Featured Class - Therapeutics for Hips, Shoulders, and Backs
Featured Class – Therapeutics
January 6, 2020
Featured Class - Ashtanga
Featured Class – Ashtanga
March 9, 2020

Spending Time with Andrea Clarke

Spending Time with Andrea Clarke

Spending Time with Andrea Clarke

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

Spending Time with Andrea Clarke

Remember that song “I’m walking on Sunshine”? Those words are a perfect fit to describe how I feel when I look at Andrea. Beaming. She beams. I beam. There is whole lot of sunshine. She exudes both a radiance and an offer to connect that feels like a warm embrace.

Andrea shared with us that her practice off her mat is kindness, and that ‘the meaning behind the greeting Namaste, radiates into how I interact with humans in my daily life’. This is so evident when you meet Andrea. She shines. With a light step and a deep grounding presence she teaches an inspired class. You will feel lifted, lighter, brighter and more rooted.
Below are some inspiring and heart opening shares about both Andrea’s yoga world and personal world. Learn a little more about this bright Yogini and meet her on your mat Wednesday’s @ Kensington 12:00 pm (Warm Vinyasa Flow), Saturdays 8:00 am (Warm Yin/Yang). You can find her at Mission on Thursdays 7:15 pm (Yang/Yin)

When did you understand you wanted to become a yoga teacher?

During my university days in Nova Scotia, a friend and I founded a yoga club so that we could offer students (and ourselves) affordable and accessible yoga in order to deal with the stress and anxiety of school. We would rent a projector, gather in a common area, and play yoga videos on the wall. It was during this time, and the way that this practice allowed me to find balance amongst the chaos, that I knew yoga would forever be a huge part of my life. I knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher, so that I could share this practice without fumbling with laptops and projectors, especially when people would say, “why don’t you just teach?”. I dabbled with teaching during university, but always felt like an imposter prior to completing my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training.

Why do you teach yoga?

I teach yoga because it lights me up to connect with this amazing community. The energy that I feel in a room full of heart-centered people breathing and moving gives me tingles that is a resounding “YES” in my body. To be a witness to the power of this practice inspires me daily. Holding space for people to explore the inner landscape of Self is an honour that I don’t take lightly.

What obstacles has yoga helped you to overcome?

The most significant obstacle yoga has helped me to overcome is a troubled relationship with food and my body. Growing up, it was made clear to me that my body was wrong, too round, unhealthy, something to be fixed. I internalized this and committed my teenage years to “fixing” my body through disordered behaviours that society applauded, only to perpetuate a cycle of self-hate and not-enoughness. My interest in sports, nutrition, and a preoccupation with trying to shrink my body lead me to pursue the field of nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian. Yoga asana was present in my life throughout this time, but it wasn’t until I fully dove into the entirety of the practice that the healing truly began. The teachings of yoga allowed me to realize that I am so much more than this body. That this body is a safe place to call home. That it truly does not matter what this practice looks like on the outside. The practice transformed my relationship with my body as I healed my relationship with food as well. Yoga helped me to listen deeply to the voice inside that doesn’t use words. To quiet the judgement and self-criticism and turn it into compassion and acceptance. Yoga has shifted my perspective of what it means to have a body, and the impermanence that comes with that. Once I was able to make peace with my body, it created space for me to look inside and take steps to live more fully and turn my dreams into realities.

What advice would you give to your younger self? What words of wisdom would you impart?

You, just as you are, are enough.

What does life look like off your mat? Give us a glimpse of a typical day.

Oh my, it entirely depends what day of the week we are talking about. I would say the only thing typical is that I always start my day with is a homemade latte, with abstract latte art (usually a beautiful blob, but sometimes a surprising flower-like shape) and a sprinkle of cacao. Most weekdays I am talking with incredible humans about food, their relationship to their bodies, digestion, and fueling their lives so that they can feel free in their relationship with food. Through my private practice, Nourished Freedom, I am encouraging people to take food a little less seriously and to find ease with food. That, and some form of yoga, whether that be taking and/or teaching a class at Santosha, sitting in meditation, studying yoga philosophy, reciting mantras, or reading Hindu mythology.

How do you bring your practice off your mat into your daily life?

Kindness. The meaning behind the greeting Namaste, radiates into how I interact with humans in my daily life whether it be my clients, my boss, my roommate, friends, colleagues, strangers, my lover. The light in me honours and acknowledges the light in you. I believe that each person has a story, that every human is inherently good and that this life is so circumstantial in how we show up. My hope is that everybody can feel welcome to be their truest Selves on and off the mat.

Share with us your favorite quote, song, poem, saying, movie, sutra? Just choose one!

“Who are we not to shine?” Nelson Mandela (I love to drop this in while teaching locust or dancer’s pose, heart openers).

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

Vrksasana (tree pose). This pose is infinite. It is accessible to most and is a continuous process of exploration. Raise the arms, sway in the wind, take a side bend, find a mudra, look up, close the eyes. This pose always reminds me of one of my favourite quotes: “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” I sprained both of my ankles (separate occasions, same sport) in late 2018 and early 2019 and Vrksasana humbled me like no other. It softened me and brought so much compassion to the physical healing of my ankles, the deepest roots of this pose.

Any pre or post class rituals?

I always rub amber/shea butter on my neck, chest, and wrists prior to teaching and usually before practicing. It grounds me, brings awareness to any tension I might be holding in my neck and it’s a moment of self-care before holding space for my students. That, and a smile.

E: andrea@nourishedfreedom.com
IG: @apwclarke + @nourishedfreedomRD