Susana Hayman-Chaffey

Founder of Elan Vita

Susana was born in England and left to travel the world with her parents when she was 9 months old.

Her travels have been fundamental to her understanding of the complex human spirit of people from a multitude of  diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Her training as a dancer from when she was ten years old, at the Royal Ballet School in England, has given her the discipline to demand the most of herself.

She joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1968 at the age of twenty and travelled the United States and the world with the company for eight years. She then became the Cunningham Studio Dance Education Coordinator, and taught technique and repertory classes at the Studio as well as in Europe and Japan. She has taught semesters or quarters at The University of South Florida, Tampa, Washington University in St. Luis, American University in Washington D.C, and most recently in 2012 U.C.L.A. World Arts and Culture. She was the first recipient of a Cunningham Fellowship Grant in 2112.

In 1987 her parents passed away in a car accident and the devastating shock took her on a journey of discovery into herself through many different techniques. She went to body centering therapy, yoga classes, breathing and meditating classes and read everything that she could find on spiritual learning/healing. Over a year period she wrote six prose poetry books and gave live reading performances at her loft in New York. She started learning Qigong in Italy in 1993. To further her studies into Qigong Susana travelled to Beijing to study with Master Wan Su Jian Doctor and Director of the Chinese Taoist Medical GiGong Bagua Xundao and Red Cross traditional medical exchange in Beijing, China. As part of a Qigong study trip organized by Francisco Garripoli. From this research, that took two years to perfect, she created the Elan Vita system.

It has been a revelation to see how positive an effect it has on people. The exercises are set up in such a way that the student is effortlessly led to discover himself and become empowered to take charge of his or her well-being. Susana serves as the catalyst, gently guiding the student in this wonderful discovery of the human potential in every person.

She has been teaching since she was nineteen years old as part of her dance training. It has been a lifelong passion, devoted to passing on to others all that she has learned from many extraordinary teachers along the way.

Her curiosity has led her to do many things apart from her dance career. She formed a catering company in New York for four years to finance an architectural project, a center for experimental art works and has written six prose poetry books. Her clients included Channel 13 Educational Television station, Phillip Johnson Architects, Simon and Schuster and several private clients.

She has lectured and taught her Elan Vita workshops/retreats, in New York, Paris, Rome, Tuscany, Barcelona, Evian, London, Mexico and Tokyo, Utrecht and Saint Pierre Quiberon.

In January 2013 she published her first book called Love, Please: a memoir of Destiny, Loss and Healing.

In April 2013 she was interviewed on NBC’s nightly news program on her
recently published book.

She lives between Los Angeles and Italy, lecturing and teaching her Elan Vita workshops. She also leads week long wellness retreats to Tuscany and Puglia, twice a year.