The name Susan Cambigue-Tracey may have seemed like that of a new teacher when it appeared on Goorus Yoga’s schedule, but for those who took Al’s early morning yoga class, Susan’s face will be a familiar one. Now she is teaching Wake Up Yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:15am and Fluid Yoga at 10:30am on Wednesdays and Fridays.
All of this physical activity is not new to Susan. As a child, she was a kinesthetic learner, and at UCLA she majored in P.E. and Dance. From there she taught dance in high school and at several universities including 15 years as part-time faculty atLoyola Marymount University. Her work as a dance movement specialist led to her mentor, Bella Lewitzky, nominating her to work for the National Endowment for the Arts in a program called Artists in Schools - Dance Component. Susan describes this by saying, “It was about the arts impacting the way students learn. I was selected to teach dance in different communities across the U.S. for two to six weeks in each.” She also worked full-time in Arts Education for the Los Angeles Music Center, the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, as Director of Curriculum and Teaching Artist Development and continues part-time as Director of Special Projects. For the past 17 years, as part of the Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, she has choreographed and led 18,000 5th grade students in a dance that relates to bus-in dance performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Susan was a modern dancer because, “(For me) it was the most creative and expressive form, and I taught children and adults to express themselves through this form. My body is built for modern dance and I love to break the rules of what people think about dance.” She eventually formed the Free Flight Improvisational Dance Company which performed for K - 8 schools locally and also did community programs in galleries and artistic spaces titled, “Viewing Art through a Dancer’s Eye.”
One of Susan’s other skills is working with people who are physically or emotionally challenged. Susan comments, “Movement is empowerment and can help integrate the mind, body and spirit - also true in yoga.” She even fused her creativity instructing Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga when working at a stroke recovery facility in Palm Springs.
But Susan didn’t study yoga until she turned 50! She was performing a series of dance duets and needed to build her strength and stamina, and her partner suggested yoga. She found that she loved yoga practice because it made her consciously aware and encouraged her to think about how she was working. Later, Susan needed both of her hips replaced and her doctor recommended having them both done at the same time because she was so strong from yoga. She recovered well and gives thanks to a combination of daily yoga and Pilates work.
Susan’s Hatha yoga teaching style is more like dance, yet it pulls from the many different styles she has studied. “I stress pranayama (breathing exercises), invite students to set an intention for each class and foster a loving, non-judgmental environment for my students.” She believes that what you practice on the mat, you can better integrate into life off the mat.
She is honored to be part of the teaching staff at Goorus Yoga.