Sah D’Simone is a spiritual guide, meditation teacher, transformational speaker, and international best-selling author. He counts Kanye West as a client and hangs out with the Dalai Llama and is a cheerleader for ‘sassy spirituality’.
He is also the expert host on the Balance Holidays retreat next month, so as Ibiza lifts from the Amber List we caught up with Sah.
What is sassy spirituality?
Spiritually Sassy is about entering the world as a permission slip and saying no to “zombie zen”.
It’s understanding that spirituality doesn’t have to just look like mala beads, crystals, incense, and yoga studios. It’s a seat at the table for everyone who has ever felt like “too much” or “not enough.” It’s committing to feeling better, and doing better, while looking your best. It’s leaving the holy cave in the mountains and taking the wisdom of practices into the streets – making everywhere your church, everything your practice. It’s about dismantling the notion of “normalcy” and celebrating our differences, our fringe elements, our skin color, our gender expression, our sexuality. It’s cultivating your own personal brand of magnetism.
You can be fierce, loud, joyful. You can wear make-up and heels and strut the streets like your own personal catwalk. By living authentically, you’re dismantling the notion of what “spirituality” should be.
It’s making spirituality inclusive and rooted in joy.
We’ve all had a hard and stressful year, what tips would you offer a complete beginner who just needs to relax?
I always tell people that before digging into meditation and everything else, you must intimately experience your breath in your body. Acquaint yourself with a healing breathing rhythm: your gateway to the present moment, which is where all your inner wisdom and creative potential live.
Focused breathing helps you tone your Vagus Nerve, which connects to and plays a crucial role in your body’s ability to regulate nearly every physical and emotional function. The stronger your Vagal tone, the more resilient your mind and body become. Some scientists call the Vagus nerve “the love nerve” because of how closely its functions mimic the experience of love. I have a whole meditation practice dedicated to Vagal toning – it’s that important!
The better your Vagal tone, the more you can control how you relate to your thoughts and moods, withstand more physical pain, as well as reduce your stress response, and the likelihood of suffering from many physical and mental illnesses.
What you’re passionate about, you’ll make time for. Get passionate about your breath, honey! It will always bring you back to your center.
You’re very active on social media. How do you balance that, and all that emotional investment it takes, with looking after yourself?
For me, balance is rooted in ritual: repetitive action with intention. You can make everything a ritual with focused attention (which is a form of mindfulness). Whether you’re making your morning coffee, folding laundry, or meditating, any action has the potential to be anointed as holy through your mindset. I try to apply this mindful balance to my use of social media as well, and I know I’m in balance when I can take care of other people while taking care of myself.
We are desperate to hear more about your client base – we notice some are very high profile names. Are you able to tell us a bit more about this and how you have helped them?
Yes, I am very grateful to work with these clients, and have them trust me with their journey. What always stands out to me is that no matter how successful or famous or rich a person might be… we all have the same wishes: everyone wants to be happy and free of suffering. That’s what I try to help with, for my high-profile clients and my students in Spiritually Sassy School (and everyone in between).
You’ve visited some incredible ashrams and monasteries, which is the most beautiful? And where did you have the biggest spiritual awakening?
Early in my studies, I took a 10-day silent retreat in the North Indian Himalayas that really cracked open my heart. There, I spent a lot of time meditating on death and contemplating my own mortality, which woke me up to a deep desire to live a better life.
It became clear to me that I’d been conditioned to approach my life and healing from a punitive perspective, so I dug into the work of dismantling that mindset and opened up a perspective oriented toward reconciliation and rehabilitation
I realized that forgiveness opens the door for us to release the need to punish, and offers a chance to adopt a restorative justice approach to our inner life and outer world. In this mindset, we can more readily access compassion instead of judgment, with the understanding that true compassion involves doing your best to alleviate your suffering and the suffering of others. Many people don’t yet realize that compassion isn’t a passive act. It’s a verb that requires motion and action.
Another highlight was visiting holy caves in the Solukhumbu valley, in Nepal – sitting in spaces where holy saints have meditated, practiced, and had spiritual breakthroughs was profound. Climbing into these mountainside caves required spiderman-like skills – I was so scared! And as soon as I stepped inside I breathed deeply to regain my center, and in just a few moments, it felt like I was bathing in peace.
Finally, receiving teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Llama was the first time that I had enough concentration and clarity to recognize that someone’s presence has the potential to nonverbally communicate safety and ease. All he had to do was walk in, and immediately, the psychological temperature of the room changed for the better. He makes you feel like your best self – completely relaxed and at ease. I remember saying to myself, “You’re in the presence of a saint. Remember how this feels.”
Tell us more about The Joyful Awakening in Ibiza you are hosting with Balance Holidays in a few weeks (looks incred!)
We are so happy that Ibiza is now on the Green List as it’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience for all those who attend. The retreat is taking place at the epic Oku Hotel and will feature sunrise meditations, daily breathwork and mantra, philosophy workshops, evening purification meditations, time in nature and organic field to fork meals. Retreaters will have plenty of down time to enjoy the hotel too, which has two swimming pools – one including an Olympic size pool – the biggest in Ibiza! Åmy K. aka KYMÅ, who is an amazing multi-dimensional and sensual music producer, DJ and sonic wellness consultant will also be joining us from New York to provide the all-important sound waves.
This is also my first in-person retreat dedicated to The Sah Method – the spiritual workout that I developed – so it’s a very unique opportunity for anyone who attends.
The Sah Method invites you to free your body with ecstatic dance, concentrate your mind with meditation, use your breath to energize the body, and use mantras as a heart invocation, inviting the vibration of your voice to clear energy in your body and help connect you to your heart.
The purpose of this integrated technique is to develop the Brahmaviharas, which, according to Buddhist Psychology, are the four innate qualities to our spiritual hearts; the warmth of compassion, the open-heartedness of love, the ecstasy of joy, and the equanimity of wisdom.
The best feedback I get is when people say, “it was like ten years of therapy in 90 minutes!”
What do you learn at the Balance Holidays retreat that you can’t pick up in books or online?
The retreat days are broken into segments of theory and practice. First, we will understand the Buddhist psychological approach behind the method. Then, twice a day, we’ll actualize what we’ve learned, taking to the dance floor to fully integrate the power of these combined components. That in-person energy is an experience like no other, and it simply cannot be appreciated the same way via online events or book learning.
Through experiencing the Sah Method on an intensive level in such an idyllic and serene environment, the retreaters will intimately experience their spiritual heart, and create a deep memory of their own human potential, and be able to activate this wisdom in their daily lives going forward.
You also get to embrace sunrise and sunset meditations, be at one with nature (and take a break from computer screens), enjoy fresh delicious meals and meet other likeminded individuals – not to mention the sun and sea!
What are you working on next? What’s coming up for Sah?
Right now I’m just so super hyped for the upcoming Sah Method retreat in Ibiza! It will be my first in-person retreat in a year and a half… and the first intensive I’m offering of this homegrown spiritual workout practice!
After that, we’re continuing to bolster and grow our membership platform, The Spiritually Sassy School, and I’ve got some epic guests lined up for The Spiritually Sassy Show Podcast. It’s an exciting time, honey! Lots of magic in the making…
Sah D’Simone is hosting the Balance Holidays Joyful Awakening at Balearic Island Retreat 7-11 July in Ibiza.