Meet Susie Dee! I first met Susie after she followed me on Instagram. I discovered later that she found me on Reddit and felt an instant connection to me as we have similar views and feelings regarding Yoga and the industry of Yoga. I started chatting with Susie after she had made a few comments on my Instagram posts and quickly discovered that we did, in fact, have quite a few things in common.
Susie lives in Boston, Massachusetts and mostly teaches gentle Yoga now, but was first introduced to Hot Yoga about five years ago. Susie had been trying to lose weight by utilizing the gym, diets, etc. It was a friend of hers who suggested she try a Hot Yoga Class. Susie decided to sign up for a level 3 / 4 class at a local studio, thinking it would be easy “because it was just Yoga.” However, during the class, she realized it was much more difficult than she thought it would be. She felt embarrassed about her level of flexibility, but the teacher gave her many adjustments during the class and after suggested that she continue attending classes at a lower level to improve.
Susie Finds Support
Susie continued with Yoga because of the instructor. He was very supportive and encouraging, and this kept her coming back for more because she had never experienced this kindness in any other exercise class before. The instructor eventually left the studio, but Susie continued. As she continued her journey and got the fundamental poses of Yoga down, she began to really connect with her body. She eventually found herself crying during classes and wanted to discover more of where these feelings were coming from. As she released emotions during class, she felt a clarity afterwards that she had never felt previously. This drove her into a deeper journey of self discovery and eventually, sobriety.
Susie Finds Strength
Susie had suffered from a lot of trauma in her life and this caused her to suffer from major depression and anxiety. Before finding Yoga, she used drugs and alcohol to cope. When she found Yoga, she had given up drugs but was still drinking almost daily. Susie was hiding from her emotions and not practicing the Yoga Limbs (Yamas and Niyamas: see 8 Limbs of Yoga blog post to learn more). As she got more addicted to Yoga, she wanted to be true to her new lifestyle and no longer wanted to feel hung over after a night of drinking, causing her to miss classes. This allowed her the courage to slowly decrease her alcohol consumption one day at a time, until she gave it up completely.
Susie Finds Balance
As Susie went through the process of finding sobriety, she realized where the emotions being released during her Yoga classes were coming from. They were a combination of the past trauma and realizing she had a problem with alcohol and needed to find her sobriety. With sobriety, of course, comes feeling the past trauma and going through those old emotions, as she would no longer be numb. Susie felt like she could finally handle this process because she had Yoga to help her on her journey. It was not always easy, but she had learned so much about her body and connected so deeply with herself that she now felt she was worth it.
Susie Finds Her Place In The World
After two years of daily practice, Susie finally felt like she had enough to offer to teach her own classes. Susie likes to keep her classes down to earth and help people process their emotions through her class. She helps her students to feel their emotions and connect to themselves on a deeper level. She provides her students the safe space required to be able to connect in this way. She can finally be the person for others that she needed all her life.
Susie continued this way, picking up as many classes as she could, until one day she realized she was neglecting herself and her own practice. This was the point that she decided to drop some classes and start focusing on her own journey again, because after all, taking care of yourself is most important. Susie is now training for her 300 hour certificate with a focus on trauma informed teaching.
Susie Finds Freedom
I relate in so many ways with Susie, wanting to create that safe space for others and be the person that I needed all my life. We have both gone through trauma and overcome addiction and then realized we need to continue with our own journey of self discovery and healing to continue helping others. I feel that Susie and I will continue to connect with each other and be a support system for each other, because, after all, everyone needs that in their lives.