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Conversations with the Inspiring Susan Jarvie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Jarvie.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Susan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a small child watching TV, I occasionally clicked on a channel where a yoga teacher taught yoga. I remember being fascinated as she moved gracefully, and spoke very slowly, and peacefully. I felt interested, but not enough to try it, just enough to watch her move from pose to pose effortlessly. Fast forward to my adult life when I hit the gym for aerobic classes and weight lifting, yoga became a distant memory. When a friend suggested we try a yoga class, I remembered that TV show and I agreed. I felt awkward and was somewhat challenged in that first class and when I I woke up the next day with sore muscles I knew yoga was something I wanted to pursue. Practicing yoga had worked my muscles in new ways. That was the moment, I decided there was something different about yoga, and I needed to know more. And, the more I came to know, the more I learned yoga is not all about stretching and balancing. It is a complete system of physical postures and breath awareness which helps us focus, calm our minds, and live in a more present, healthful way. Who knew all these years later I would be practicing and teaching yoga, speaking in that same very slow, peaceful manner as that woman did on TV?

After a couple months in that class where it all began, I found a great teacher and became completely hooked on yoga. I’m sure most of my friends tired of hearing me tell them they needed to practice yoga too! I soon delved into yoga teacher training accumulating more than 500 hours of training. I’ve taught yoga in high schools, community education programs, and recently celebrated 10-years as Adjunct Faculty in Exercise Science, teaching yoga at Mesa Community College in addition to Val Vista Village resort. I also work personally with students in my home studio. I am fascinated with the practice and study of yoga and I continue to develop both as I attend workshops to further my knowledge. I am in awe of my students as they learn to calm their minds and increase strength and flexibility in their bodies. Helping others feel good in their lives is where I have the most fun and feel the highest satisfaction.

Immersed in yoga since 2001, my focus is on the physical alignment of postures, careful sequencing of poses, and breath awareness in both my own practice and as a teacher. My classes include a flow of postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and visualization. I offer weekly classes, private sessions, and occasional workshops. My certification with Yoga Alliance is Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher 500 (E-RYT500).

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Since deciding to pursue becoming a yoga teacher, my journey has been somewhat smooth. I believe opportunities arrive with little resistance when we are on the right path. As with any education, yoga teacher training can be expensive. My advice is to create a budget and save a little bit each payday until you have enough to pay cash for training. Yoga teachers are not paid well and it will be difficult to accumulate enough money to pay back any loans.

Another challenge as a yoga teacher is in growing a community of students. Unlike school teachers, our students are not delivered to us. We need to attract and keep them coming to our classes regularly if we want to be successful. Finding a studio, school, or community center and establishing a regimen of teaching the same classes at the same time of the week, will allow students to develop a routine and keep coming back. Offering first classes free to new students so they can experience the class, and giving away classes to current students who bring a friend are great ways to grow a student population. My classes have been just that for more than 10-years; same day of the week, same time. I currently enjoy teaching 40-50 students per class at Val Vista Village when our winter visitors are in Mesa.

Teachers can also benefit from having their own website and social media presence. Another project of mine is to work with yoga teachers and studios in helping them design, build and maintain their websites and establish social media accounts.

It would serve new teachers well to find a mentor who can help guide them as they teach in classes, and as they build their business. I very much enjoy working with new teachers helping them grow and learn to be the best they can be for their students.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Yoga with Susan Jarvie story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a yoga teacher teaching yoga as Adjunct Faculty at Mesa Community College, Val Vista Village Resort in Mesa, and in my home studio. My specialty is working with new students and our senior population, and I love teaching students to relax into a slower sequence of yoga poses and a more gentle practice, which may include yoga Nidra (sleep). I also help yoga teachers and yoga studios with web design, social media, and professional coaching/mentoring. Little makes me feel better than watching students and clients succeed.

I am further inspired to teach yoga when students tell me I’ve made a difference in their lives. Whether with the ability to reduce stress and learn to be calm or when they become yoga teachers because I inspired them. It’s always a plus when a student reports that they are sleeping better and have reduced their blood pressure as a result of their time with me in my classes.

I am often referred to as the ‘Yoga lady” by college students and my height, 5’10, sets me apart from others. I am always smiling, have a gentle nature and a soft touch. My husband and I have somewhat of an urban farm with vegetable and flower gardens, fruit trees, chickens who provide fresh eggs, and a new Golden Retriever puppy named Romeo.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
My home library is full to the brim of yoga books, and I often refer to them when developing new workshops and in solving specific challenges with my students. Mediations from the Mat is one of my favorite books. Yoga Journal, Yoga International and the Himalayan Institute are all great resources I often refer to online.

Pricing:

  • Students pay $86 (seniors $43) per semester for yoga classes at Mesa Community College. Class price is about $3.50, which is the best deal in town!
  • I sell passes at Val Vista Village Resort and class price depends on the pass which can be $6 to $10 per class.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Elisabeth Ansley Photography, April Oftstead-Yarger Photography

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Penny

    May 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Inspiring and beautiful story!

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