As we gear up to reopen the yoga studios for classes, we’re celebrating the Yoga District community members who stepped forward to lead that transition and manage the studios with loving care. Meet Claire, the new manager of the Yoga District 14th Street Studio as she shares her yoga journey, her thoughts on inclusivity, and her experience being part of the Yoga District community!
How would you describe your journey into yoga?
My journey into yoga began in an effort to find a more peaceful way of relating to my body, quieting my mind and reconnecting to my spirit. I struggled heavily with opiate addiction for years, and even after getting sober I still wrestled with overwhelming anxiety and depression. The practice of yoga became a source of empowerment for me in early sobriety, allowing me to tap into both an internal strength and softness that I was unaware existed. Meditation, breathwork and asana practice became a daily ritual, the combination of which allowed me to return home to myself, to find a place of refuge within my own body and mind. Yoga continues to serve me as a powerful method for healing and nourishment.
Tell us about your background – where you’ve lived, how you spend your time.
I grew up in Northern Virginia and lived there for most of my life before moving to Los Angeles for several years. I returned to the DC area about a year ago to finish school. I currently study Environmental Science at George Mason University in addition to teaching yoga and managing the 14th street studio. I adore spending time in nature—whether that is hiking, cycling, rock-climbing, or just simply being; the forest, the mountains, the ocean are where I feel the most connected to myself.
How did you come to work with Yoga District/Activist?
I came to work with Yoga District because of my passion in helping others to heal, nourish, transform, and enliven themselves. I share in the YD/YA mission statement of making yoga more widely accessible, welcoming, and inclusive to all.
What do you like about managing at Yoga District so far?
I adore the staff at Yoga District! Despite originating from varied backgrounds and experiences, each of my team members is uniquely passionate about their role. Thus we all share this common drive to enhance the studio space and go above and beyond for students and each other.
What does inclusivity mean to you? / How do you connect with the Yoga District / Yoga Activist mission to offer inclusive yoga instruction accessible to all?
It is often those who could benefit most from yoga who are also the ones lacking access and availability to traditional studio settings within their communities, or who feel marginalized by these spaces. That’s what drew me to the Yoga Activist mission of offering inclusive yoga instruction, accessible to all. Yoga as a practice is meant to provide solace, free of discrimination.
I connect with the Yoga District/Yoga Activist intent that serving means to trust and to acknowledge the wholeness in another. Rather than attempt to “fix” or “save” others, inclusivity means to respond to that wholeness and collaborate with it. It means to recognize that there are no boundaries between us; all suffering is my suffering, and all joy is my joy.
What’s the best part of being a yogi?
The best part of being a yogi is continuously learning and playing, and being able to travel this endless path of self-discovery. And handstands!
What teaching has yoga led you to that you’d like to share with the community?
Abhyasa and Viaragya—practice and non-attachment—are two foundational principles on which the entire system of yoga rests.
Abhyasa means making persistent effort to consistently attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility, while vairagya involves learning to encounter, explore, and let go of – actively and systematically – the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false narratives clouding our true, beautiful, authentic selves!
Cultivation of these two companion concepts has allowed me to develop discriminative wisdom in recognizing which actions, speech and thoughts lead me towards a greater sense of stability and inner-peace, and which guide me away from a steady, tranquil state.
What are some things you love about the 14th Street neighborhood? Why did you choose to manage that particular Yoga District location?
I love the 14th street neighborhood for the constant sea of energy swirling through the streets. The shops and restaurants all seem to strive to create a community atmosphere that promotes diversity and character. I also live less than two blocks from the studio, which has made it feel like a second home to me. 🙂
Claire teaches a Flow Yoga 2-3 live-streaming class on Thursdays from 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Sign up here!