#TeamRHY Yoga Teacher Interview: Clarissa Robertson

by Clarissa Robertson

What is your main tip for new trainees starting their teacher training?  

Be prepared to work hard!  It is important to understand that you are making the transition from practitioner to teacher, whilst forever remaining a student of Yoga.  Yoga is an amazing subject to study and to teach.  There is more information on the topic than any one person could ever learn, so be prepared to accept you will never know everything, but will know a little bit more tomorrow than you do today.

How has teaching affected your personal practice? 

Absolutely fundamentally.  The two play off each other continuously – when I am teaching, I am always thinking about how what I am describing feels when I do it in my own practise, and vice versa – when practising, I think about how a sequence might work in a particular class, or how I notice I feel a posture in a different place to usual, and that many of my students are likely to feel that too sometimes.

What would you say to someone who has never tried yoga before?

When I told my colleagues, predominantly male colleagues that is(!) that I had started taking Yoga classes, they all had the impression I was spending my time sitting cross legged in the corner gently dinging a cymbal.  The idea people have of Yoga used to be very much that it was for hippies and weirdos, but that has changed fast!  Most people now recognise that Yoga is a genuinely useful practise, both in terms of physical fitness, fostering strength as well as flexibility, and mental stability.  We all work very long hours and so it is important to get as much antidote for the stress our busy lives cause in as compact a time as possible.  An hour spent on a Yoga mat is a very worthwhile use of your time!

Where would a cool place to do yoga be?

On the International Space Station. Seriously, imagine what postures you could get into in zero gravity?

How would you describe your Teaching Style?

I include a lot of dialogue in my classes and I hope to teach my students not just how and what to do in class, but also why – which muscles are being used and how this will create flexibility and strength in a particular part of the body.  I enjoy teaching both high energy, high cardio hot classes just as much as more meditative, slow and deliberate Yin classes.

Which is your favourite/least favourite yoga pose?  What is a good tip you like to offer your students to help them get into this pose?

I don’t have a least favourite yoga posture.  All of the postures provide me with challenges and space for my mind and body.  If I need to pick one posture, I enjoy practising Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose.  It is one of the postures that is great for stretching your hip rotators including the piriformis muscle and it also allows a stretch into your shoulders and your chest.  The tip I would offer is always use props for this posture as your body slowly opens in the pose.  Bricks/blocks/blankets under your hips and a strap for your arms, even if you can touch your fingertips J

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