Shaktiroopa (Sue Friston)
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- Miscellaneous Information:
Like many people I came to yoga during a personal crisis. The ‘80’s did that to a lot of us. By 1986 I had left my office job in Malvern and the massage training I’d begun, to live at the Wexford yoga centre under the tutelage of Swami Satyamurti. When he told me to return to England and start teaching a weekly yoga class, it did not occur to me to refuse.
A term of classes under my belt I returned to Wexford for the month long intensive Teacher Training Course in the summer of 1986. Questioning what I thought of as a pretentious affectation of taking on sanskrit name I asked what my sanskrit name might be. ‘Shakti’ said Swami Satyamurti. A name given either because of the energy with which I rode my 400-4 Honda and took any opportunity to wield a power tool, or to counteract my tendency to procrastination and avoidance of mornings. Both could be true. Either way, I happily became Shakti.
The nineties found me married with two children living and teaching in Gloucestershire. The year 2000 was eventful : my dad died, my husband left and began gender reassignment, and I got initiated into Jignasu Sanyas. Swami Niranjananda extended my name to Shaktiroopa. The embodiment of feminine energy. (I still wont wear a skirt though – and not just because the ex took them all with him).
I’ve taught mixed ability classes in rural Gloucestershire, worked for some years at a rehab centre, taught in prisons, and a residential care home for the elderly. Contributed Anatomy and Physiology sessions to Satyananda yoga teacher training courses in Birmingham and London, and supported the development of the Central Yoga Circle in Ledbury, Herefordshire.
Once both the children had left home I chose to leave Gloucestershire and move back to Herefordshire to be nearer my mum who clearly needed more support. Her dementia was diagnosed in 2014 and I now live-in as full time carer.
Two oft repeated quotes come to mind: ‘If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family’ and ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’
In 2013 I began facilitating regular meetings of a Death Café in Malvern. Talking about death and end of life matters makes living more conscious. A natural expression of the teachings and experience of the past three decades.