Meet Teacher Susan "Lip" Orem

Finding Humor In Life's Challenges

Wanted: A teacher who is funny, experienced and interested in breaking complicated poses apart to better understand them. Requires students to pay attention to the experience they are having in class and not just mindlessly follow directions.

Yoga students who are curious, creative, willing and patient should look no further than Susan “Lip” Orem. YogaCity NYC publisher Brette Popper sat down with “Lip” one afternoon and asked her about her 20 plus years of practice, her teaching and her popular upstate retreat center Heathen Hill.

Brette Popper: How did you begin your yoga journey?

Susan “Lip” Orem: In 1990… I was an old dancer and I couldn’t dance anymore…and I loved Step Aerobics but my knees and hips complained so I took my first gym yoga class thinking it would be easy. And, it kicked my ass. Teacher even wore sneakers. So I went again and the next teacher I had happened to be Sharon Gannon. And she kicked my ass too. The next teacher was Cyndi Lee and then Dana Flynn; all at Crunch. Then it was me and yoga and no turning back.

BP: You’re a devoted student of Rodney Yee’s. How did that relationship start?

LIP: I found Rodney at the old Jivamukti in 1995 or 96 and that was it.

BP: So you found your teacher very quickly?

LIP: But I didn’t know that. It wasn’t until 1997 after Om Yoga had opened and I had done Cyndi Lee's Teacher Training when we all (including fellow teacher trainees Amy Ippoliti and Jennifer Brilliant) went to the Denver Yoga Journal Conference and saw Rodney. Richard Freeman,Richard Rosen, Patricia Walden, John Friend and Erich Schiffman…I tasted them all and knew Rodney was it. Then I just followed him around. Four intensives a year. Now it’s just two, one week at Heathen Hill and a week in Massachusetts.

BP: Speaking of Heathen Hill…how did your retreat center come into being?