Teacher Spotlight: Clare Kelley


Teacher Spotlight - Clare Kelley!

We love everything Clare brings to Flow! Her passion for experimentation, knowledge, and experience is palpable and contagious. Thanks for your dedication to your craft - you are one of a kind! <3

What inspires you to practice at Flow?

The community. When I look at my life, I'm astonished by the richness and support of the amazing people around us.

What is your current practice like?

Innovation. I went through a traumatic brain injury from an environmental poisoning, which turned me into what's known as neuroatypical -- my brain works fundamentally different from most people. Going through neurocognitive rehab opened a flood of learning that the mind-body connection is very literal. So I include a lot of somatic work and things that challenge my brain and body to adapt to new movement patterns.

What is a typical day like for you, and how does practice fit into your daily routine?

Ha! I don't have typical days; they vary radically from day to day. This is what today looked like: I woke up at 5:45 to meditate before I taught a 7 AM class. I came home and had private clients. Sometimes I see clients from my home studio, sometimes at a studio, and lots of time out in the woods -- I'm also a forest therapy guide and a health and wellness educator. I worked on my side project -- creating a massive coalition between several federal agencies, medical groups, non-profits, community organizations, researchers, and policymakers to make nature therapy a regular part of the public health system prescribed by doctors. (You know you live in DC when that's your side project ;) ). I filmed a video for the social media project I'm working on for progressive movement education. Tonight I'll teach another class and then try to sneak over to Mimi's class. Then I'll go home and paint watercolors with my cats. I hope I'm making teaching look as incredibly unglamorous as it is. Don't let the cat leggings fool you.

I fit practice wherever I can. What's most important to me is that throughout the day, I'm moving, never static for very long. I sit on the floor and don't use my hands to get up, which gets my legs strong. Try a no-hands day sometime -- it's illuminating. I have yoga/fitness props all over my apartment so I can play with new moves when they pop in my head. I When I need a break from work, I go do some pull-ups or flip upside down on my hanging bar. I walk everywhere. I love using my body as a laboratory.

As important to me as my yoga practice is my nature connection practice -- which is just another form of yoga, union. Every day I sit with nature for at least 20 minutes, just soaking in the sensory experience of this world that reminds me I belong to it.

What are some of your favorite things to do/places to go, pre- and post practice?

I have a TreeFF in Dumbarton Oaks Parks Conservancy, the woods in Georgetown that connect to Rock Creek. It's my happy place. Sometimes I'll go and sit on the roots of the big tulip tree in Logan Circle. I know I should put something here about mindful eating and smickety smackety, but a lot of times I dash into CVS to snag a Larabar to get some blood sugar. Meh, we can't all be perfect wellness fairies all the time.

Who are some of your most influential teachers?

That list would go on forever! My primary teacher is Greg Marzullo, whom I apprentice with -- we talk a few times a month. He's has taught me nothing about asana and everything about yoga. Other influential teachers in no particular order: Trina Altman, Jenni Rawlings, Carol Collins, Alicia Moyer, Caroline Weaver, Christina Sell, Ariele Foster, Cory Bryan, Tim Feldman, Krista Shirley, Kevin Waldorf-Cruz, Mariska Breland -- there's so many more. What makes me an educator is that I'm a voracious learner.

What is something the Flow community may not know about you?

I moved to DC to work in the photo archives of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Oh, and I spent a big chunk of my childhood in Ireland, which is why sometimes I have a bit of an accent.