Clare, London

Clare is a yoga teacher and founder of &breatheyoga”.

What makes you happy? 

Being in my flat, wandering around London on a sunny day, coffee, having my cushions arranged on my bed in just the right way, doing Yoga, eating food, being grateful for all the good things that I have.

Is there something that you spent a long time believing you couldn’t do…. only to try it and realise that you can actually could do it? What made you try it? 

Yes. Deep down I’ve always wanted be my own boss and start my own business. I saw people who had taken the step to start their own thing as braver than me. 

A shift in perspective and massive kick up the bum 2 years ago pushed me towards believing that maybe I was capable of taking the step towards being self employed and I haven’t looked back since.

Fear is a very sneaky thing. It latches onto your insecurities and convinces you that the worse eventualities will be realised. So often fear is an irrational imposter, it needs to be fought against and stood up to. Once you begin to show fear who is boss it’s power weakens and you become less at the hands of it. Overcoming fear is a hugely empowering process.

If you were taking yourself on a date, what would you arrange for yourself?

I’m doing ‘The Artist Way’ at the moment. It’s a 12-week course that you do on your own to unlock creativity and uncover your inner artist. Every week you have to go on an artist date so I’ve been thinking of date ideas. One of my favourite things to do is to go to a café and read with a coffee. It sounds so unexciting but I’m awful at siting down at home with a book because I’ll see something in the corner of my eye that needs to be cleaned etc. and it really distracts me. I know, total loser. So all the stuff I want to read gets stacked up and I don’t get round to reading it. Being in a third space allows me to give something my full attention and that’s the perfect date to me.

What’s one thing you do regularly in order to look after yourself?

I go to Yoga, a lot. Yoga keeps me happy without a doubt. I go to class most days and also practise at home. I’ll never get over the magic of how focusing on your breath and moving mindfully can transform the way you feel. It’s incredible and it’s a very important part of my life and self-care routine.

Share one thing that used to make you really anxious, that you no longer worry about.

I used to be really wary of expressing how I felt, emotionally, for fear of being judged for being too deep or too thoughtful. I was paranoid about other people thinking things like ‘god does she really think people care about what she thinks about life’. Now, that concern about how I’m perceived has totally diminished. 

I don’t mean I voice my opinion at every opportunity, telling every stranger I pass about my current state of mind. It’s more that if I want to write a post on my instagram about how I feel about something I’ll do it because it’s a form of expression and to be able to express yourself in one way of another is fundamental to being human. Of course I keep things to myself but if I want to express my emotions I’m not longer plagued by paranoia of how it will be received.

Time is precious. What do you dedicate yours to?

Time is definitely precious and I think the best way to spend it is in the present. So much time is wasted on living in the past or the future that the present moment stops existing. I try and spend my time living day-to-day. Noticing things around me, being fully present with other people when I’m in their company and not letting things that might or might not happen in the future stop me living today.

Give your 18 year old self one piece of advice.

Not to give too much power to fear and don’t let other people convince you of what you can do and what you can’t!

How will you grow old, gracefully or disgracefully?

100% gracefully. Growing old used to feel like a decline but it’s an assent. Growing old is a privilege that not everyone is granted and moaning about getting older is disrespectful to all the people who we’re denied the chance to do so. Being young has it’s pros but the knowledge and wisdom that comes from experience should be celebrated and looked forward to.

What do you hope people say about you when you eventually leave this mortal coil?

That they could rely on me and that they knew I loved them.

How did answering these questions make you feel?

Thoughtful, and that I’ve come a long way in the last few years with regards to how I see things, what happiness is and how it can be achieved.

Check out more happiness including workshops, talks, podcasts and care packages at www.happyhumanbean.com