Heather ClarkeYoga Therapist- Yoga Therapeutics Ptbo
Heather's Story :
As I sit quietly in the comfort of my home in the “old west end” of Peterborough, I find myself admiring the majestic posture of the mature trees outside the window. I reflect on the current attitude of these assorted “statues”, some are permanently green with foliage while others are seasonally naked, just beginning to adorn themselves. You see, the world I’m sitting in currently has been put “on rest” due to a global pandemic which has clearly shifted how we live. Imagine trying to tell nature to rest as the grass becomes greener, the soil warms up and people wish to crawl out from hibernation, to breathe & move. Pause…take a moment to find gratitude in this new found stillness before we all “blossom” into our new normal.
I grew up in Peterborough in the 1960’s, curiously running through the fields of the south end, exploring the banks of the Otonabee River, noticing how life felt like an adventure. I was encouraged to “go outside & play” so that’s what I did! Apparently though, according to my Mother, I could never walk a straight line from Pt. A to B, instead I would twirl, skip, hop, run, jump, cartwheel through my day. Thus began my fascination with how the body moves. Yes, it has been my life long experiment, discovering the vast mystery of how our bodies are capable of…or incapable of moving. When our bodies are young and willing we’re often introduced to sports, as I was. But it wasn’t until I met my 1 st Ballet teacher, a tiny woman with a tight bun in her hair, a stern look and a kind voice, that I knew what balanced movement felt like. As disciplined as the craft of ballet was to me, my teacher always allowed us to search for the creative side of the postures. She often spoke of our bodies as “tremendous trees”…use your feet as the roots and your arms as the limbs. So I’ve carried this image of the tree, feeling free to sway through the playful moments and find roots during the turbulent times.
As I studied in College and University I knew early on that Algebra & Statistics were not my strong points but found I excelled at Biology, Anatomy, Psychology, so I nourished both body & mind with knowledge. Yes, I am a lifelong learner and I instilled in my children that same desire to ask questions, seek answers, continue to learn. I have worked in both clinical healthcare and community rehabilitation with some brilliant minds in Physical, Occupational and Recreation Therapy developing, implementing and evaluating personal treatment plans for patients and clients in Continuing Care, Neuro-Rehab, Mental Health, Cancer Care Units. This work allowed me to manifest movement on land & in water in disciplines of Yoga, Fitness, Aquatics, Feldenkrais, Somatics and Nia Techniques all while respecting the foundation of Physical Science. My clinical work included hospitals in Vancouver, Ottawa and Peterborough while community contracts included locally The Sport & Wellness Centre, Trent University, AON Retirement Homes and independent rehabilitation companies.
And then one day my heart stopped… literally! I had a cardiac event at age 55.
In yoga we study chakras; energy channels that move through us, around us… and it may even dictate, if we allow it, to speak to us. My heart chakra spoke to me… and I listened! From that pivotal moment on I continued to listen and change my trajectory. I retired from my hospital career and focused on completing my Yoga Therapist Certification. My authentic voice spoke to me slowly and clearly “find women to assist along the healthy aging pathway”. OK, I can do that…teach women the art of looking inward while living outward”.
So here we are 2020, I’m 61 yrs young, work with women in “Healthy Aging & Movement”, answer to being called Nana, love walking my dog, cycling country roads with my husband, listening to 70’s music and dance like no one is watching!