My best yoga vacation was with Taialofa and Kevin at Raw Shakti in Independent Samoa. My soul was soothed by their relaxed style and the welcoming traditions of Samoans. Pristine waterfalls hidden in the rainforest cleansed my body. Sunrise yoga on deserted beaches with only two other people purified my mind. Tranquility and serenity permeated my time there. We dined only on fresh foods pulled from the garden or the sea. Waking hours and dreams were indistinguishable at times as life flowed effortlessly. It passed all too quickly like enriching water poured over my body.-Tommy Falby, Educational Trip Leader, Peterborough, NH

 

Thanks again for such a fabulous trip in Samoa! I am still glowing from it all. We have enjoyed looking at the CD of photos you gave to us many times. I look forward to sharing them with friends and at work. Even Matthew was impressed, especially with the fire dancing shots. It was great to get a class with Bryan upon our return to NH. Now Peter and I have experienced 3 Russell Family Raw Shakti Yoga teachers. We are still enjoying the glow from Samoa and your wonderful yoga and tour guiding. -Susan Loeman, Dance Movement Therapist, Antioch New England , NH USA

 

Taialofa, Thank you for being you. I enjoyed being in your energy field and have spoken of you to quite a few people. You are a remarkable young woman and your journey of restoration of balance to the planet is admirable. – Real Estate Guide and healer, Emerald Valley, Australia

 

You are living your dream! What an inspiration and a bright spot you are not only to me, but everyone who is fortunate enough to know you. The web site looks great and what a good idea to get other yogis to bring groups for your amazing tours. -N. P. Colorado, USA

 

“To experience a yoga retreat with Kevin and Taialofa will awaken your soul. Oming for the first time and afterwards opening your eyes is probably an experience one never forgets, like a lot of “firsts,” and living and learning yoga with these positive, radiant teachers can provide such an enlightenment. Not only will you expand your knowledge and understanding of yoga, no matter what your current level, you will grow on all levels as you interact personally with living Polynesian culture. It is impossible to come away from a village stay in Samoa, without being surrounded by the love of new friends and family.” -Duncan M. Captain of S/V Good Karma

 

Dear Taialofa, The mural looks awesome!! The Raw Shakti connection to the local community is so beautiful! Love to you and Kevin! You inspire me everyday! -Isabel Thompson, Florida, USA

 

Dear Taialofa and Kevin, I enjoyed reading the newsletter very much. Thanks for sending it and i look forward to more. I’m here at work on Sunday morning, dreading the full day I have to put in but reading thru the articles and messages somehow calmed me down. Noted are the sessions at Health Attack and I am now trying to reschedule my hectic life to try and make at least one session a week. I was planning to do a couple of sessions of body toning at the gym anyway to get ready for the fishing tournament in early Nov as well as taking up a new sport…archery, would you believe it. Archery requires a lot of discipline and breathing techniques hence i believe that with my yoga this should help me to find the inner peace and remain focused during the training and hopefully not too far future some serious competition. Thanks again for the inspirational start to the day. Alofas, Nynette Sass, Samoa

 

Kevin and Taialofa – Just want to thank you again for being a part of our mid-service training. I really enjoyed and benefited from the wonderful yoga sessions as well as connecting with you through conversation. I checked out your yoga adventure travel webpage and just can’t get enough of it. I look forward to witnessing its growth and perhaps someday getting involved as the whole idea behind it really appeals to me. I’ll never forget our yoga in the rain! I am inspired to make it a goal of mine to do some yoga every day. Keep your beings glowing and the peace flowing. -Sita, from Samoa

 

Taialofa and Kevin, I want to thank you and Kevin so much for the wonderful tour of Savaii; you really made it special. It was quite wonderful being back in Samoa. After all these years I had thought I would be disappointed. Samoa certainly has changed in some ways (cell phones and ATMs, roads and traffic), but it is still the same in so many ways. We were all saying that we definitely want to be back in the near future. Alofa and soifua, Donna from Seattle, Washington, USA

