We chat to Clare about yoga, her practice, and why she loves yin yoga.
Why did you get into yoga?
I’d never been anything close to sporty when I was growing up. But in my 20’s working in London, I found that yoga helped me feel less anxious and stressed. I felt happier after class and I stood taller too. My teacher mentioned an ashram in India and a month later I was there. A year later I returned to India to do a teacher training. On the course I was told, “Your life will never be the same again.” How true!
What does the word ‘practice’ mean to you?
Sometimes people call yoga a ‘practice’ and indeed, it takes a lot of practice – I’d say all your life!
You’re trying to live and practice at the same time. You’re being in this body and living with this mind.
Why do you practice?
For me it’s about noticing. Noticing tensions, patterns of thought, tightness in your glutes when attempting the yin pose shoelace. Since having a baby last year, practice is certainly more challenging. Not just finding time to get on my mat, but tiredness makes you more likely to revert to your natural way of being.
I’ve worked hard to be kinder, more compassionate and positive over the past ten years or so. But when you’ve been up half the night, it’s hard.
The guru of ashtanga yoga, Sri K Pattabhi Jois was fond of calling family life the seventh series of ashtanga yoga, the most challenging series of all. It’s so true.
What’s so great about yin yoga?
The thing I love about yin is that it’s for everyone. Your first ever yoga class can be yin and you’ll definitely get something out of it.
It’s an opportunity to rest and be still but that doesn’t mean it’s passive. You’re opening your body in a gentle way and you’re getting a good stretch too.
What’s your proudest yoga achievement?
I’m not sure ‘achievement’ is the right word as yoga’s about letting go of striving, but when I lived in London I taught a weekly private class to a group of hefty rugby boys.
They were training for their first Ironman triathlon and one of them was so tight in his body, he struggled to get anywhere near his toes. His wife had to tie his shoelaces for him. The class was very relaxed with lots of leg-pulling between the blokes. Teaching them was more like crowd-control but it was always fun.
Curious about yin yoga? Book onto Clare’s monthly workshop at the studio. It’s always on the first Saturday of the month.