by Phil Gutis
For years, Sue Elkind led a successful graphic design studio in Hollywood. Increasingly, though, she found her work to be unsatisfying. “There was a lack of real meaning behind what the clients wanted,” she says. “And although designing movie posters sounded cool, there came a point where my yoga practice would not allow me to ignore my heart.”
She followed her heart and switched her focus, opening a series of yoga studios in California. Today, after 34 years of yoga practice, Elkind is a co-owner of the highly successful DIG Yoga, with studios in Lambertville, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. And she couldn’t be happier. “I am still madly in love with building community and watching individual hearts bloom from yoga teachings,” she says.
Elkind is a certified Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with 500 hours of training (ERYT-500) and a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher. Today, she directs 500-hour teacher trainings and is the author of DIG Pregnancy, Birth & Baby: a Conscious and Empowered Approach to Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. Elkind has also been featured on the Crunch fitness prenatal yoga video Yoga Mama, Sportskool’s cable network for prenatal yoga, as well as in Fit Pregnancy, W Magazine and Spa Magazine.
She brings her expertise around the world, teaching and sharing her passion for empowering women—and babies—in conscious pregnancy and birth, with yoga teachers and pregnant women. “We all need teachers on our path,” Elkind says. “I think of myself as one of those guides that can support others in finding better health and joy in life.”
Elkind’s extensive experience includes seven years of training in lyengar and Ashtanga Yoga. She has been a certified Anusara yoga instructor for more than a decade. She is recognized for her inspiring and detailed instruction and for creatively sequencing her classes to expand her students’ potential both physically and spiritually.
Elkind has clearly brought her graphic design background to DIG’s comfortable Lambertville studio. She is at home in its airy main room studio, teaching basic and mixed level classes. Although the Lambertville studio has been open for only four years, the white walls and artwork give it a feeling of permanence.
Elkind is the co-founder of DIG Yoga with her husband, Naime Jezzeny, and a partner with her longtime student and friend Mariel Freeman in DIG Yoga’s second location in Philadelphia. “There is a level of maturity, professionalism, cohesion and, most importantly, joy, that is felt immediately when entering through the doors at DIG,” Elkind says. “Naime and I have been in the business for more than 15 years and have brought our combined wisdom into both the studio and the classroom.”
DIG Yoga seeks to be a “yoga studio for everyone,” says Elkind. “I truly believe that the high caliber teachings and tools we offer at DIG are like a handbook to living a better life,” she adds. “Our goal is to share this wisdom and what we love to do with as many people as possible.”
In addition to a full schedule of regular classes, DIG offers a series of special events, ranging from a winter getaway in Costa Rica to special programming for families, teens and kids and relaxation. Classes also focus on meditation, breathing and other techniques to relieve stress.
Elkind is not resting quietly on her success. She has a list of project ideas that, as she says, is large enough to “last a lifetime.” Included are efforts to bring DIG classes online and provide educational clips for members. She is also thinking of additional international travel opportunities and launching an online course and year-long experience on optimal living, which would include explorations of yoga, nutrition and meditation to help “transform life patterns and create new healthy habits.”
“Yoga is more than just stretching or strengthening our bodies,” says Elkind. “It is about saying yes to life and making the choice to live in greater harmony with our own nature and all of Nature. For me, yoga became the bridge that connected my physical body and mental focus with the deeper yearning of my heart.”
DIG Yoga has locations at 204 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ, and 410 Monroe St., Philadelphia. For more information, call 609-460-4222 or visit DIGYoga.com.
Phil Gutis is a writer, editor and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at PhilGutis@gmail.com. November 2014.