She’s the kind of yoga teacher who’ll blow your mind with the information she can keep in her head. Versed in ancient wisdom, modern science, and everything in between, Susie Dias is a teacher’s teacher.
She runs trainings in Toronto that people travel long distances for and her infectious enthusiasm keeps them coming back. Her resume allows her to conduct everything from Pilates training to yoga for older adults (or as she likes to call them “chronologically enriched”).
With her plate so full, she added a little more to it by answering our questions of awe and reverence:
How do you teach and create so many different types of classes? Is it difficult to keep so many balls in the air?
I’ve been teaching movement since 1984, including both yoga and Pilates since 1989. It was a gradual process. I enjoy having lots of balls in the air! It’s fun and I never get bored.
Do you have a favourite class to teach and why?
It changes. Sometimes it’s my classical yoga class because I love how I can focus on the subtlety of alignment when holding postures and using props. Sometimes it’s vinyasa because I love the flow. Sometimes it’s Pilates because I love how it cultivates spinal stability or using small apparatuses in the classical Pilates mat. It keeps my mind alert.
When you don't have any teacher training or classes to teach, what does your personal practice look like?
I enjoy letting my body do what it needs to do. It can be restorative, surrounded by props; or athletic and strong with just me and my mat; or esoterically focused on the subtle anatomy. There are times when I plan my personal practice for a specific purpose or when I’m studying something particular I use my personal practice to explore what I am integrating.
What helps you to remain inspired and fresh?
I feel that learning is a lifelong process so I’m always studying – anatomy, philosophy, history. There’s so much to learn that I never feel bored. I also like to study from other people by taking classes and workshops.
What drew you to this path? What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I started taking yoga and studying meditation in my first year of university. I found it really helped me to cope with the challenges of living on my own for the first time and managing my studies. I felt so relaxed after yoga or meditation. It opened the door to a neutral, calm state of mind.
I’ve studied Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kripalu, Kundalini, Sivananda, Bikram and Anusara styles over the years. I started studying Pilates with Moira Merrithew when she opened STOTT Pilates in Toronto in 1988. She was looking for dancers to teach and I fell in love with the Pilates Method. Joseph Pilates was a movement genius.
You should talk, Susie.
You can contact Susie through her website East to West Yoga.