Clare Norelle is a bilingual community yoga teacher in Madison Wisconsin, offering a variety of yoga classes in English and Spanish, including yin yoga, gentle hatha, flow yoga, chair yoga, and yoga for families and young children.
Through Greenroot Yoga LLC Clare offers individual and group sessions in Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY), an adjunct treatment for complex trauma, and presentations in English and Spanish about complex trauma and body-centered healing.
Clare also offers performances for adults and for children, with songs in various languages and storytelling from around the earth.She has several albums of music available, some for kids andfamilies, and others for adults.
The earth our mother always says yes. From the skins of the mountains to the depths of the sea, across all her vast surfaces, she blooms with as much life as can possibly be. Yesses everywhere swimming and floating and running, dancing a trillion dances for the sun. Can we learn to bring as much life as we can to every place that we are, as she does? Can we learn to nurture what we love and not kill what we fear? What is the answer? Yes.
Calendar and resources
Sunday June 21st, 2020
To find the calendar of yoga classes, please scroll down this page…
If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. –Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator from Queensland, Australia.
Love and best wishes to you, as we move through these wild and unusual times.
Even after decades of yearning and learning and working towards racial justice and reparations—really really imperfectly, pretty steadily—I still get inarticulate when I try to talk about these things. So I’ll just say that along with raw grief and fear over the latest deaths of so many Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people from police violence and Covid 19, I find unexpected hope in seeing how many people are contributing now, in so many different ways, to ending the violence and racial injustice embedded in our culture and its institutions.
I stand with them, and with the people seeking ways to make this movement grow and become sustainable.
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Lately I’ve been thinking about the rest step, which my big brother Bruce Pratt taught me when we were kids, on hikes and mountain climbs with our family in the Pacific Northwest.
The rest step is used for climbing in steep terrain. As you get ready to take a step upwards, you shift your weight onto one leg, brace your knee and allow your bones to support you so that your muscles can rest. Then pressing down into that support, you let your other leg kind of float up, placing this foot higher up the slope. Feeling into a firm foothold there, you give your body a moment to notice and appreciate the feeling of resting. When you’re ready, you push off from this higher foothold. This carries your body up again, until you can straighten and lock this knee in turn. Again, you take a moment to savor the sensations of support and rest. When you feel ready, you keep going.
You could think of the rest step as a kind of walking meditation, designed for moving up mountains.
Maybe something like it can help in some way as we work to move mountains.
As you practice the rest step you slow down your pace. Moving steadily, with your mind focused on sensations of resting, your autonomic nervous system is more likely to stay well-regulated. This makes it easier for your body, heart, and mind to keep going for a long time. Even when the slope is steep and the air is thin.
Sometimes urgent action is what’s needed: on a mountain, in a pandemic, or in the streets, when people’s lives are in immediate danger. And too many people’s lives are in ongoing danger. Poor people, many people of color, trans and other LGBTQ people, people with medical conditions or disabilities, many elders, women and children. It’s important to know how to take action and move quickly when needed. But even in contexts of ongoing danger, our bodies, hearts, and minds also need to release tension and find ways to rest.
So I like to offer space for people to do that, even if it’s online… Ways to connect with their bodies, to ease into movement and then settle into rest.
I know that yoga isn’t for everybody. I’m often uncomfortable with the commodified culture of yoga in the US. I’m also aware that some people consider any yoga being taught outside of Indian culture as a form of cultural appropriation. I try to learn from people about this and other aspects of yoga, and to teach yoga in ways that are respectful of its original cultures and background.
I appreciate and feel so much gratitude for the long history of yoga in India: for the practitioners who carried it forward and developed it, and for the many diverse paths that they travelled with yoga over time, first in India and then out into other areas of the world. I appreciate the value of yoga as preventive health care, medicine, support for mental wellness, and as a system of practices that can strengthen a sense of self-determination, freedom, connection, and solidarity with the world around us.
So I want yoga to be accessible to anyone who wants to try it. For people of different backgrounds and histories and bodies of all kinds. Inexpensively or for free, whenever possible.
If you would like to try a free online yoga class with me, you can find links and updates for them by scrolling further down this page.
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There are a lot of other teachings, resources, and relationships that have been providing structure and support for me these days as well.I’ll share a few of them here, in case you might find them helpful:
The book Trauma Stewardship, by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, is a great resource–and I love that it is currently being offered for free as pdf download, here:
TRACC4Movements (Trauma Response and Crisis Care for Movements) is a wonderful organization offering a series of online trainings for people who want to provide healing work in support of activists and social movements. Their trainings are offered every week on a sliding scale, from $0 – $20, and you can find them here: https://www.tracc4movements.com/training-videos
The Poor People’s campaign. This non-partisan movement nourishes me and gives me hope. You can watch a video of the beautiful June 20th online assembly, here: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org
And finally, there’s always poetry, thank the universe for that. I read poetry in a few of my yoga classes (not my poetry, don’t worry…), and continue to add these poems to the poetry blog page of this website, here: https://clarenorelle.com/category/poetry/
Free Online Yoga Classes
Why offer free online yoga classes during a pandemic?
