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The Parallels of Training and Rehab

An interview with Samsara coach Esther Smith on training, rehab, and the Hawaii Athlete Summit

What’s your motivation for coaching in Hawaii with Samsara?

Esther: Getting to work with athletes in-person in an environment that takes on all aspects of healthy living is such a treat. Waking up without an alarm clock, fasting for morning movement and then enjoying a shared breakfast before heading out for the day’s activity resets the body’s systems.

At Kohl’s farm, we try to eat locally as much as possible. Nourishing, fresh food stokes the fire for training and healing. Through connecting to our breath and the environment around us, Kohl teaches us the importance of presence as an everyday practice.

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What's the most meaningful part of the experience and why recommend it to others?

Esther: The most meaningful experience was ultimately the ocean. It was my first surf experience ever. Being on an Island with such an amazing crew of surfers and getting some beta on North Shore surfing was amazing (and terrifying).

We dove into the deepest blue sea, swam with sea turtles and learned to read the ocean for waves to catch. I felt the ocean both carry me and crush me. She is the ultimate teacher.

What’s the most inspiring part of helping athletes return from injury and how does Hawaii play a role?

Esther: At Samsara we believe that training and rehab fall on the same continuum. So depending on whether you are patterning, loading or accelerating movement, we are always interested in our body systems being optimized to have the capacity for the demand. 

Injuries are an opportunity to explore what the body needs in order to heal and find balance. Training is our way into our physiology – through resistance we draw the attention of the mind and the body to repair tissue in a specific manner. Hawaii offers a healing environment–warm, fluid, nourished and stimulated. 

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What can athletes expect to gain from their experience in Hawaii?

Esther: The group aspect of the Hawaii Athlete Summit experience builds community and friendships and allows us to provide a personal coaching experience. I think you can expect to have a feeling of tribe, adventure, and a whole system reset. 

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More About Esther Smith:

Esther Smith DPT, Cert. MDT, received her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Utah. Since graduation, she has worked in orthopedic settings with a particular focus on the management of musculoskeletal problems and athletic performance. Esther offers education and treatment that addresses the underlying cause of symptoms and aids in the prevention of future injury.

In 2014 Esther founded Grassroots Physical Therapy in Salt Lake City to build a community network that bucks the conventional ideas of physical therapy delivery and celebrates wellness by giving clients the choices and solutions to put health care decisions back in their hands.  

Esther also trains athletes as a high performance coach through Samsara Experience. She firmly believes that no matter where one may fall on the continuum of athleticism or how much one may hurt moving, exercise should never be a grind. It becomes a journey to understand what the body needs in the various moments and chapters in one’s life, especially in the low points.

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Header Photo Credit: Amanda Hankinson