We are so excited to tell you all about yoga instructor extraordinaire, Suzy Ganer this month! Suzy shines light and love and if you have ever been to one of her yoga classes you know firsthand the joy and energy that exudes from her inner being. Anytime you come in contact with this woman, you leave blessed! We wanted to learn more about her and hope you enjoy what she has to say as much as we did!
Introduce yourself to us…
I'm originally from Chicago (my Midwestern accent slips out every now and again...”downward facing daaaawg”). I left home to attend the University of Vermont and fell in love with my husband Sky in those magical green mountains. We then lived together in New York and Boston before heading west.
How did you land in Jackson Hole?
I might be one of five people that moved to the Hole for a job. I moved for my husband's love of skiing and to work as a School Counselor at Jackson Hole High School. It didn't hurt that my best friend from college, Jenny, lives here.
How did you first get involved in fitness and teaching?
It's kind of funny to me that I'm in the "fitness industry"...if you've ever been in a condition or interval class with me you get the joke. I'm the girl who is red-faced and sweating before class even begins. But you can count on me to smile most all of the way through. Yoga is so much more to me than fitness. I found yoga as a teenager to help cope with some difficult times. Yoga is the practice that enables me to love my body and simultaneously realize that I am not my body or my mind. I remember the first few times I felt an emotional release through the vehicle of my body and breath; it felt like pure magic. I felt like I figured something out...like I could taste little samples of freedom. It's that glimpse of freedom from the ties that bind me mentally that keep me coming back to my mat time and time again.
What do you love most about being fit?
When I feel fit, I feel confident. As a yoga teacher and a counselor, I feel it is my purpose to serve others and hold sacred space for them to connect with themselves and upgrade their lives. When I feel fit I feel more vibrant and alive and have the energy to get out of my own way and show up for others with authenticity and presence.
What is your main motivation or your "why" that keeps you motivated towards living a healthy vibrant life?
When I feel better, I show up with more of myself. It's that simple. The times where I don't feel motivated to make healthy choices for myself, I remember my responsibility to serve. Suddenly, the responsibility becomes bigger than me, bigger than my own insecurities and my own self-consciousness.
What is your personal biggest health challenge or struggle that you have had or that you continue to work to overcome?
I struggle with consistency. I do a lot of healthy things...sometimes. Sometimes green juice, a hike, and a long yoga practice feels perfect in my body, and sometimes so does tequila and tacos!
When you are not teaching where can we find you?
This is the first September of my life that I haven't been a student or working in a school! I left the school system to pursue private practice counseling and couldn't be happier. I work for Teton Behavior Therapy, doing individual, group, and family counseling for children, teens, and adults.
When you are not working – where can we find you?
When I'm not working I'm often traveling to see friends, family, and live music. Dancing makes me feel alive and free and I crave live music that gets me up and feeling funky. When I'm home, I love time spent yoga-ing on my SUP and canoeing with my husband in GTNP. It's almost time for elk bugling dates on the canoe!
What is your personal philosophy about health and fitness or your "mission" that you want to teach others about?
You have everything you need. You are whole. Just as you are. Really.
What does your diet and nutrition look like on a daily basis?
I was a vegetarian for 15 years. I'm not anymore, but I try to be really conscious about the animals I consume. I play with going back to vegetarianism, and may again, as ahimsa (non-violence) is one of the main tenets of yoga, which encompasses non-harming of animals. The truth is, animal protein feels good in my body and provides sustained energy for me. Ahh, the omnivore's dilemma...
Anything else you want our guests to know about you, what makes you uniquely wonderful and awesome that we may not know or that you would like to share?
I love teaching at Pursue! It is my happy place! I had so many questions when I was new to yoga, specific alignment questions or intrigued about something philosophical. If you have questions or comments before or after class I would love to geek out with you! I welcome the opportunity to connect with each of you at Pursue and want you to know you can feel comfortable asking or sharing anything with me. Don't be shy!
Suzy’s top cues that you will probably hear if you attend one of her classes…
1) Your body is your best teacher. This sounds cheesy, I know, but it is the truth. We all have internal indicators that tell us when we've gone too far or when we need to amp it up, the trick is listening. There is so much mistrust of our own bodies. I am passionate about helping people to learn to trust the voice of his or her own body.
2) Alignment and purpose. The majority of yoga cues encourage students to hug in to their center, their core, their central meridian channel, shushumna nadi. But why??? Living from this centered place brings us into balance and allows prana (energy) to flow upwards. It is this awakening of energy and life force we are after. This may come out as "belly button to spine"; "drop your tailbone"; "ground through your pointer finger"; all of these cues are geared towards this internal focus on the middle path to find balance and vibrancy.
3) Come into a place of feeling rather than thinking. Oy vey, this is hard. That's why we practice it. Relentlessly.
4) Breath is the star of the show in your yoga practice. I hate when people tell me they are "bad at yoga." I then ask them, "Can you breathe and feel? Then, you're excellent at yoga."
5) Breathe into the discomfort. There is a difference between pain and sensation. We are not interested in pain, but sensation, yeah, we are into that. For example, when holding warrior two for an extended period of time of course your thigh will start to shake, you'll want to put your arms down, but you're ok. Yoga guru Iyengar says, "The pose begins as soon as you want to leave it." It is in the staying and breathing through that the pose really begins. It's who we are in the shapes that matters, not folding up like a pretzel or mastering a handstand.