There's are saying that goes, "you can only give to others when your cup is not only full but overflowing." This is something a 2019 Kindred Yoga Teacher graduate learnt the hard way. Meet Susze, who, from her darkest moments of depression, rebuilt a life overflowing with compassion.
Susze shares how being granted Kindred's training scholarship shifted her perspective of the world and was the best experience of her life.
Tell me a bit about you.
I am a REP registered yoga instructor based in Auckland and have been teaching full-time at the Auckland council and privately owned facilities up to 16 classes a week before the lockdown in Auckland happened.
Tell me how your yoga journey started and how it's evolved?
I lost my job twice when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression within a year, thinking that my life was over because I had lost the ability to work and support myself. I was placed into a respite home, then a community-based retreat centre for suicide prevention. I was also with the adult mental health team for almost three years. I heard many good things about yoga and the excellent benefits of relieving anxiety and depression, instantly hooked. That's how my journey started.
"I came across Kindred Studio. I read through the website and saw so many good things that Kindred has done for the community in Nelson. Instantly I knew I wanted to learn from them."
How did receiving the Kindred Scholarship impact you and your life? How did you learn about it?
I knew I needed a way out of my situation since I could no longer return to my old job. I love yoga, and it would be even better if I could share this with the broader community. I began my search on Google, trying to find a yoga training school that offers a scholarship to complete a Yoga Teacher training, level 1 (YTT1). Then I came across Kindred Studio. I read through the website and saw so many good things that Kindred has done for the community in Nelson. Instantly I knew I wanted to learn from them. I wrote to Chai explaining my situation, and he was so kind and offered me a full scholarship for the training.
What were your highlights of the training?
Everything! The training itself was a one-of-a-kind lifetime experience. Having a chance to train with Chai, Bex, Rose, Claire, and Swami Karuna was the best thing ever happened to me. When choosing a YTT, I believe experience plays an important part, but more importantly, it is finding the qualities you want to acquire in the lead trainer. I knew instantly that Kindred was the right school because what they are doing for the community is in line with my passion. Chai is the perfect role model for it all. He is knowledgeable, kind, compassionate and has so much love for the community. We all had a wonderful time together. I have met so many kind souls in class. Everyone in training was so full of love and kindness. The 17-day was one of the best experiences in my life!
What has been your main takeaway from this course? What was your most significant learning?
I found hope in the training, and it changed my life and how I perceived the world. This means everything for someone who had severe depression and thought of ending her life. I remember telling Chai that I could not repay his kindness during the training. He replied with a smile:"I don't want you to pay me back Susze, pay it forward." That has significantly impacted me. I started offering yoga classes at the Cancer Lodge Society and community yoga classes after the training. I found so much love, joy and a sense of purpose in helping people in need. I will forever remember his teaching. I wouldn't be where I am today without his instruction.
"Yoga is not just what you learn on your mat, but how you apply what you have learnt in your life. Life will always be full of challenges."
What do you think makes a good yoga teacher?
Kindness, love and compassion. The world will never get enough of these things. A great yoga teacher is someone who embodies these qualities in their teaching.
What words of advice would you give someone considering embarking on their YTT1 with Kindred?
Take the step. You will never regret it! Honestly, I would do it again and again!
Do you have a message for those who donate to the Kindred Scholarship programme?
Thank you, everyone. You have helped me and others who are in need fulfil our dreams. I will never forget the love and kindness I received during times of difficulty. You have changed my life, literally!
How do you incorporate yogic principles into your daily life?
Yoga is not just what you learn on your mat, but how you apply what you have learnt in your life. Life will always be full of challenges. I have encountered more enormous challenges after 2019, been through separation, losing my home, diagnosis of an incurable life-long disease, the uncertainty of the pandemic, etc. Still, I have never once thought of giving up or ending my life. Yoga has shifted my perspective. Once your perception changes, your whole world shifts. Yoga has taught me to live in the present because nothing is permanent, including the sufferings, the bad times that you are going through at the moment, they are not going to last. So don't give up. Hang in there!
What's next? What are your future aspirations?
I want to make yoga more accessible to the community in need, especially those going through hard times, and share what I have learned to release stress and anxiety to benefit people going through rough patches.