of women who were running a meditation group listening to a guided meditation tape by Dr Ian Gawler.
“As soon as I heard that tape, I just felt this incredible awareness and curiosity,” says Samantha. “It started me on a lifelong journey of learning, including discovering acupuncture, studying Chinese medicine and becoming a teacher of Buddhist dharma.”
At Dharma Circle Collective the ‘sangha’ (community) welcomes teenagers right through to people in their 70s, from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Samantha also invites experienced yoga teachers to run their classes for their own students in the space.
“This is a unique model for a yoga studio,” explains Samantha. “This allows teachers to have autonomy over the way they teach, as well as being able to maintain relationships directly with their students.”
Dharma Circle Collective doesn’t just focus on teaching the physical practice of yoga and meditation. The timetable includes events such as poetry nights, music, movement and art therapy – but not as a form of entertainment, rather as a way to free up the body and then having that space for meditation.
Essentially, Samantha wants to share yoga and meditation practices in a larger context for an approach to life, relationships, values and self-discovery.
“When I was first learning about meditation, yoga and Buddhish teachings, I didn’t really have a teacher. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or to ask questions” she explains. “So I wanted to open Dharma Circle Collective to support anyone looking for a path to awakening; to teach them to practice yoga and meditation in a more deep and transformative way”.