Enlightening the Mind and Healing the Body
“When you open that door to learning, there’s no turning back,” says Suzanne Norman, owner of Libertyville’s Studio Lotus yoga and Enlightened Living wellness center. “I really want to explore the full depth of the mind-body interaction.”
And explore she has. Norman’s extensive knowledge of complementary and alternative therapies, combined with an understanding of how the body works, has allowed her to develop and offer programs and services that help her clients to increase flexibility and strength, find their mind-body connection, achieve balance in their lives, reduce stress triggers and help prevent conditions that lead to chronic pain and disease. Norman also offers consultation in complementary therapies to support traditional medical protocols and treatments.
Norman grew up in Chicago’s south suburbs, earning her degree in political science and planning a career in the FBI. After graduation, she took a corporate job, eventually moving into legal services. Working long, stressful hours, she found herself stressed, angry, maintaining a short temper and physically unhealthy. About 16 years ago, Norman enrolled in a park district yoga class, because she had heard yoga was a good stress reliever. To her surprise, she felt much better after she finished each session, and continued the classes.
“After a year of yoga, I realized that psychologically and emotionally, I had completely evened out,” Norman recalls. “I no longer had my stress and anger triggers. After I analyzed things, I realized that really the only external thing that had changed in my life was yoga.” That realization was a game-changer for Norman, who decided she would study and teach yoga because of how it had changed her own life.
She enrolled in Chicago’s Temple of Kriya Yoga teacher training program, gaining certification in Hatha yoga. Norman started teaching 12 years ago in her home studio, as well as though the Libertyville park district. As her practice grew, she progressed through several small studio spaces in town, finally moving to her current location in January 2011, where she opened Studio Lotus and its companion business, Enlightened Living. In addition to an inspiring yoga space, her location includes a tea bar and health and wellness boutique.
Through Studio Lotus, Norman and her instructors focus on the alignment and therapeutic aspects of yoga, making the integrity of the asana and physical safety their top priority. They offer a selection of Hatha yoga classes that emphasize strength and flexibility for the body and concentration for the mind. This summer, Studio Lotus introduced a new program called Summer Teen, which focuses on yoga, meditation and being an enlightened teen athlete.
Norman says her life’s direction morphed after enrolling at Kriya, learning the aspects of yoga and experiencing its effect on her own mind and body: “In an effort to change and improve my own life, and therefore everyone else’s life, by teaching, I realized I also had to know how we function as human beings–biologically, physically and emotionally.”
She started on a path of learning that she continues every day through continuous education and ongoing research. She obtained a degree in natural health and pursued advanced degrees in naturopathy and holistic nutrition. She studies yoga therapy, Ayurveda, homeopathy, nutritional therapy with a concentration in herbology, and orthomolecular medicine, as well as meditation, visualization and guided imagery. In addition, Norman holds certifications in Transformation Meditation, Thai Bodywork, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. Today, she calls herself a health and wellness educator.
In addition to yoga, Norman is focusing her energies on expanding Enlightened Living’s commitment to wellness education and consultation. “We’re really about empowerment and education,” she days. “I don’t believe that people can make informed decisions about their health and wellness without a good base of knowledge. My hope is to offer them just that.”
Norman adds that through Enlightened Living, she does not offer advice, diagnose disease or prescribe a path of treatment. Rather, she sees her job as one of informing and empowering. Calling on her in-depth knowledge and experience, Norman is able to educate her clients and guide them in making choices toward their own personal health and well-being.
“We’ve had cancer patients come to us who want to deal with the after-effects of traditional cancer treatments,” Norman says. “I teach them about the variety of modalities that may help them—such as herbs, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, yoga and nutritional counseling—and then allow them to design their own program, based upon their comfort level. It is up to them to choose what they believe is best.”
“Our intention is to enlighten the mind and heal the body,” she adds. To aid in doing so, Norman offers carefully selected products, services and classes. She has assembled a network of like-minded practitioners—including an integrative physician, pediatrician and raw foods chef—that assist her with wellness programs and individual client needs. In addition to workshops and one-on-one sessions, Norman is developing a series of mind-body DVDs and online programs that will be available in the fall to address how to use the power of the mind to help develop peak performance in all areas of life.
Studio Lotus and Enlightened Living are located at 150 East Cook St., in Libertyville. Call 847-549-744 for more information, or visit WellBodyMind.com for class listings and program explanations.