Suza’s Writing Yoga Blog: www.suzaji.com
(1972–1974) My first teacher, Sarah Kirton, who asked me to teach her class at The Gables of Ojai. This photograph was taken in Upper Ojai, at a place called “High Winds,” near the land that later became the Ojai Foundation.
In this spiritual memoir, author, animal advocate and yoga teacher Suza Francina describes the quest that has guided her from earliest childhood. Her path is yoga in all of its manifestations–not only the asanas of hatha yoga, but also the practice of ahimsa, the recognition that all life is sacred.
These themes are illuminated with intensely personal stories and anecdotes. Along the way we learn about her many roles as mother, wife, girlfriend, companion, caretaker, yoga teacher, author, politician, environmental activist and advocate for the rights and welfare of animals.
Suza describes her days as a runaway teenager in the Haight-Ashbury; having a baby at age eighteen; the saga of romantic relationships; caring for elderly people during the last years of life and through the dying process; the years of intense rigorous training as an Iyengar Yoga Teacher; the drama of environmental activism and spiritual politics; and her election to the City Council and appointment as Mayor of Ojai, California, the artistic and spiritually progressive community that has been her home for over half a century.
Suza shares her encounters with yoga teachers, including early yoga pioneers such as Marcia Moore and Indra Devi, and other pivotal people in her life, many of whom lived in Ojai, including the world renowned artist Beatrice Wood, spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti and philosopher George Jaidar.
Life in Ojai, Autobiography of a Yogini, is divided into three parts: Innocence (early childhood to late adolescence); Illusion (early adulthood to present); and Illumination (later years).
Ojai stories — chapters-in-progress (draft)
Forty Years Ago in the Small Town of Ojai
Birth of Monica at the Home of Beatrice Wood
Winter Solstice Liberation The Last Asana.
The great yoga masters through the ages urge us to consider all aspects of our lives and to revere all living things. Yoga addresses the ethical life through a whole range of practices that encourage us to live in harmony with nature, which includes how we treat animals.
The practice of yoga is rooted in the principle of “ahimsa” (non-violence). The great yoga masters teach that “The yogi believes that every creature has as much right to live as he has. He believes he is born to help others and he looks upon creation with the eyes of love.” The yogi knows that his life is linked inextricably with other living things. A complete, holistic yoga practice encompasses a way of life that addresses the harm we inflict on animals.