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Claire headshot 415x332

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves ~ Dalai Lama

  • Oki-Do Yoga Teaching Certificate
  • Certified Shiatsu Practitioner
  • Diploma of Arts - Dance - Victorian College of the Arts
  • Graduate of the John Bolton Theatre School
  • Member of Yoga Australia (Level 2)

Claire Heywood has been a student of yoga since 1985, teaching yoga since 1996 and leading retreats since 2009. She created SunYoga in 2002.  Underpinning her teaching is her lifelong passion for working through the physical realm; an interest that ignited through dance as a child, led her to an early career as a dancer and performer, and continues currently with her ongoing yogic and movement studies.

As a non-traditionalist, her gentle Hatha Yoga classes are a combination of simple Hatha Yoga and other complementary practices that guide the student to slow down, listen in and develop awareness of the unique needs of their body, mind and heart. The content, a creative mix of moving, breathing, sounding and sitting, aims to facilitate a more truthful and friendly acceptance of who we are, so we may wholeheartedly embrace our path through life with greater ease and contentment.  Claire uses friendly humour and a splash of irreverence in class to help students to relax, soften and transform.

With laughter walls dissolve, creating space for something fresh to emerge.  

Read more about Claire's story in her November, 2014, e-news feature article, Life is a Creative Adventure.

Claire stretch cropped

Reflections on yoga and how it sits in our modern world:

Our busy lives are jam packed with activity.  Every waking moment is filled with doing, and we are required to be constantly available for communication and the relentless bombardment of information. We are driven to consume and achieve.  Our modern role models and idols are celebrities, sports stars and millionaires. In this culture of (for most of us) unachievable ideals we are too often left feeling empty and profoundly inadequate.

These beliefs and ideals even filter through to the yoga world, which is largely portrayed in the media by limiting images of young, flexible and beautiful female models.  Much of the yoga available is marketed to us primarily as a fitness regime with a bit of spiritual washing; yet another consumable tool to make us look good and stay young. The predominantly strong, physical, and fast paced yoga classes that are currently on offer can be quite exclusive, and sadly put many people off yoga altogether.

Yoga can be embraced and enjoyed by everybody; all ages, shapes and sizes. The physical elements of yoga are only part of the bigger yogic picture and they can be adapted to suit everyone.  Yoga postures are a step on the road towards opening into more subtle yoga practices. If our body is functioning well and not distracting us then we can work more deeply with the breath and the mind.

I see an important role of a general yoga class in today's fast paced world as being the antidote to the stresses of modern life and the pressure to achieve.  Let's go slow.  Let's not stress, strain and push.  Let's not impose preconceived ideas of who we are or what yoga should be.  Let's invite a genuine inquiry into what is and foster a loving, compassionate, inclusive and friendly approach to life.

For more of Claire's writing on life and all things yoga, go to Previous Feature Articles.

You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. ~Sharon Gannon