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My yoga journey - by Susie Howell




People always ask about my yoga journey - we all love a story! So if you are interested - here it is. And here is how I ended up running yoga retreats on Ibiza - a magical little island in the middle of the Med.


I’ve called Ibiza home since 2010, but ending up here was really a bit of an accident!

I worked in the advertising and marketing industry directly after graduating from university. I managed almost 10 years, but it got to the point where my health was suffering and I knew that I couldn't carry on. I was earning a great salary but I was partying way too hard and my personal life was an absolute disaster. My anxiety was crippling me and one day and a friend suggested we go to a yoga class at a local gym. It was like a ‘thank god’ moment for me and I remember sitting on the yoga mat just crying and having no idea why. I just felt safe and finally connected to myself and who I really was - and during this time, it began to feel like the only place I felt at home was on the yoga mat. I used to spend as much of my free time as possible in the Carnaby Street Tri-Yoga studio.  Anyone else go there?


So in 2007 I made a huge life decision to invest £3,000 on an 18 month 200hr YTT in Camden, London with a lovely teacher who was incredibly strict on the anatomy and structure of the body (I’ll always be grateful Elena even though at the time it was challenging!!!!). I studied hard and I began to shift my energy from the corporate and externally based world and internally to the self. It forced me to focus on what I really wanted from my life.

Acceptance that a high-flying corporate London job wasn’t for me came around this time and it was really tough. I think I had always thought I’d be ‘that high flying London girl’ - but the truth is, it was just too much for me personally. It made me unwell - my body, my mind and my spirit really suffered.


After completing my YTT in 2009 - I was fired up! I booked another YTT course here in Ibiza on a whim - a 1 month intensive after agreeing a longer leave from my job. And that was it - I arrived in Ibiza and the love story with the island began. The focus on this course was more on Vinyasa and I learnt how to create more meditative vinyasa flows, alongside a strong meditation practise.


Now I I was ready for the full ashram immersion and in 2012 I travelled to India on a shoestring to the Sivananda centre in Kerala where I completed their 4 week course. It was tough! My first time in India and a sensory overload. There were so many times that I wanted to run - and I was so out of my comfort zone. But sweet surrender came eventually and the routine and stability of the course gave me what I needed at the time. I absolutely loved the philosophy and the ancient texts - and it is still so incredible to me how these are still so relevant to our modern lives.


I find it very difficult to describe my yoga classes now as they draw from so many of my experiences and so many teachers and styles. My first book about yoga was ‘Awakening the Spine’ by Vanda Scaravelli and it’s a book I still refer back to on a regular basis when planning classes or searching for inspiration.


And in my own journey - when I first began - it was really about the asana practise (when actually asana only a small % of yoga). I spent hours perfecting some of the more advanced asanas and I can say for me and my own experience, I didn’t find my happiness there. In fact I found a lot of injuries! There may be a sense of achievement yes, but this was fleeting and then I was onto the next thing - a direct reflection of the disharmony in my life - and so many of our lives - and with instant gratification at our fingertips. Eventually I learnt the practise is in the process.


And as someone who is naturally flexible - perhaps even hyper mobile, I need to balance out my flexibility with strength. In fact we all do and yoga is a constant search for the balance of 'stirham and sukham' - stability & ease. But I found so many teachers gleefully pushing me beyond my limits in classes as soon as they spotted my flexibility and it’s taken me a long time to create the boundaries to say no thank you! Don’t get me wrong, I love a compassionate adjustment but the key is in progression not perfection. I am here however you need support. I will teach you how to find your personal expression of a pose and your edge. I will show you how to breath and most importantly, how to connect to YOURSELF - I believe you are your our own best teacher.


All of this has led to the creation of Glow Retreats.

And ultimately the goal of Glow teachings? What can you expect?

  • A deeper connection to your body through mindful practise

  • A cultivation of connection with self and others

  • Kindness and compassion

  • Self-awareness & open-mindedness

  • Culminating in a philosophy that extends to life off the mat


And if you made it to the end of this story - thank you for reading and Sarah and I would love to hear yours too.


And if anything in my story resonates - please reach out to susie@glowwithsusie.com. You don't have to live with anxiety and it is not a life sentence!


Love Susie & Sarah x

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