 

Hi Taialofa, I Just wanted to let you know that I walked out of today’s class feeling so serene and peaceful- On the drive home all I could think about was how ready I now feel to have this baby and how I now have every confidence in my body to give birth to our baby girl. Thank you, Ariana of Samoa

 

Wow, I have just read your most amazing news letter to date. ALL its words spoke to me so very much as they seem to pull together all the words and mantras that have been sent to me through various means this year. I think I told you how I read, ‘The Secret’ and now have the dvd and, at present I am reading Brandon Bays’ auto biography. I am also awaiting Louise Hays new DVD… cant wait. You are such an inspiration to me, not only when i think of your words of encouragement on a personal level but, also seeing just how much you have achieved – you and Kevin have shaped your lives through shear hard work and visualization… it’s incredible and I wish I could see you more often to be ‘topped up’ a fresh by your amazing energy and passion for life. I have felt so depleted at the end of this year and today awoke with such anxiety and now, having read your news letter I have fresh hope that 2008 will be another step towards my dreams and a key to ‘Anything is possible’. Thank you too for the ‘dosha’ reminder; the thought that we are all here to live through certain life experiences for a reason, really helped give a little more balance to things too. So, my dear lady, thank you, thank you, thank you. Love, Peace and Light as always, Monica Damoah of Brighton, England

 

With appreciation for all you are doing for our people and to create healthy Samoans! -Misa Telefoni, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa

 

“I cannot imagine an outdoor guide with whom I would rather travel. Bryan is truly extraordinary as a guide and as a person. Anyone who works with him will remember the experience as a blessing.” -Michael Owen, Professor of Geology, St. Lawrence University.

 

All in all, I am very pleased with my progress post Raw Shakti! I am in for the long haul. Most of my friends are shocked about my new appearance and swear that I look ten years younger! Music to my ears, of course! Each trip with you guys has been a trip of a lifetime for me. You and Kevin are truly unique in my experience: Perpetually upbeat and positive, always seeing the good or at least the life’s lessons in all of your experiences and interactions, some of the most caring and thoughtful people that I have ever met, and perpetually optimistic. Who wouldn’t want to be around you guys all the time? Thank you Taialofa for your and Kevin’s efforts to get me out of the ditch and back on the path toward enlightenment! -Peter Ketcham, Scuba diver, New Hampshire, USA

 

Thank you and Kevin so much in so many ways for all that you do each day to help bring health and peace on earth! You are both such an inspiration to me! I am so happy to have spent time with you in Samoa learning from you both. It was such a joy to be with you, people who are truly living the yoga lifestyle. I have done well so far-with continuing to go to bed early, doing my meditation and yoga each morning! Thanks for supporting my growth and evolution! Being with you both was such a gift. Going on the Raw Shakti retreat was such a wonderful blessing. I am so excited that you and Kevin will soon have the yoga retreat of your dreams! You are one of my biggest inspirations in this lifetime! Thank you so much for your joy and enthusiasm in what you do! It helps me stay focused and realize that I can achieve my dreams too! Namaste, Isabel, Family Therapist and yoga teacher, Florida, USA

 

People are telling me I look much more strong and confident, and I definitely feel it! So yeah, thanks a ton for everything you’ve done! -A. J. of Colorado, USA

 

Thanks for an inspiring week in Samoa! -Cheryl Wilfong, writer, Buddhist meditation teacher and gardener of Vermont, USA

 

Thank you again for such a wonderful time. I was so relaxed! You are both very special and I am sure that you know that…but in case you didn’t, I simply had to tell you. I see you very strongly in my thoughts; and I’ll never forget my time in Samoa on our Raw Shakti Yoga retreat. I am still in awe of everything that I saw and did with you while I was in Samoa. Hope all is well in your paradise! Scott Oglesbay, Travel Agent and Shiatsu massage therapist of Boston, MA, USA

