& BREATHE YOGA
Name and company: &Breathe Yoga
Website : www.andbreatheyoga.com
Where are you based? : London
ND : Hi, Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Clare; a London based Yoga teacher and the creator of & Breathe Yoga.
You juggle a fair few job roles, how do you manage to keep each one in check & what inspired you to start your yoga teacher training?
Doing a Yoga teacher training was actually something I’d secretly wanted to do sinceI left Uni, 5 years ago. I didn’t tell anyone or do anything about it because I just couldn’t imagine people taking it very seriously; it seemed like a scary thing to even consider. So I left Uni, got a full time job in a marketing agency and kept my idea firmly tucked away.
Then in December 2013, out of nowhere my big brother Chris was hit by a car on his way home from his Christmas party and died instantly. At that point my whole life was changed forever. Dealing with the death of someone you love so much is like nothing else. Experiencing such deep sadness and pain however made all the fears I’d had previously just dissolve. None of them came close to how I felt about losing my brother. This was actually a very powerful thing; in the aftermath of Chris’ death I became determined to never settle because I was scared of the unknown. No more excuses, I had to make a life and career for myself that I wanted. Free of fear and doubt.
Making it to my mat after Chris’ death gave me hope and helped me keep moving towards good. I didn’t just want it to be something I did on the side, I wanted it to be a bigger part of my life. Doing my teacher training meant that I’d be able to make something I loved, a career. When you become a Yoga teacher you become a life long student, there is always more to learn and discover. Always having more to learn in a subject area that I loved felt like heaven to me. This was my way of pushing fear aside to move towards good. So I’d say it was Chris that inspired me to take the plunge.
ND : What do the first two hours of your day look like, do you have any rituals?
I’m an early bird but I often teach first thing in the morning anyway so I’m up by 6am. I have enough time to shower quickly before heading out the door to get to class for 7.15am. I love walking and go pretty much everywhere on foot. Even if I have to leave earlier I’d much rather walk and avoid public transport, especially in the morning.
On the days I don’t have to head out to teach straight away I’ll roll out of bed and roll onto my mat to stretch out. Sometimes this ends up being Childs Pose for 10mins and nothing else, and other times it’s a longer more dynamic practice, I just follow my body and try not to force anything.
ND : What do you think has been the toughest decision you have had to make recently?
When you start a business you obviously want it to grow but it’s important for me to grow in the right direction. Sometimes opportunities come along that would be great in a financial sense but if they don’t align with my ideas of what Yoga is then, to be authentic to myself and my principles, I’ve had to pass them up.
What I do can’t just be about making money. It’s more complicated and being authentic to my Yoga is really important to me. But then I do also need to earn enough money to get by and so when you’re starting out, turning down opportunities to make money always is difficult! I’ve discovered that sometimes you need to make sacrifices in order to stand up for what you believe in.
Someone that I really look up to said to me that if something doesn’t feel right in your gut don’t be afraid to say no and that by pushing things away that aren’t right you’re actually clearing blockages that in turn open up new doors for better things. I know that sound like such a whimsical thing to say but I really believe it. Good job I don’t work in Finance!
ND : Where are your favourite places to be in the world and why?
My childhood holiday destination will always hold a special place in my heart. Every year my family would trek, by car to a very small coastal village in County Kerry, Southern Ireland called Ballyheigue. It’s such a special place to me and almost feels sacred. It holds so many precious memories of my childhood, especially with my brother and sister. Ballyheigue watched us grow from babies to teenagers and knows so many secrets and has witnessed so many happy times. I feel a strong tie to Ireland in general as my Grandad is Irish and it’s such a beautiful and peaceful place. Everything is so much calmer and more chilled. That used to drive me a bit mad but now I can appreciate it.
I went on a day trip to the Croatian Island of Kolopcep last summer. With no cars or motorbikes, and a population of about 100 it’s the closest I’ve been to paradise. As soon as I stepped off the boat I felt a wave of tranquility just wash over me. I remember thinking this would be the perfect place to recharge and revive.
As much as I love to explore new destinations I also love just being in London. There’s always more to discover, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of being here. Pottering around my flat, in London doing not much gives me an extraordinary amount of happiness.
ND : As London Nomad with lots of places to be what essentials do you always have in your bag just in case?
I’ve usually got a pair of leggings in my bag in case I get asked to cover a class at short notice. It also means I can head to an impromptu class myself if I fancy while I’m out and about.
I always have an emergency stash of nuts; I’m so bad at being hungry so I always like to have something with me in case I start edging towards hangry.
Then I’ll always have a notepad because my best ideas come when I walking places, and I’ll never leave the house without a bright pink mac lipstick. Even if I’m just in my Yoga gear, wearing bright lipstick gives me a lot of joy.
ND : What do you think is your biggest achievement so far?
I’d say overcoming the fears I had around leaving employed work and starting my own business. It’s been such a liberating transition and I’m so glad I managed to make the leap because it was such a huge thing for me. I’ve always craved feeling happy about the job I was doing. I remember always putting off doing other things because I wanted to focus on building something that would make my days happier.
Doing my own thing always felt like the ultimate success to me. When you’re your own boss you only have yourself to answer to and you get to invest hard work in your own dream. It’s also given me the opportunity to find greater balance.
ND : If someone came to you to ask for advice about running a business like yours what advice would you give them?
I’d say get experience in the industry that you’re going into. In between qualifying and leaving my full time job I started working at a Yoga and Ayurveda centre called Samsara Mind and Body and it was the best thing I did. I met some incredible people who have given me, and continue to give me great advice and support. I began to understand more about the business of Yoga and the types of people interested in doing it, which has all been invaluable to me.
The other major thing is that I built lasting relationships with other teachers and people working in the Yoga world. I don’t mean business/networking relationships, but lasting friendships. I was able to create a reciprocal support network of like-minded people who are really important to me.
Even though Yoga is a big business I’d say that it works very differently to other industries and so getting to know it before I started out, as a teacher has really been a huge asset to me.
ND : Lastly, how lucky are you and why?
That’s an easy one. I’d say I was very lucky. I have people who love me and people I love. I have choices, opportunities, and compared to so many people I live very comfortably, with a home to go to and no worries about being warm and fed. I think it all comes down to how you look at things. In a number of ways I have been unlucky and focusing on these things could make me feel like an unlucky person, but the things that make me extremely lucky heavily out way the unlucky stuff.
6.45pm Vinyasa Flow Open Level @ St Luke's Community Centre (nr Old Street)
10.45am Vinyasa Flow Open Level @ Samsara Mind & Body, Wandsworth
She is also available for Private Tuition & Office Yoga.
Get in touch for further information.