Central MA Up + Comer: Yoga Instructor Claire Koepke
Thursday, January 30, 2014
A Conversation with Claire Koepke
SW: You are successfully building a career while attending Clark University. How are you doing with all of that?
CK: I am in my last semester of my undergraduate education at Clark University, so technically my primary job right now is to be a good student. I will be receiving a degree in Psychology with a focus in Developmental Psychology and a concentration in Holistic Health this May. Beyond my typical student workload, I am the Director of Clark Yoga where I instruct student and faculty classes 4-5 times a week.
SW: You also have your own business called Feel Good Yoga. What do you do?
CK: I am an International Yoga Instructor and guide practical and accessible classes for optimal health in our modern world. I am professionally trained in the Hatha Yoga Tradition. My 200-hour teacher training in Pavones, Costa Rica was led by the talented and insightful, Indira Kate Kamblach. This training taught and inspired me to teach accessible and fun classes with influences of Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga, and Restorative Yoga.
I have experience leading diverse groups of people including children (infancy-adolescence), athletes, beginners, yoga skeptics, injured and disabled, elderly, and hospice residents. My passion for connecting with all kinds of people allows me to design unique classes (both group and private) to meet each student exactly where they are.
SW: With all of this, do you have time to be involved in any other on campus activities?
CK: I work as a Student Coordinator at the Admissions office, and am Co-President of Clark’s FACE AIDS Chapter.
SW: What is the best thing about your job and your life?
CK: The best part about my job and current lifestyle is the rate at which I’m learning, and the valuable experiences I’m offered every single day. As a senior at a small, student-driven university, I have the opportunity to test out a variety of roles. For example, on a daily basis I am a leader, a thinker, a student and a teacher, a giver, a businesswoman, a designer, and someone who brings about change. Through experimenting with these roles and responsibilities, I’m learning about myself, what kind of work environment suits me best, and how I can make a positive impact in the world.
SW: Can you describe a day in your life?
CK: One of the joys (and sometimes struggles!) of being a student with multiple part-time jobs is that each day has a different schedule and comes with unique challenges. I can start my day instructing yoga to critical-need 8th grade public school girls, work a few hours at the Admissions office giving tours of the campus and speaking to prospective students about their futures, sit in a 3-hour seminar titled ‘Food Production, Environment & Health’, and end up back at the local public school to conduct research on normative language development for ELL (English-Language-Learner) elementary school students. By the end of the day I’m physically exhausted, mentally inspired, and spiritually ignited. As crazy as my schedule is right now, I feel lucky to be busy doing things I love and figuring out how to combine my many passions.
SW: What is your dream career?
CK: I dream of one day becoming a Health-Expert-Yoga-Teaching-Child-Inspiring-Social-Entrepreneur. Does that job exist on Craigslist or LinkedIn? Probably not. Will that keep me from trying? Definitely not!
SW: What is your favorite movie? Why?
CK: Thelma and Louise is my go-to because it’s about adventure, friendship, female power, and fearlessness. Plus…Brad Pitt in his 20s!
SW: What is your favorite social networking site? Why?
CK: I just recently made a profile on the site Her Future and absolutely love it. It’s a site designed for women to network both professionally and personally. Started by spiritual guru Gabrielle Bernstein, Herfuture.com is a digital sisterhood where women are helping inspire women. It’s a safe place to feel supported and encouraged to follow your own path, regardless of how unconventional or ‘different’ it may be. I’d definitely recommend it.
SW: What do you do away from your career?
CK: One of my favorite ways to relax and have fun is to explore through movement. When weather permits, I love to hike and practice yoga outside. Recently, my friends and I have gathered on weekend nights with a bottle of wine, our yoga mats, and instruments. The musically inclined jam out while the rest of us let sun salutations loosen into dance. The silliness and laughter definitely help me unwind after a long week!
SW: Are you involved in the community? If so, how?
CK: I am most involved in the community through my work with the locally based organization Ivy Child International. We are working to improve children’s wellbeing and mental health so that each child can achieve their best. We do this through health education, positive psychology, and programs such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, mindful eating, art, and music.
