Meet Suze in this the second of our spotlights on Just Believe Fit instructors. She is the person who will encourage you to be still, stay in the moment and just ‘be’ at yin yoga. She is also working behind the scenes as the studio administrator. Find out here whether you can trust her with your secrets, and what a licking dog has to do with yoga.
When did you first fall in love with yoga?
My sister had started doing yoga to manage stress and anxiety. She was living in Hong Kong and doing yoga on her rooftop, so once when I visited her, I joined her on her rooftop and never looked back. I think yoga becomes less about love and more a necessary and entrenched part of your daily life. Once you discover the deep-seated calm it creates, you HAVE to keep doing it.
How did you end up teaching?
After my mum died I was looking for a healing retreat, and the yoga teacher training in Bali was the only thing I could find in my budget and they made it sound lovely. (It was actually hard work!) I had been working for a regional library service doing marketing and media and before I left work and left for the course we cooked up an idea for some Alice in Wonderland-themed yoga classes as part of the library’s Booklovers’ Festival. So I finished the teacher training in Bali not really sure if I wanted to teach yoga, but there was my face in the Booklovers’ Festival brochure so I was locked in. So I started teaching yoga with these fairly trippy Alice in Wonderland yoga classes.
What is your favourite type of class and why?
I do like teaching yin yoga and that is what I teach here at Just Believe Fit (5.15pm on Saturdays. Come along!), but my favourite type of class would be a very flowy vinyasa class because I think it’s easy to get lost in the flow (Get lost, but find yourself).
What is your funniest teaching moment?
I have two and they both involve animals. I teach a class with a group of mostly vets at a private house. The couple who own the house have a gorgeous Maine Coon cat that hangs about during yoga, but one class during savasana she bit one of the vets on the nose! Not relaxing!
Once, teaching yoga elsewhere, one of the attendees had tied up her two little dogs outside. During the class, I noticed she had let them into the foyer, and then during savasana I turned around to see she was lying there with a dog under each arm, clinging on to them. I didn’t feel like I could say “You have to get those dogs out of here!” during the peaceful final pose of yoga. One of the dogs got loose and proceeded to go around to all the other attendees sniffing AND LICKING their feet. The whole time I was trying to shoo him away from their feet as quietly as I could!
What is your favourite post-class meal?
I don’t really have a favourite post-yoga meal. I eat an inordinate amount of bliss balls (and Marisa makes a great bliss ball so highly recommend coming along … or working for her – this is obviously the reason I do studio administration.)
I have been trying out intermittent fasting (16-hour fast/8-hour eating window) and tend to break the fast with a smoothie. (This smoothie I would never foist on anyone else, but it works for me.) It has almond milk, aloe vera juice, avocado, flaxseed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds, psyllium husk, ashwagandha, cos lettuce leaves, and kale. The secret to making it taste at least a little bit palatable is adding this Nature’s Way Greens Plus powder.
What is the biggest thing you have learned that has changed your life?
I think meditation has been the biggest life-changing thing for me, so I think the biggest thing I have learned that has changed my life is being here, truly, authentically, fully in the present moment.
What is your personal mantra?
Be unattached: Be unattached to outcome (just be in the moment and go with the flow); be unattached to what people think of you.
What is something about you people wouldn’t know?
I used to be a celebrity journalist working for Who Weekly magazine. I know you are now in a conundrum because, well, do you tell me secrets (yoga teachers are very trustworthy) … or not (celebrity journos are not)?
If you would have told me at 16 when I couldn’t touch my toes that I would be teaching yoga at almost 50, I would have laughed and asked: “What’s yoga?”!