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For Sonia, my shiatsu and meditation teacher, whose teaching was the initial inspiration for my work and who continues to inspire it, even in her passing from this life.

honouring sonia

“Walk on, my love, walk on free from fear.
Dance Sonia, dance, you are free.”
Ad (Sonia’s partner)

Today Tuesday 30th July marks the end of the 49 days vigil for Sonia Moriceau. In Buddhist teachings this signifies the end of the Intermediate State when Rebirth takes place. There will be a day of remembrance at the Orchard on 10th November. This would have been her 60th birthday.

Sonia passed away on 11th June and since this time there have been various vigils at the Orchard, where she lived and worked since 1985.

I first met her in 1984 when she was teaching her unique approach to shiatsu, “Healing Shiatsu”  in Bristol and was fortunate to study with her while she developed this further through moving to the Orchard and being able to offer residential courses. She integrated shiatsu with her meditation teachings: Satipatthana, the Way of Mindfulness, a traditional Buddhist meditation training also described as Skilful Means.

The next Shiatsu Society UK journal will remember Sonia and there was also an obituary in The Guardian of Saturday 20th July, in “Other Lives”.  A briefer article about Sonia went on the website last Wednesday.   The link is:

There will also be piece about Sonia in the BBC’S Radio-4 Last Word Friday 2nd August at 4pm with a repeat on Sunday 4th at 8.30pm. This is based on an interview with Sonia’s husband Ad Brugman and her student/carer Jane Sethi.

Sonia lived what she taught, even to the moment of her death. She was due to teach a retreat from 13th -18th June “Preparing for death – leaving fear behind” .  This retreat was filled with a vigil of six days from her passing to the time of the cremation June 17th. People came to The Orchard, sitting in the Zendo with Sonia, meditating, praying and saying their own goodbyes. There were innumerable sharings of how profound this experience was and of how Sonia’s teaching of the Dharma was present everywhere.

Unable to come to The Orchard, many, many others connected to the vigil from where they were.

Thank you dear Sonia for all you have shared and continued to share with us.

You are well. You are happy. You are free from fear. As always.


  1. daniele Labat on 19/10/2020 at 8:33 am

    I was very moved to know the Sonia’s death. I was her school friend when she is in Mamers, the small town when she lived when she is young. I played with her in table tennis all our youth. We spent a lot of time together to speak and play with our brothers and the dog Gitane. Now i practice Qi Gong and meditation and very often I thougth about her. I would like to meet her…..It’s to late for that. and I ‘m very sad. Love sonia. Dany

    • suzanneyates on 08/11/2020 at 4:38 pm

      Dear Daniele. How beautiful to hear from someone who played table tennis with Sonia. She often spoke of those days. It is so wonderful that you practice Qi Gong and meditation. Sonia was, and still is, such a big part of my life. I am so sorry that you didn’t get to meet her but I hope my post helped connect you with her in some way. Suzanne

  2. epilepsymeandneurology on 30/07/2013 at 7:06 pm

    I am very sorry to hear that, I have never met Sonja, but through my Shiatsu practitioner/ mentor/ teacher she has had a very positive beneficial effect on my health, because it was her who taught my practitioner.

    • suzanneyates on 30/07/2013 at 8:15 pm

      Who is your practitioner? I wonder if know them. Yes Sonia’s work is still very much alive. Thank you for sharing your experience

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