"Running retreats internationally and teaching at big festivals has been amazing, but some of my proudest moments come from the small things – the interactions with a new student following their first yoga class, or the delight in seeing a student stick with the practice for years and years and begin to glow from the inside out ..."
Wanderlust Weekly: Congrats on the growth of Unity Yoga! What inspired its creation? Susan Horning: I opened Unity Yoga over a decade ago, in response to some of the changes I was witnessing in the yoga community. I noticed that there was a big emphasis on athleticism and fitness, which is great for building health and is surely an important part of yoga, but I felt something was missing. I longed for a space where I could build community connections, practice at a pace and level that suited my body without the ambition or striving for physical performance that I was seeing. I wanted to be with like minded company, where we could share spiritual practice, ideas, and share our experiences in our bodies without the demands of athletic achievement. At the time there weren't too many yoga studios that I found offering that, so I opened Unity Yoga Teahouse to help foster an inclusive community setting, serving nutritious herbal teas and providing books and yoga classes that allowed for a practice that was based on what was going on inside the mind, rather than just the physical form. I found what followed was a surge of community-minded friends looking for a place where they could rest in their own deepest understanding, cultivating their unique spiritual truth, and of course the name Unity just seemed to make sense.
Wanderlust Weekly: You've built a strong community following in Vancouver, what are some of your proudest moments? Susan Horning: You know, it's not what you'd think. Running retreats internationally and teaching at big festivals has been amazing, but some of my proudest moments come from the small things – the interactions with a new student following their first yoga class, or the delight in seeing a student stick with the practice for years and years and begin to glow from the inside out. Witnessing the effect that my practice has had on my own life, my meditation practice that keeps me grounded and helps me move through the world gracefully and purposefully. I suppose I'm most proud of the way I live and the people who surround me, and the organic way that communities become families and the ever-changing quality of them. Living in harmony with other people and the Earth, that's what I'm most proud of.
Wanderlust Weekly: The wellness field is constantly evolving, what upcoming news or developments can we look forward to? Susan Horning: Yoga means change, so of course everything is always in flux, but there's one thing that doesn't change and that's the real meaning of yoga. It's not about looking flash on Instagram, or who has the deepest back bend that makes the advanced yogi. The advanced yogi is the one who knows their limits, works with what they have, and makes the most of every opportunity to grow. It's not about being a ballerina, figure skater, or gymnast - yoga is about working from the heart with an intention to build a quality of grace in yourself and your community. That has always been the purpose of yoga, no matter how many forms it takes. As a platform for my work in astrology, massage and herbalism, my yoga practice constantly provides a stable foundation for all my growth and achievements. [ learn more ]