I feel lucky to have found an internship that incorporates what I’ve been learning in the classroom, as well as my passions for yoga and children. I volunteer primarily at Claremont Academy and the Boys & Girls Club of Main South, Worcester and absolutely adore the children I’ve come to know through the process.
SW: What is a fun fact few people know about you?
CK: A few years ago I spent the summer working alone in a large warehouse room measuring, photographing, and more than 1,000 pieces of tribal art primarily from South America and Africa. I learned two important things that summer: I need to work around other people, and I’d rather be out traveling to collect the art.
SW: Your favorite quote?
CK: “He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” –Lao Tzu and "There is nothing more powerful than the human soul on fire." –Ferdinand Foch
SW: What do you think creates success?
CK: Passion, patience, authenticity, commitment.
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CK: In 10 years I see myself as a social entrepreneur, working to improve inclusion in the health care field, and often surrounded by children. I also see myself traveling frequently for both work and pleasure. Wherever I may be, I’d ultimately like to feel a sense of balance and fulfillment.
To connect with Claire, visit her Facebook page ‘Feel Good Yoga’ at https://www.facebook.com/feelgoodyogabyclaire.
Central MA Up + Comers is a weekly profile of a member of the next generation as they are making their mark on the Central Ma workforce and community. Join us every Thursday for a look at the careers and lifestyles of the local digital generation. If you have suggestions for a profile, email [email protected].
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
Related Slideshow: College Guide: Best Off-Campus Study Spots in Central MA
Are you having trouble finding some much needed peace and quiet on your college campus? Check out the following coffee shops and cafés, which are sure to satisfy your studying needs and taste buds.
In House Coffee
Enjoy homemade regular and flavored coffee, fresh baked muffins, bagels and more at In House Coffee. They even feature a Tiramisu flavored coffee and serve breakfast sandwiches. At In House Coffee you’ll find all the caffeine and baked goods you’re going to need to get through your studying.
225 Shrewsbury St, Worcester
Hours: Mon-Sat 7 AM - 10 PM, Sun 8 AM - 10 PM.
Bean Counter Coffee Bar
Continuously voted “Best Coffee” by Worcester Magazine, Bean Counter Coffee Bar & Bakery offers the perfect energy boost for your long day of studying. Order one of their homemade pastries for an extra pick me up.
113 Highland St, Worcester
Hours: Mon-Thurs 6:30 AM - 10 PM, Fri 6:30 AM - 11 PM, Sat 7 AM - 11 PM, Sun 7 AM - 10 PM.
Acoustic Java is a great spot for studying off-campus, offering plenty of seating and a cozy atmosphere. They also offer a wide selection of seasonal freshly roasted and artisan coffees, teas and made-to-order sandwiches as well as vegetarian options.
932A Main St, Worcester
Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 7 PM, Sat- Sun 8 AM - 6 PM.
Curl up next to the fireplace with your books and a latte. Is there really any other way to study? Serving certified organic coffee and real fruit smoothies, NU Café has everything you need to get through your study session. Not convinced? At night they serve beer and wine for those 21+.
335 Chandler St, Worcester
Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 10 PM, Sat 8 AM - 10 PM, Sun 9 AM - 8 PM.
Starbucks is more than great coffee and snacks. Its comfy chairs and tables provide you with the perfect study environment. Choose from their many hot and cold drink items as well as their sandwiches, pastries and salads.
11 East Central St, Worcester
Hours: Mon-Sat 5 AM - 10 PM, Sun 6 AM - 8:30 PM.
Though everyone knows Panera for their delicious soups, salads and sandwiches, their couches and booths are also a great place to get some studying done while you eat. With many great locations Panera Bread is a convenient place for homework.
Three locations: 120 Goldstar Blvd, Worcester, 508-856-7007; 50 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, 508-798-9949; 70 Worcester-Providence Turnpike, Millbury.
Check website for local addresses, phone numbers, and hours.
Straight Up Café
Straight Up Café serves locally roasted coffees so you know you’ll be drinking the freshest coffee while writing that final paper. Offering breakfast items, sandwiches, and salads, you’ll have enough options to get you through a whole day of studying.
795 Main St, Worcester
Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 5 PM.
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