• Finding our way

    Practices for opening our heart and finding our way forward


  • Credentials


    *Certified by Duke University Integrative Medicine as a professional health coach
    *Certified Teacher in mindfulness meditation through UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center--began mindfulness training in one year of private study with Marjo Oosterhof in her western Ireland meditation center, Passadhi.
    *Certified Yoga Therapist by International Association of Yoga Therapists, training including onsite work in hospitals, and twenty years of one-on-one training through respected senior teachers in the Desikachar tradition of viniyoga. [@1500 hours in traditional-style, closely supervised yoga teacher training].
    *Level I Somatic Experiencing credential for trauma-resilience and embodied awareness.
    *Certificate, Integrative Sound and Music Program, Open Center NYC.
    * Religious Studies Dept., University of Virginia Graduate School, where I studied the beautiful literatures of Early Modern Sanskrit. Texts included the Patanjali Yoga Sutra and its many commentaries; the Upanisads; Shaiva and Buddhist Tantra; Buddhist Abhidharma; and Samkhya philosophical traditions. I have studied japam (mantra practice) with masters for over 20 years and have taught mantra to support healing, also.

    Current experience and past highlights


    During this period of COVID-19, I have supported clients' resilience and their engagement in positive change, primarily through ZOOM groups at Mindful Living Space, a private psychotherapy center in Kingston NY.  Group yoga teaching with students continues via ZOOM, but in-person instruction is available one to one.
    Bi-monthly meditation teaching at Tibet House NYC, 2018-19.
    With the support of Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, I opened the first independent meditation/yoga center inside a Virginia medical center, serving all patients, and physicians and therapists, at every income level, both in-hospital and in community centers. I've led yoga therapy workshops here in the USA, and abroad.
    With a team of clinicians, I also designed and taught the hospital's meditation/yoga program for women's health, in their cardiac and cancer care departments, where I was also a partner in hospital based research on yoga for breast cancer.
  • About my teaching, including fees and testimonials


    Ancient contemplative methods empower us to choose our response to life in a way that's consistent with our capacity, our highest values and intention (or samkalpa, in yoga tradition).


    Offering personalized contemplative practices for over 20 years, Susanna Nicholson MPhil. Oxon., is a coach certified by Duke University, and also in mindfulness instruction by the Greater Good Science Center at University of California. She began practice in 1970 ... which ultimately led her to decades of teaching meditation at hospitals and later, at meditation centers such as Tibet House NYC.


    Her counseling training is informed by an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and trauma. Every client is is supported by personally adapted breath practices and embodied awareness. She is certified in Somatic Experiencing Level I, Compassion Practices from the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Psychotherapy, Integrative Sound Healing (Open Center), Mindful of Race workshops with Ruth King, Qigong and full IAYT Yoga Therapy certification.


    With the support of a personal practice ... and/or journaling .... and/or other self-reflective practices ... clients find they can draw together intuitions of where their "best self" is headed, and map their own path forward.


    For over twenty years Susanna has been based at hospitals and clinics where she has helped hundreds of clients at a crossroads to find their true North. The approach is based on contemplative self-inquiry, and embodied contemplative practices, sometimes with health coaching.


    As a result her students and clients have refined their choices in work and life, and moved forward with confidence based on their own inner work. Updated CV here


    Fees Contact susannanicholson@gmail.com for an affordable individual package, and current group teaching schedule. I follow income-based pricing, so let's talk.


    Recent testimonials (coaching)

    Thank you so much that was a phenomenal and empowering session. -- A.S.
    Today was so insightful and validating and encouraging to me. I feel a lot more clarity. AHHH! I appreciate it all so much! -- C.G.
    The conversation was both important and insightful. I learned more about my assumptions and was delighted that you provided the space for my honesty.  Thanks for creating this possibility. -- A.Z.
  • How does intentional change begin?

    A famous (and somewhat frustrating) answer to this question of where to start is, 'we begin from where we are.' With present moment awareness. And hopefully some gratitude to life for bringing us to a place where we're ready to grow and change, even if we can't yet see our way clearly.


    And then the answer really is down to the individual heart and mind. And practices based on awareness of the breath. That's where we start.


    In cases where wellness has been very hard to achieve, I often suggest a formal coaching plan, based on the Duke University Wheel of Integrative Health (see below).


    It has been a joy to see students thriving in relationships, and empowered to meet life challenges with greater health, joy, kindness, and confidence.


    I began practicing in 1970, and started teaching in hospitals before there was the incredible phenomenon of wellness marketing. To become acquainted, I still offer a very old-school, 30-minute free consult to new students and coaching clients. Alternatively you can contact me directly for a Zoom link to my breath meditation classes on Friday. Then, we'll meet, we'll be present together, and you'll know if it's a fit.



    Sample home practice

    Here's an excerpted page from a recent personal practice for a long-time student, shared via laptop and phone support.

    It is designed for a student who might have a challenge in going directly to a seated-only breath awareness practice (in this case, because the student in question already spends all day seated). A change in the relationship to the breath and spine is needed. Although the practice specifies ratios of inhale to exhale, noted in seconds, her formal breathing practice (pranayama) is not shown here.

  • Another starting point, a self-assessment tool from Duke Integrative Medicine, the Wheel of Health:




















































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