Your Yoga Teacher

Claire is a certified Women’s Health Coach offering women of all ages access to life-changing natural solutions for PMS, pain, fertility, menopause, IBS, thyroid disease and more.

Claire is a registered teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals UK and US. This accreditation demonstrates excellent standards as set by Yoga Alliance Professionals UK:

YA-Badge-Associate2-blue

US:
RYT500

Claire has served as Green Prescription adviser for Sport Taranaki, Chronic Disease Exercise Consultant at City Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle Advisor for Pathways Health NZ , Yoga for Health Consultant at Yogasync, Yoga Teacher at Sivananda Yoga NZ.

Hi!  My name is Claire-Bhavani!

Claire-Bhavani in Half Moon Pose
Claire-Bhavani in Half Moon Pose
In Sunny New Zealand
In Sunny New Zealand

My parents gave me the name Claire, and my Yoga Swami gave me the name Bhavani.  You can use either!

I have been a qualified yoga teacher since 2011 when I studied with Swami Shantimurti Saraswati, Swami Atmalokananda Saraswati and Devananda at their centre in New Zealand.  The style is called Intuitive Yoga, and derives from (but does not claim to be) the Satyananda tradition.  Learn more here.

In 2012 I studied with Swami Bhagavatananda, Swami Kailisananda (a Yoga Acharya and director of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in England and France and the Pacific Rim) and Swami Gopalananda whilst they were in Australia.  These teachings are from the Sivananda tradition.

In 2013 I completed the advanced teacher training of Intuitive Yoga, back in New Zealand.

I have never been to India and cannot wrap my knees around the back of my head.  I do however like to make those strange yoga noises like “Aummmmmmmmmm”.  Find out more about Aum here.   I practice yoga every day – sometimes I do lots of poses, other days chanting, and still others I lie down and guide myself through a relaxation.   The beauty of yoga at The Sistahood, is you get to learn which facet of yoga is best for your stage of life, your health status, and where you are in your Sista-Cycle (aka menstrual cycle/period).

Bhavani is a Goddess riding her trusted lion.  Bhavani is the positive vibration of the Universe and nurturer of women.  She is ferocious yet merciful, has at least EIGHT arms, most of which hold a weapon.  If she cannot strike a demon down with her positive vibes, then she will not hesitate to strike it down with a weapon (or 7!). As you can tell, Bhavani fiercely protects her fellow women.  When a Swami gives you a ‘yoga’ name, it holds qualities for you to aspire to (so no I don’t have a lion or eight arms….yet…..perhaps a little more yoga and I will?!)

Goddess Bhavani – Positive Light of The Universe
A cosmic interpretation of Bhavani

Most of my teaching experience comes from sharing yoga at the popular Sivananda Yoga Centre, New Zealand, and teaching in hired studios in the beautiful coastal and volcanic town of New Plymouth, New Zealand. Here I was able to teach all styles of yoga that I am familiar with.

Breathtaking Mount Taranaki with it’s snow capped peak! I walked to the top twice – you can scree-ski back down!

One major boost to my teaching skills has been from my involvement with the on-line member sites yoga.org.nz and www.yogasync.tv, beginning in 2013. It was here that I deepened my awareness and appreciation of Systemic Intelligence Yoga!  The yoga pose videos on this site, and most of The Sistahood’s private members area yoga was created with Yogasync.  This style of yoga was created with all levels in mind, and makes use of correct body alignment techniques and sometimes props, to make sure every Sista (and Brotha!) gets what they need, safely.

My first yoga class was in my 20’s and I didnt like it.  It was too slow.  I now know that this was a Chillaxing Yoga Class, and that there are infinite styles of yoga and teacher. Had I been to a more Dynamic Class, I might have carried on.  My lesson to you; try more styles if the first one doesn’t gel!

About 8 years later I went to another class, just to have a stretch.  It was quite physically demanding, though being a Personal Trainer at the time, I breezed through the movement part.  When it got to breathing parts (Pranayama – which you can learn here), I cracked up laughing!! I was peeking out from under my closed eye-lids wondering if anyone was taking this seriously or had snot flying from their nose!  They were all sitting eyes-shut, peacefully, and I was seriously surprised!  Now I wouldn’t be without my ‘alternate nostril breathing’ or ‘nine-count breath’, as I know how calming they are for the nervous system, mind and hormone balancing.

Going back even further now, I got into mindfulness and ‘watching the mind’ when I was only in my teens.  I had some (typical?) issues with anxiety and a feeling of not-fitting-in and not-looking-right.  I didn’t find the professionals very much help, but then I got my hands on a book about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and that started to make me aware of how thoughts shape our experience of life.  Soon after I got into deep breathing and meditation.  By the time I got to a real  yoga mat, I felt like I had been doing yoga for years anyway!  Yoga is vast, and many people find they are already doing something that is included in yoga – whether it be stretching, planking or spontaneous dance!

I meditate every day and have learnt a myriad of styles over the years.  Meditation doesn’t have to be hard, or take up much time, but it does deliver on its benefits – calm mind, soothed brain.  In my classes that include meditation, you sample simple techniques  – some people like to try a few ways, before meeting one that their mind is happy to be with!

As Swami said:

When you start doing yoga, life takes on a certain flavour of amazing!