Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Clare Hawthorne

I started at Dragonfly after attending another yoga studio, and feeling that I didn’t belong. At the beginning of my journey, I wore the clothes I mowed the lawn in, sometimes complete with lawn clippings hanging off me like a Christmas ornament. I was treated like the kid who didn’t wear fluro in the 80’s! This attire apparently was not “yogi ok”. Even with the cold stares that would send a penguin running for relief, I was unwilling to buy any more specialty clothing, for an activity I might give up in a few months. It looked like yoga would be a fleeting activity, like any plan to reduce the steady drip of caffeine that I pump into my body. Then I went to Dragonfly. Dragonfly was not only ok with my attire, but I was also happy to see all body shapes, and abilities welcomed with a warm hello.

I love the heat! I grew up in Straya, as we locals pronounce it (Australia) and I am most happy when I am sweating profusely, preferably with sand in my toes. Dragonfly has the heat covered! I also love that yoga is not a competitive endeavor; there are no scorecards. Like happiness, joy is found in the journey, not the destination. I also appreciate that when I enter the room I see diversity; the room encompasses a community where everyone is welcome.

After becoming part of the “yoga mum gang” as my kids refer to my rolling out my mat habit, I noticed how I could be present; not in the past ruminating, or in the future, trying to control something I couldn’t. There was a loosening of what should be, and an acceptance of what is. So much of our lives depends not on what happens to us, but how we respond. We can not respond if we are on autopilot; our subconscious does us no favors. Dragonfly helped me to become “alive alive.”

I attend as much as I can! It’s my self-care and as an introvert, my downtime. It’s the time for self-compassion, kindness and grace. Can you ever have too much love? My Grandmother, or Nanny as I called her (normally calling her to ask if she had baked shortbread cookies that day) would argue no!

As an immigrant, with immigrant parents, my advice (that you didn’t ask for) is to travel, or go somewhere you are the minority. I remember being in Singapore, and realizing that the department store didn’t own a single pair of shoes that would fit me. Both myself, and the department store clerk, laughed hysterically as I tried to stuff my feet into what felt like shotgun glasses. I belonged. We all want to experience joy, and a belly laugh. Language, religion, race and economic status are bridges that can be crossed with a smile, a witty joke, or a pack of Tim Tams (trust me!).

FYI, Australia Day is January 26th! Celebrate with pavlova, a stack of meat pies and a bunch of neighbors like a true blue Aussie :)


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