Claire Missingham : The Ultimate Yogi





Dear Wild Free Innocent followers, today I wanted to share with you an interview I recently did with a very special person that has made a huge difference in my life !

I first met Claire Missingham at KX Gym during one of her weekly yoga classes and I was immediately drawn to her dynamic and challenging method combined with her calming and spiritual self. Claire opened my eyes to what is the true essence of yoga and has made a huge impact on my practice so much so that I now religiously follow Claire's classes even when I am abroad thanks to a great and easy to use app called Yoga Glo ( where you can find a huge variety of easy to advanced classes taught by Claire and other fantastic yoga teachers.

If you are looking at getting into yoga or are looking to further develop your practice , I highly recommend you to join one of Claire's classes to truly appreciate and understand the benefits of yoga. Her classes are dynamic and flowing providing you therefore with a fantastic detoxifying workout and at the same time also very spiritual as they always incorporate music and yogic philosophy.  Claire really has this incredible ability to create space for her students to engage in a playful and spiritual practice whilst toning and sculpting your body at the same time.


Here is a little background on Claire and her teaching followed by our Wild Free Innocent interview...enjoy !

For the past 17 years, senior teacher Claire Missingham has lead inspirational yoga classes, talks, trainings, retreats and events worldwide. Her teaching emphasis is on postural alignment, yogic philosophy and the integration of yoga principles into daily life, and she is passionate about promoting health, vitality and wellbeing through yoga. The Claire Missingham Teacher Training school has over 150 200-hour graduates of the highest calibre in Europe. Claire has taught at triyoga in London for the past 13 years.
Claire began yoga with Ruth White, an Iyengar yoga teacher, and still trains in Iyengar alignment with Lisa Walford in Los Angeles. She is also a certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher,  having taken her first class at Jivamukti Yoga in NYC in 1997, then certified in 2005.
Claire self-practise includes the Ashtanga Vinyasa method regularly – she studied in Mysore, India in 2001, first to study with Sri K Pattabhi Jois (until 2009) and then with Sharath Ramaswamy, her last trip to Mysore was in 2012. Since 2000, Claire has aimed to create her own detailed, inspirational and methodical approach to Vinyasa Flow Yoga – where she builds specific methods of creating krama (sequencing) and alignment, then layering music, yogic philosophy and real-life stories.
For many years, Claire has been the UK’s top Vinyasa teacher, inspiring many well-known teachers – and continues to build on this extensive research into the body, breath and spirit. Spiritually, Claire honours the Ramakrishna lineage and Tantric Philosophy, and worships goddess Ma Kali, as well as an in depth daily puja, chant and kriya practice.


How did you get into yoga ?


Growing up my Dad was a very devout Sufi. My parents were 1960’s hippies and lived in Morocco with their teacher. My Dad used to buy Moroccan rugs and drive them in his VW Beetle van home through Spain then had a stall on Portobello Road selling the rugs and other items. I grew up in a small seaside town in the south of England - my name as a chid was Habiba. I changed it to Claire when I was 10 to fit in with friends. My Dad is a poet - and I remember him doing his spiritual practice about 7 times a day. I guess all this rubbed off on me but it was yoga specifically that sang to me as a spiritual practice. I took my first yoga class in New York in the mid-90’s and loved it immediately. 

What does yoga mean to you ? 


Well yoga is a Sanskrit word and means Union (with the Divine). So for me ‘yoga’ is my whole lifestyle - my thoughts, words, and actions. It’s everything. I cannot separate myself from being a yogin and just being. It’s who I am. The thing yoga teaches us is how to act, react or cease impulses, whether they’re positive or negative. A lot of what yoga is teaches us is how to restrain the continual turnings of the mind. It’s like a lifestyle guide for the right now. It teaches us how to be disciplined with ourselves and see things as they really are. To live with non- comparison and not place our self worth on the opinions of others. It helps us find a balance within ourselves, and that’s what I try to get across in all my work.


Can you talk us through your vinyasa flow method ?


When we establish a conscious intention and teach ourselves how to remain aligned with that intention, no matter how much we are dissuaded or distracted by the external world, the process unfolds as it should. Vinyasa is the element that sews together the various moments in a sequence of changes. It is like the string on which pearls are strung for a necklace. The linking strand may be of two types: conscious or unconscious. Change is always occurring, but usually a sequence of changes is linked by unconsciousness; in other words, the conscious mind fails to perceive it. When one perceives clearly both the instigation and the outcome of moment-to-moment changes, one can choose to undertake a sequence of actions that has a conscious end point and will have a particular effect. When you practice a sequence of asanas, you link them with conscious breathing. The real vinyasa, or link, however, is the intention with which you practice asanas. It is the intention that links the postures with consciousness instead of unconsciousness. The concept of vinyasa can also be applied to our everyday life, whether it is as simple as deciding what to make for dinner or as daunting as deciding on a new career--and then taking the necessary steps toward achieving that goal.

Can you recommend any good reading material for those who wish to learn more about the philosophy behind yoga ?


The Gospel of RamaKrishna, Inner Tantric Yoga by David Frawley, The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar, The Yoga Sutras by Swami Satchitananda. The list is endless! I always say money spent on books is never wasted money. I still am researching, reading, planning, learning all the time from my yoga books, and I love my yoga book library at home. I pull out a book every morning and read a verse for inspiration. This is swadyaya: which is the action of self study, one of the limbs of yoga. Self-study really is the place where you realise there’s always something more to be learned in yoga. The beauty is that when you commit to Swadhyaya, you learn how to look after yourself and everything that sustains you on a daily basis. It is a form of self-care and nourishment. You learn about your spiritual life and on a deeper level, you begin to learn what your true beliefs, and what your true ethics are.  I recommend daily reading of the yoga scriptures and books. Also learning about complementary areas of your life, such as what you eat, nutrition, herbs and essential oils. Learning how to cook and nourish yourself is also a form of yoga sadhana. Journalling,writing and prayer also form my meditation practice. Having a sacred space with which to practice is important as well.  Even if you have a very small space in your house, or even one corner of your room, have a puja or just a tiny table with three of things that are very spiritual or meaningful for you. These are areas of wellbeing that enhance our connection with our spiritual self.


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