A long journey with many stops led Suki Dickson-Buchalter to her position as one of St. John’s better known yoga teachers and massage therapists.
“Bring oxygen in on an inhale, exhale and send oxygen to every organ,” she said, discussing a principal she applies to both yoga and massage.
With years of experience in both fields, she has lots of information to share. However, it all comes down to one thing.
“Breathing,” she said.
She’s studied Shiatsu and Reiki massage, and took classes when they were offered in the Virgin Islands. She studied yoga with such people as Amrit Desai, Don Stapleton and the team of Patricia Schneider and Andrew Johnson.
Dickson-Buchalter, 58, has done yoga and massage at Maho Bay Camps and its sister property, Estate Concordia Preserve, for many years. She started doing massage at Maho in 1997 but soon realized there was no one to teach yoga, so she took on that job. While guests at Maho and Concordia keep her busy, she has plenty of space for anyone who’d like to join her Hatha yoga classes or wants a private lesson.
She’s now joined in her yoga practice by her daughter, Jessa Buchalter, 27, who learned yoga’s ins and outs with her mother.
Growing up on a farm in Lexington, Ohio, Dickson-Buchalter grew up with an outdoors lifestyle. She got a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ohio University, but several internships and jobs in the social work field convinced her to expand her horizons.
Initially, she traveled the country selling her hand-crafted jewelry, but sailing beckoned. She sailed to the Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Gulf of Mexico before 1978, when she hopped a plane to St. Croix because that’s where a high school classmate lived.
Dickson-Buchalter sold jewelry in a Christiansted shop before making the move to St. Thomas. She sold her jewelry along the Charlotte Amalie waterfront, bought a boat to live on and met her husband, Bucky Buchalter.
The two started building their St. John home in 1984, but by this time Dickson-Buchalter was well on her way to her yoga and massage practice. They are an integral part of her life, and she said she cured herself of chronic bladder infections with foot massage.
Her children – Jessa, Dillon, 24, and Sage, 20 – were born at home, and she uses her skills to help others do the same.
“I helped deliver my granddaughter,” she said, speaking of Jessa Buchalter’s daughter Coral, now 2.
Dickson-Buchalter’s house is filled with music and dance as well as the cackle of the chickens she’s raising in her yard. She’s a busy woman, but she still likes to sail, make jewelry, and enjoy Unitarian Universalist services. She serves as it program chairman and helped write its green booklet, “Smart Guide to Island Housekeeping.”
And she gets up early to meditate.
“It’s quiet," she said.
Further information can be obtaied online at www.crystalblueyoga.com or by calling Dickson-Buchalter at 642-3739.