 

Thank you so much for teaching me so much these last few years! Taialofa, you are amazing and I am very grateful for you! I really do enjoy your guidance. You have helped me immensely! Thank you so much. -K. C., Mormon Elder, Utah, USA

 

I just wanted to write and say that the recipe in your newest newsletter was delicious! I am always looking for new, tasty dishes to serve my 15-month old daughter, and she gobbled the stuffing right up! -G.A., Keene, NH USA

 

Intentions work!! The ones we places on retreat in Samoa! I was just offered a small part with the Peterborough Players in their August production of The Winter’s Tale. Get this: THEY’RE PAYING ME!!!!! I’m a working actor again. Thanks for everything and a wonderful trip. Peter E., Actor, Writer, of New Hampshire, USA

 

Our trip to Samoa was life changing in many ways. I shared with you how we want to simplify our lives/lifestyle. We have started making steps in that direction. Our retreat helped put our stressful busy lives into perspective and showed us that we don’t need it all. I already knew that deep down but you know how western society tries to make you believe that “yes, you do need that big screen tv or house”. Americans could learn a lot from the people of Samoa if they would just open their eyes and be accepting.We can’t wait to come back to Samoa! -Anais, Yoga Instructor, Colorado, USA

 

I so love getting your feedback and absolutely love hearing your news. It’s great to picture you in Samoa….can you believe it’ll soon be a year since I was on retreat with you? Your words give me so much energy. Thank you for your wonderful guidance Taialofa. I can’t wait to come over to Samoa for a retreat again….doing yoga with you was so amazing. All the teachers that pass by your teaching will be very fortunate. Oh did I mention that I’m reading Jane Fonda’s auto biog’? It’s excellent and in some ways she reminds me of you. -Monica, Continuity Director on Film Sets, England

 

Taialofa, I just wanted to thank you for my private session. You are truly a gifted and inspirational woman- if anyone can change the world with peace one step at a time, it’s you.Thank you. -Katrina Jocumson, Writer, Jounalist, Queensland, Australia

 

Life has been very interesting since I returned here after visiting Samoa. I have had the opportunity to change the state of disease by using natural methods, making changes through cleansing and awareness. It has been an extended learning experience – as disease always is. Old beliefs and old ways of being have had to change. A gift from Samoa. And you, Taialofa, are a big part of this… With aloha and gratitude. Karen, Hawaiian massage therapist and healer from New Zealand

 

I so loved your newsletter from September. I found it to be very inspirational and interesting to know more about Samoa. The photos are great of the groups and fun. -M. S., Artist, N.H. USA

 

Hi Kevin and Taialofa, Thank you for your newsletter. I love hearing how you are getting on. I was in the Sivananda Ashram doing the YTTC program at the same time as you, Kevin, so that’s where I met you both. Since then I’ve been teaching yoga in Dublin, working full time as an engineer and receiving your newsletter from time to time. Last year you sent one that really meant something to me. You said something like, “The dreams we have are there for a reason and they can happen. The only way to manifest those dreams is to spend time every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes, working towards them.” At the time, and for the last few years indeed, I knew I wanted to change the direction of my life so that it revolved more around yoga. I made the decision to stop waiting and set up a yoga studio. And every day I remembered the words in your email. So here we are. Sunrise Yoga is ready and classes start next week. (www.sunrise.ie) I am working part time now as an engineer and trying to get this venture off the ground. I am so happy with what I have achieved already and feel I’ve learned so much. I wanted to get in touch and let you know how you helped. I really admire what you are both doing and the control you’ve taken of your own lives. And I’m so happy our paths crossed. Claire, Dublin, Ireland

 

Your vision and enthusiasm are totally inspiring. The peace both you and Kevin inject into the world is awesome. -Maureen Seer, Religious diversity educator and global visionary, Scottland

 

