The first time I saw people doing sun salutations, I thought they were praying with their bodies. That image is tattooed on my mind. I was going through a difficult period and the introduction of yoga helped me to find peace and clarity. Over the past 25 years, yoga has ushered me through many other transitions.

When I was a younger attorney, I relied on yoga to help with work anxiety and stress. Since then yoga has been keeping me relatively calm and centered through the circle of life – motherhood, sickness, and aging parents. Yoga helps me to think clearly, adapt to situations, and usually find my best self.

Sometimes after I practice yoga a “truth” pops into my head. For me a “truth” is a clear self-realization about myself, my direction, or my desires. I actually keep a list on my phone called “My Truths” where I record these guiding principles. About a year ago, I was volunteer yoga teaching at a domestic violence shelter. It was very rewarding to help traumatized people find comfort in yoga. After one of these sessions a “truth” came to me. I wanted to work with domestic violence victims, not as a yoga teacher, but as a family law attorney. I had taken several years off from the practice of law, and it was a long and uncharted journey to a new area of law. It is with humility and a lot more grey hair that I will join a nonprofit as a staff attorney in August.

The late TKV Desikachar said, we don’t change our bodies to fit yoga, we change the yoga to fit our bodies. I follow this philosophy in my personal practice and teaching. That means that the practice of yoga must be tailored to fit individual needs taking into account, among other things, age, past injury, fitness, and experience. As I get older my yoga practice and my yoga teaching focuses on self-acceptance, feeling better, and healing injury. I am no longer interested in mastering or teaching the most challenging poses, although I do admire those of you who can safely do them! And although I don’t practice or teach yoga as much as I used to, when I do, I appreciate both more than ever.

Susan’s Vinyasa Flow Fundamentals class explores the fundamental principles and foundational yoga poses at the heart of Vinyasa Flow. Join her every Friday from 12:00 – 1:15pm if you prefer a more gentle practice or if you’re looking for an introduction to Vinyasa Flow.


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