I respect yoga’s capacity to heal its practitioners physically, emotionally, and spiritually and teach with the understanding that the inquiry of yoga is doing the work, not me. I’m honored to guide and hold space for others’ experiences.
In my classes and 1:1 instruction, expect more invitations than commands. Be prepared to inquire how the practice changes your breath and your mood moment to moment. Expect, in my vigorous vinyasa classes, to challenge yourself physically and to be invited to meet your edge with curiosity and maybe even a chuckle. Trust that in my basics or all-levels classes, you’ll have space to experience both the movement and stillness appropriate for you.
My yoga is political. Our yoga doesn’t happen in “neutral spaces”–yoga happens in the real world with real racism, sexism, heterosexism, body-shaming, and other forms of oppression. I see that white yoga teachers have an obligation to acknowledge and engage with the appropriation (and misappropriation) of Indian culture and spirituality in the Western capital and fitness driven yoga world. I’m always open to honest and vulnerable conversation on this topic. In my humble opinion (and my life), I see that yoga can be a tool for change internally and support change systemically.
I spend a lot of my personal practice reflecting on something one of my teachers, Bhakti White, once said in class during a particularly long balancing sequence: “Notice what’s happening. Notice what happens when it gets hard. Do you get interested? Do you check out? Do you get angry? At me? At yourself? Because what you do on the mat–that’s what you do in the rest of your life.”
I have experience working with people who are brand new to yoga, older adults, pregnant people, and the queer and trans community.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can work together.
Susan Virginia Hildebrand, 500 CYT, Prenatal CYT, had the incredible good fortune to receive their 200-hr teacher certification at the Kripalu School of Yoga with Devarshi Steven Hartman and Jurian Hughes in 2013 and 500-hr certification at the Shakti Initiation Women’s Leadership Training with Grace Jull and Jovinna Chan in 2014. Additionally, they completed a 65-hr training on adjustments with Gita Delashmitt and received their prenatal teacher certification in the Shambhava tradition with Bhakti White, both at Chi-Town Shakti. They have experience teaching workshops on pranayama, developing a home yoga practice, and for queer and trans yogis. Susan has received two Kripalu “Teaching for Diversity” grants to provide free yoga to LGBTQ+ seniors at the Center on Halsted and regularly teaches donation classes to benefit local political and direct service organizations. They work full time as the Grassroots Campaign Director at UltraViolet, a national women’s rights organization, and are on the board of the Chicago Abortion Fund.
Photos by Karmen Elaine.