yoga & mindfulness
My mindfulness practise enables me to recognise how ingrained the toxic elements of my music educational journey and teaching system were. It was filled with perfectionism, negative judgement, comparison syndrome and unhealthy competitiveness. There were a gazillion positives but many of us more 'sensitive creatives' don’t focus on those points. Out of a piece of 1000 notes all we can remember is the 3 notes we screwed up. Not the 997 notes that sang like angels. No matter what age we are comparison-itis is rampant whether it is in the classroom, the playground, the football pitch, the office, the concert stage, or online.
I cannot promise mindfulness will make scales any easier, make you more bendy, make your nerves disappear or make your vibrato sound like Pavarotti. It’s not a cure. It’s a tool. I like to call it my tool of awareness. When there is awareness then can come the next slow step of compassion. Compassion for ourselves and others and accepting that we are all doing the best we can with what we know.
Claire and I deeply value the gifts that this tool can offer both ourselves and all our students at the Munster Music Academy. It was sorely missing in my music and school education, but thankfully is now being introduced in wonderful progressive projects across the country. We realise the importance of supporting the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of our students and we commit to ensure it doesn’t skip another generation.
Claire supports our students through her regular Mindful Moments mini-videos on our Facebook page where she shares techniques and tools to help re-align their posture, support their body, and calm nerves that can arise from performance-related anxiety associated with concerts and exams. Claire's accessible videos benefit both our students and the wider music community.
Claire is a Functional Yoga teacher. The core of her approach is helping students to experience and recognise that every 'body' is different and responds uniquely to particular movement and postures. Specialising in Restorative, Slow Flow and Yin Yoga, Claire teaches with 'body awareness' - a key aspect of practising functionally and helping people to establish a better relationship to their body by 'listening to' and respecting what their body needs. She has a passion for human anatomy, the impact of habitual patterns on people’s bodies and everyday life, and how a functional practice can help people to develop more harmony between their bodies and daily activities. Mindfulness is woven into her practice, to help people cope with modern-day pressures, their resulting emotions, and to foster ‘inner-awareness’ - a better connection to the person within.
Claire grew up in Portugal, started learning music age 6. She played the flute with the Lisbon International Youth Orchestra until her early twenties. Her language studies took her into the world of corporate finance, where she turned to yoga to release stress and nurture her body, which was frequently hunched over a computer. Yoga soon became a passion, as it had a transformational and healing effect on Claire as she eventually became physically stronger and agile, and able to access a quieter space within. She turned her passion into her career and began teaching yoga in the UK and Portugal. Now in Ireland, Claire teaches in Killaloe Ballina and online, and writes on the topic of yoga and functional movement for her blog.
Claire is an artist, animal and nature-lover, tea-drinker, a self-awarded star at poaching eggs, and grew up tri-lingual in Portuguese, French and English.