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YOGA Spotlight: Suzanne Slocum-Gori27th November 2017

I step out of the safe and warm yoga practice space and into Ibiza’s stunning nature setting, a cross between my living room and complete open-air freedom. A selection of healing herbal teas await. After the deeply calming and restorative practice we have just completed I am unsure whether I need a revitalize, revive, women’s blend or, to stay in the zone, zen tea.

Suzanne finishes up dialoguing in her heartfelt manner with her students in the way she does, steps out of the yoga space with a kind of quiet assurance and sits down on the plush sofa. Her smile beaming a sincere sense of joy derived from her practice and the love she holds so genuinely for each and every one of her students.

She lets her hair loose from its studious bun and her long brown hair settles on her shoulders in a relaxed way. We sip tea and chit chat about life and children, then begin the interview.

When did you arrive in Ibiza? What was it that brought you to the White Isle?

We arrived in March 2015. Prior to this I had been working out of Europe for years actually. Though I regularly would travel to teach all over Europe, I was as yet unfamiliar with Ibiza. We picked Ibiza because it was unique. It was Spanish and adhered to Spanish culture but at the same time was quite international. We were coming over with our family, so the fact that the island had a strong sense of family values and togetherness as well as an emphasis on living a more balanced lifestyle, was very appealing. We were coming from a place where we worked all the time with little time to enjoy the moment and life’s experiences. Ibiza seemed a place well rooted in ancient traditions but also progressively modern.

How far back does your connection to the island’s yoga scene extend, if at all?

My initial intention wasn’t really to teach yoga here. I came with the idea that I would restore my body after burning out in my busy life, that I would be with nature, have time to nurture my family. I had no idea about the extensive yoga scene on the island, that there were so many amazing yoga teachers and healing practitioners here. I have come to see Ibiza as a kind of land of healing arts, a place vibrant with wisdom, with powerful healers. I now feel honored to be connected, to be a part of the yoga and healing community on the island. I also feel that it has been part of my ‘dharma’ (cosmic law and order) to be in Ibiza. Unconsciously pulled here into the collectiveness of healing and well being only to discover how in tune I am with Ibiza and its booming yoga industry set to revolutionize body and spirit.

Tell us a little bit about your background?

Well… there have been many chapters. (Pause, giggle) A large chapter was that I was a yoga studio owner in Vancouver. It was really busy and I had a very dynamic and committed community attending. At the same time I completed a doctorate in counseling psychology so decided to integrate the two. I was teaching classes, trainings and working at a range of medical clinics. I had a lot going on and at one point was not only running the yoga studio but also working at a medical clinic, a cancer clinic, a neuro-psychiatric institute and at a school! I was working with very different populations, everyone from drug users, students to professional athletes like football and hockey teams. By then I had already had my first child. In 2011 I had my second child and pulled out of pretty much everything to focus on my children and 100 % teach and run my yoga studio.

Did you find it easy to establish yourself professionally in Ibiza’s yoga world? What challenges did you face when you first arrived?

Well, to begin with I was 8 months pregnant with my third child so I wasn’t particularly focused on my work schedule but more so with restoring, recovering and healing myself through personal yoga practice. Establishing myself professionally in Ibiza happened organically as before arriving I had travelled and taught for over 6 years in the European community, largely Germany and England. When my student community got wind that I was based in Europe they wanted me to teach and be running yoga teacher trainings. So that a few months after my third child was born I threw myself back in, I missed teaching!

What kind of classes, practices and workshops are you teaching on the island? What sets your practice apart?

I met Uli, the owner of Open Space, and found one of my favorite teaching spaces. A place where my truest self, through the art of teaching, could express itself… My classes are a mix of physical asana and refined philosophical teachings. I have a strong focus on meditation, pranayama, mind and heart. My classes provide a space for individuals to receive teachings about the mind and a greater awareness and I believe that the Ibiza yoga community has been very open and ready to receive these teachings. My lineage is unique, it stems from Tibetan Buddhism, Kashmir Shaivism and my Hatha Yoga from Anusara and Iyengar forms. I also teach privates at individual houses and of course have several workshops and teacher trainings throughout the year.

Having run a yoga studio in the past, do you ever think about opening one in Ibiza?

I do think about this a lot as my students often ask me if it is in the works. I deeply miss the potency of seeing a yoga community every morning, of seeing my people each and every day. A studio does help people to build commitment and discipline. And for me it is easier to see the changes people are making because I see them regularly as opposed to only once a week. It’s like brushing teeth, the more you brush the better. For now no definite plans but I do think about it.

What does one of your regular classes resemble?

My classes are primarily hatha yoga and focus on the physical body. I then integrate meditation practices, guided visualizations, mantra mudras and pranayama. The classes combine conventional modern eastern traditions with Iyengar and Anusara forms.

Who comes to your classes, workshops, retreats?

People who need a workout! And of course those looking for transformation and change in their lives. People looking to heal at so many levels, healing their joints, their spines, their mental state of mind.

What upcoming retreats do you have coming up?

I have a lot coming up so here are the main ones:

Journey of the Embryo- Yoga & Osteopathy– November 27-29, Ibiza

Awakening of the Heart- 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training– May 7-19 + September 19-30, 2018, Ibiza

Seat of the Teacher- 40 Hour Teacher Refinement- Dates to be announced – March 2018, Ibiza

What do you enjoy about living in Ibiza?

I love Ibiza for the family time I am allowed, for its beautiful nature, for the quiet stillness it provides and for its great sense of space, of spaciousness.

Find Suzanne at Open Space on Monday from 9:30-11:00am for Hatha Level 1 and at Studio 8 on Fridays from 9:30-11:00am for Hatha Intermediate Level.

For more information about Suzanne and her art of teaching please visit: www.suzannefaith.com

Photos by: www.sayanacairo.com

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