Meet The Team : Claire Innes-Martin Yoga Teacher
What is your mission as a yoga instructor?
I don’t know if I have ever had an especially noble/grand mission as a yoga teacher. In fact, the term “teacher” has always brought up a little bit of resistance in me! Through my continual training and love of the practice, I see myself as being really well-equipped to share yoga with an incredibly-diverse community of people. My aim is, and always has been, to keep on doing that to the very best of my abilities. Yoga has provided me with many incredible gifts over several years, and I have so much passion for sharing it with others in the hope that I can help/invite them to explore the benefits of this practice.
What can people expect from your yoga classes?
My classes incorporate a dynamic, strong flow and varied with a sense of lightheartedness. Yoga asana definitely encompasses a physical spectrum, from soft to really challenging - but I try to approach all styles of practice with a sense of play. After all, if you aren’t able to enjoy yoga asana, I fail to see where it can improve your wellbeing!
My classes offer all yogis opportunities to really respond to the needs of their minds and bodies, knowing that those needs can be very changeable and hey – that’s OK! Offering ways to soften/support and different levels of physical challenge are crucial elements to the classes I lead. Furthermore, I like to use verbal guidance and gentle physical adjustment where needed, aiming to empower yogis to build personal knowledge of their practice and postures at every level of experience/ability.
What does your self care routine look like at the moment?
Like so many people, I can struggle to actually incorporate a structured approach to self-care. I am often flying around looking after others, working and dealing with a whole host of commitments. Following advice from a fellow yoga teaching pal, I recently took an honest look on how I practice yoga in a whole-life context (i.e. not based purely in physical practice) and it gave me a real wake up call. Since then, I’ve been working to make just a few minutes in my day to get really quiet, meditate or even just listen to some ambient music and focus on my breath.
Other ways in which I practise self-care involve just doing things I love, and surrounding myself with people who really radiate bodacious vibes. Sharing time with people who care for us is so powerful, and I have definitely been working to carve out more time to share experiences with loved ones lately.
What is your mantra?
“Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose”. It’s not so much a mantra as it is a Beetlejuice quote, but it’s usually quite fitting for my approach to life, practice and taking chances!
How has your yoga practiced change and developed over time?
For several years, I was very driven by what I perceived as physical development in my yoga practice. I would prioritise working towards peak postures, and could become quite consumed with trying to almost-exclusively practise really challenging yoga asana. As my years of yoga practice increase, I’ve seen a real change in my attitude and aims. Now I’m in a place where my physical yoga practice is truly varied, and I’m not using yoga to “fill any gaps” in my overall health and fitness routine because that’s just not what it’s there for! In expanding my horizons to approach other physical pursuits (gym, running etc) I’ve noticed a real desire to soften my yoga practice and work more in alignment with what is going to make my body and mind feel truly nourished and restored. And – now this is controversial – I’ve stopped giving a fig as to whether I ever manage to stand on my hands!
What’s your favourite yoga pose?
How can you ask me to pick just one?! Mean! I absolutely love backbends – so I have to say Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?
Try lots of different styles of practice, and a range of teachers if you can. This will allow you to explore what makes you tick, and the kinds of people you respond to positively. One of yoga’s many beauties (and challenging aspects!) is that, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned daily practitioner, there is always so much more to learn. We never reach this holy grail of yoga where we “know it all”. We’re all learners who experience moments of joy and feelings of failure, and the sooner you realise this, the less chance there is that you’ll feel the need to compare yourself to others.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not teaching/ practising yoga?
I am a lifelong lover of rock and metal music, and I absolutely love going to gigs. I’m also a big lover of horror cinema, so can regularly be found dragging my long-suffering husband to see spooky movies! I also love cooking, eating and drinking wine – and cuddling my pest of a Persian kitty, Zuzu. Last but most certainly not least, I am a soprano in a classical choir. Singing as part of a community is one of the greatest joys in my life, and I recommend it so highly!
You can practice with Claire on Friday mornings at 9am at Studio 70. Book a class with her!