Ahimsa Oak Park Student Spotlight: Susie Donohue
Meet Susie Donohue, 48, Oak Park
Susie is a very dear student in Oak Park who generously allowed us to use her backyard for our outdoor classes last summer. Maybe you will meet Susie outside or at the studio soon!
What do you do when you're off your mat?
I get to look after two wonderful teens, Iris (19) and Simon (17) as well as work as a pediatric physical therapist. I am also in school working on a doctorate. But lately I have been lying in bed reading a lot of Rumi.
What brought you to Ahimsa for the first time?
Years ago I won a “Free Month at Ahimsa” coupon in my children’s school fundraising raffle…and I just stayed! The studio is not far from my home and it smells really nice, like lavender.
What's your favorite thing about this studio?
The energy is so beautiful here. It is warm, peaceful, and welcoming. The teachers are so passionate about sharing the experience with their students and model self-acceptance, patience, and kindness.
What is your favorite type of yoga class (hatha, yin, vinyasa, etc.) and why?
I have typically gone to the more active classes like Vinyasa Flow, Anusara, and the classes with live drumming because we get to do a bit of dancing! I also enjoy the Restorative class on Sunday night.
What's your advice for someone coming to yoga for the very first time?
Be gentle with yourself. Trust in your ability to learn to breathe, move, and stretch your body more compassionately. Invest in a yoga mat that works for you. I also bring my favorite blanket from home to use as a prop since it has my children’s photos on it and that makes me happy.
What has your practice given you?
This is very much a work in progress but I am learning to be still, to be in the moment, and to not stress about what is to come. Functionally, my strength, balance, and endurance have all improved. I’ve also met some wonderful friends through Ahimsa. That’s the best bit, sharing a hug after class.
What's your favorite pose?
I love “dancer” the most, but I do have to work up to it. I also enjoy the two-person poses and full-body wiggling we get to do during Anusara classes.
What's your least favorite pose?
Chair pose is harsh. It’s a fight against gravity every time.
Tell us something unusual about yourself?
I think I was a mermaid or a seal in a former life. I feel most at home in the sea and I can swim for days.
What 3 words would a good friend use to describe you?
Resilient, creative, and cuddly.
What's your guilty pleasure/s?
I am very enthusiastic about building hills in my backyard. Every summer I order a massive dump truck full of soil and spend weeks hauling the soil around my garden. My husband thinks I've totally lost my mind, but it makes me happy to see children run up and down the hills and leap on big stones I've brought in. My most happy place is on a hillside in Co. Donegal, Ireland so I wanted to create a bit of that for my kids.
Have you made any changes in your life as a result of your yoga practice?
I have incorporated yoga into my own clinical practice and enjoy getting down on the mats with my young PT patients. I also use breathing techniques I’ve learned at Ahimsa to get through stressful situations.
If you were having a dinner party and could invite anyone you wanted, who would they be?
I love Irish history and politics so I’d invite Éamon de Valera, Michael Collins, and Bernadette Devlin. And Queen Maeve who was a fierce Irish warrior queen, but she’d probably stab the waiter. And I’d also invite super hot Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, obviously.