Student Stories

squareSuzanne Graham is my current yoga teacher, and I so enjoy her classes. She is a caring person who brings a thoughtful presence to all her teaching. She comes prepared with a plan for each class, but, depending on the physical needs of a student or several students, she will adjust her teaching to address those needs. Having a good knowledge of anatomy, she is skillful at directing one’s attention to making small shifts in the body to find the most beneficial position. Suzanne’s style of teaching is particularly good for me as I have osteoporosis, and she includes specific asanas in each class that I need to do without neglecting the needs of other students. But what I find the most meaningful about Suzanne as a yoga teacher is who she is – a whole person, physically, emotionally and  spiritually, who addresses each of her students as whole persons also.   –-Joan Erskine Denman


triangle“Be thankful in all things”

Mothers Day weekend 2012 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer I looked heavenward and questioned “Really?  For this???”. Today, nine months later I write from my chemo chair how thankful I am for more things than I can list, but especially for strengthened relationships and the life-enhancing choices I’ve made regarding diet and exercise.

I was invited in the summer to “Restorative Yoga” led by Suzanne Graham, tailored to some common needs of the cancer surviving individual.   I now credit those weekly classes as my absolute favorite benefit of having to deal with cancer. I felt empowered through yoga to participate in the strengthening and limbering of my weakened body and now manage a second class each week. My lungs had been compromised but through the hour of deep, measured breathing I was able to help my own lungs clear up!  Mostly, the “restorative” element of Restorative Yoga has helped heal me from the inside out.  It helped me choose to open up to receive even chemo as I practiced open stances and the gift of breath in a safe environment with others as hungry for breath as I.

Suzanne has become a weekly guide, a mentor of all things positive, a motivator of self care, and a friend to all of us. She has freely shared life with us and in turn we take life out into our worlds each week.  I cannot imagine these past months of my healing journey without Suzanne and the gracious gift of UAB.
–Jennifer Harwell


circleSuzanne’s approach to yoga is both soothing and challenging. With her warm, welcoming personality, she gets to know her students and is sensitive to each participant’s physical issues and limitations. This allows her to cue us individually to help us fully enjoy the practice without risking injury. I find her classes both rejuvenating and relaxing! — Mary Jane Ruch


squareI have attended 3 sessions of Gentle Restorative Yoga. A bilateral mastectomy resulted in decreased range of motion and strength in both arms. An unidentifiable strain of pneumonia left me with seriously compromised lung function. These sessions have greatly increased both range of motion and upper body strength. My lung function has significantly improved with concentrated deep breathing exercises during restorative sessions. I am happy to report that lung function has tripled. Wow!

This type of yoga has been an answered  prayer for my physical, mental and emotional health. Suzanne is an incredible instructor who not only addresses each of our individual needs on all levels but is also in tune with our psyche and our limitations.  After each session, I come away refreshed, renewed and recharged.

If you are newly diagnosed, currently in treatment or are a cancer survivor, this instructor and this class is for you!
— Judy Johnson