My Yoga practice gets richer and richer every session. And I have backed off enough so that I might have good alignment in the asanas; it feels great and now I am gently moving deeper (tofa (goodbye in samoan) Ego). Also, in life I am learning more and becoming better connected to me! Thank you so much for being one of my many and wonderful teachers. You rock. -George Denalis, world traveler, business man, surfer

 

Whenever I have twinges of doubt about my decision, I think back to our session and know that it is what I want to do and also what I meant to do. I had such a lovely time during both of my sessions and felt that I gained a lot – I look forward to doing another one with you when I come back to the spa! -Kate Groves, international health worker, Australia

 

I spent this summer in China with you learning to be a yoga teacher. Your hunch turned out to be right! I met new boyfriend last month.I just want to tell you THANK YOU! -Maya, Japan

 

Dear Taialofa, I am glad to have met you! I appreciate your help! Your give me so much help with your eyes and smiles. You are a wonderful yoga teacher, I love you very much! I hope to see your mother and your brother and you again on another yoga retreat in China! Love and Peace to you. Namaste. -Wujie, China

 

Hi Taialofa, I just wanted to send you a quick note to say that I am here in Hanoi and am soooooo glad that I made the decision to come. So thank you for your support and guidance – even though I have had a number of ups and downs over the last couple of months, I do feel like I am on the right path. I really enjoyed spending the time with you and reaffirming what I knew was right. I can’t wait to come back in a few years to see what you’ve built! Much love, -Kate, Vietnam

 

Namaste Taialofa, Hello from in JAPAN! I had a great time in CHINA. It was a very wonderful time for me. I was able to do splendid experience on the coattails of you. Thank you!!!!! My thought is already to consider my next yoga retreat with you. YOGA is great! It’s YOGA, which means the yoga of being connected universe.!!!!! I hope for your happiness from faraway. love & peace, Maya, Japan

 

Hi Taialofa, I just wanted to say thank you again for your help with the Ecotourism Conference last week. There were a lot of really really nice comments about your presentation. One thing of note was that quite a few people were motivated to do the business plan on Friday thanks to your talking about it’s importance to your business – several people commented that hearing you say how important it was to your business was motivating to them. Your enthusiasm for Samoa, eco-tourism and sharing the fa’asamoa with your tourists was also noticed, and enhanced the workshop as well. Thank you for coming and speaking for us! -Jordan Jobe, PCV, USA

 

Thank you for being such and integral part of my journey here in Samoa. You are an amazing person with a true gift. I have been blessed to learn so much from you. You are, and always will be, my yogi Guru. with much love and affection, -K. J., NSW, Australia

 

Taialofa, I’ve been wanting to email you to tell you how much I enjoy your Yoga DVD. I’ve been practicing with it 3-4 times a week for the past 6 weeks or so. You know, I’ve been trying different DVD’s and I like yours the best. I use it every time. Bringing yoga back into my life has been wonderful, it’s SO right for me now. Thank you. If you ever decide to make another one I would heartily encourage you! -H. I., New Hampshire, USA

 

Hi Taialofa! I finally pulled out your DVD! I cannot believe that I have been home from Samoa for 2 ½ years now! How I miss it! And especially your yoga class! I finally started a class here this week. I am so happy to get going again, but I can truly say that it is just not the same! I loved everything about you! I felt so energized and inspired by your class. The retreat I went to at Coconuts was probably the most therapeutic thing I have ever done. That whole swimming through my life exercise was amazing to me. I need to get back to that place! I am going to have to visit you through your DVD for now- and I will still go to my new class- there is something about being there that I need. But I thought I would just send a quick hello and say that you are thought of often and deeply appreciated! Hope all is well with you in that beautiful sunshine! Much love, Karla, Utah, USA

 

Thanks Taialofa, The private meditation session was great for me, thank you very much for that. I am still turning over a lot of what you said and will stick with some practice every night – and I got out all my blue jewelry! Take care, -Karen M., Apia, Samoa