1. Offering these community classes helps me stay centered in my body and connected with other people in ways that matter to me, and it feels like a helpful thing to do. Some days quite a lot of people show up, and other days one or two. Either way I like holding space for people to practice yoga together, and as long as people keep coming to these sessions, I will keep offering them…
2. In overwhelming and frightening times people can develop traumatic stress in their bodies, with long-term consequences for their mental and physical health. Yoga can help prevent the habits of trauma from becoming entrenched in the nervous system. With so many people losing their work or their sense of economic security, I want to offer yoga in ways that won’t feel economically stressful.
3. And… Many people depend on being paid to teach yoga. If you can afford to take their classes and support them, I encourage you to do that. If you would like to have yoga sessions online with me and can afford to then make a donation to other yoga teachers, to a local food pantry, or to other efforts that support people in need, I encourage you to do that. And if what you could most use right now is some yoga sessions without any economic activity attached, please feel completely welcome to join me for free. So far I am still really fortunate to be making my living through my work with Dane County Comprehensive Community Services program, sharing one-on-one yoga sessions online with people on Medicaid.
So: you’re completely welcome to participate in any or all of these community classes for free. If you’d like to make a donation, here are some good places where you could do that:
All of these yoga classes are informed by my training and certification in Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY), emphasizing skills that can minimize the long-term neurological and whole-body impact of overwhelming experiences, helping to strengthen resilience, immunity, and general well-being.
Schedule, Summer 2020
For all of these online yoga sessions you’ll need to first download the free Zoom app here: https://zoom.us/pricing
Mondays / Lunes
10:30 amYoga Suave en Sillas, en Español 8 junio – 27 julio (gratuita; 9:30 am, hora de El Salvador) Hatha yoga suave sentado y parado usando una silla, para aliviar el estrés, fortalecer el sistema inmunológico, y aumentar el bienestar: https://zoom.us/j/886045560
7 pm Simple yoga for stress release and trauma resilience 7/1 – 8/19 (free): Based in Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY), this practice is designed to support mental health and well-being, and you don’t need to have trauma to benefit from it. These sessions offer nothing extraneous–no poems, no singing, just a quiet practice of mindful movement, to help release stress, and to strengthen connections and integration in your nervous system. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88280449664?pwd=QWJuUHBicmVoN2lzekcvbjRQWmlNUT09 ; meeting passcode: 976093
Thursdays / Jueves
10 am Gentle Flow Yoga 6/18 – 7/31 (free): A flowing yoga practice to generate energy, and strengthen and stretch the whole body: https://zoom.us/j/419568356
7:30 pm Yin Yoga 6/18 – 7/31 (free): Long-held mindful stretches sitting and lying down, to increase flexibility and encourage a sense of ease and peacefulness: https://zoom.us/j/635629359
Saturdays / Sábado
10 am Yin Yoga 6/20 – 8/1(free): Long-held mindful stretches sitting and lying down, to increase flexibility and encourage a sense of ease and peacefulness: https://zoom.us/j/961167152
11:30 am Yoga Suave para Aliviar el Estrés, 6 junio – 1 agosto (gratuita; 10:30 am, hora de El Salvador): Hatha yoga parado, sentado, y acostado en un tapete o colchoneta, para aliviar el estrés, fortalecer el sistema inmunológico, y aumentar el bienestar. Centrado en las prácticas de Trauma Center Yoga Sensible al Trauma (TC-YST) que incluyen escoger entre opciones de movimiento; atención a sensaciones en el cuerpo (interocepción); atención plena en el presente; crear ritmos de movimiento; y poner atención en el paso del tiempo. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82196943125
For families with young children: This is a video recording of an online family concert that I did on March 18th. The resolution & lighting aren’t great, but it’s some fun music for younger children, with some yoga mixed in….and kids who have been in family yoga classes with me might enjoy it.
The world is full of beauty, magic, miracles, and patterns that induce wonder… Emergence is one of the best concepts I have learned for discussing this wonder.Emergence emphasizes critical connections over critical mass, building authentic relationships,listening with all the senses of the body and the mind.
The crisis is everywhere, massive massive massive.And we are small.
But emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies.Emergence is our inheritance as a part of this universe; it is how we change.Emergent strategy is how we intentionally change in ways that grow our capacity to embodythe just and liberated worlds we long for.