This yogi, Claudia Givings, reveals her beautiful journey to yoga.

1. How long have you been teaching?
I've been teaching yoga consistently for almost a year but I've been teaching movement for 11 years. 

2. What motivated you to teach and what have you learnt from teaching?
Donation based yoga came into my life when I desperately needed it. Because I was comfortable teaching and choreographing my own movement I thought I'd be good at teaching yoga too. I didn't have the funds to give a big donation so that seemed like a good way to pay it forward. 
I've learned about forgiveness, compassion, self care, my own strength and about how to practice and recognize that I encompass all of those things. Oh yeah and also body alignment in yoga poses. ;-)  Lol. 

3. How many times a week do you practice?
3-5 times a week

4. Who inspires your practice?
I inspire my own practice. I've spent a lot of my life comparing myself to others or doing for others without recognizing my own needs. The first time I remember feeling what it felt like to breathe was during a yoga class. That moment has inspired me to keep searching for what inside me motivates me too keep going. 

5. Why is it necessary to you to practice?
It's a practical way to practice self care. I love movement and have found that it fills my soul like no other. For a long time I wasn't in class because I couldn't afford it and because of my own negative experiences connected to pursuing dance. Yoga provided me with a safe place to move. I then learned about the importance of being aware of breath and experienced it actually centering me. It was pretty significant. Before that I had no concept of doing something healthy to take care of myself for myself. Any other pursuits of "getting better" were to fix relationships with other people or to find a relationship or to please someone else. Practicing yoga was one the first times I could feel the effects of me trying to take care of myself. 

6. What message do you like to spread through teaching? 
That the students are enough. That their experience is enough. That they don't have to change or fix to become better because what they're working with is already golden. That's been a pretty hard lesson for me to learn and I can't say I feel that towards myself all the time but it's something I know is true for us. So I'm hoping spreading that message helps the person who hears it. 

7. Where are you currently teaching? 
I teach at Yoga to the People. 

8. How does taking care of your family coincide with yoga?
My yoga peeps are my family. We're a community. So when I show up for class I show up for my family. These relationships have seeped into my life outside of yoga as well helping me find great support in times of need. I've found that it all works together. 

9. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?
I've had pretty bad depression for most of my life.  When I was in the throws of my depression it felt like I was being suffocated. During my first yoga class in NY I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a while. Because it felt like my breath was taken away from me for so long, having that moment were I had it back was pretty significant. It definitely didn't take my depression away but it helped in making me feel like it was ok - like the depression was a part of me, not all of me. I, for the most part, experience life in extremes. Yoga has shown me that middle ground providing ways to connect to myself and the present moment. I'm definitely not at a place where I am at peace all time but I now feel that that's ok. This journey I'm going through is enough.