April’s Spotlight shines on Claudia!
Claudia H. Cruz is a yoga instructor that also spends her days as a special education teacher. She has been doing Vinyasa yoga for over 10 years. “I didn’t begin to take it seriously until about 5 years ago, when I realized it’s what helped keep my life balanced, so I dove into getting certified to teach yoga,” she shares. Claudia went on to obtain certifications in mindfulness, meditation, along with Kundalini and Accessible Yoga. She described her work as “a blend of each of these, which together is my recipe for maintaining peace in all aspects of my life. “
You may recognize Claudia as CloudyDay Wellness on social media (specifically Instagram) where she regularly shares her knowledge of yoga, mindfulness, breathwork, and herbalism. She teaches yoga every Wednesday night for the “Go with the Floga Yoga Club” she started for the school she works at and also teaches private clients both online and out of her home.
Read on to hear Claudia’s take on mindfulness and what it means to be a Mindful Fit Pro.
What does mindfulness mean to you?
C: Oooh! That’s a very insightful question. To me, mental wellness is recognizing when you’re out of sorts and needing to slow down. Adjusting your thoughts and doing things that make you feel good. It’s taking time for yourself and your thoughts and getting the care you need to feel ”You” again. Whether that be; seeing a therapist, talking to someone, going for a nature walk, journaling, drinking a cup of tea, tending a plant/garden, doing yoga/meditation, spending time with those you love who nurture you (pets included). Mental wellness can be many things as long as they nourish you.
Which leads me into mindfulness. Mindfulness is a great way to work on your mental wellness daily. Mindfulness is being aware of the present & staying in the present. Not looking back at the past or being worried about the future. Staying in the here and now. Appreciating what you have and don’t have. Taking life-in 1 second, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day at a time. Being one with and connecting to yourself.
What does your mindfulness practice look like?
C: I wake up doing a meditation and gentle movement with my dog Layla, most mornings. I do my morning ritual of showering, making my chai tea, giving my two dogs a treat & enjoying my routine in the mornings. On my way to work I listen to Kundalini chants that put me in a calm mindset for my day. As for caring for my mental health. In addition to the above routine, I sometimes take a “me” day. A mental health day, as you call it. I do things I enjoy all day. From going to a morning yoga class, to getting a massage, a pedicure. Going to a small downtown area and discovering new shops, take myself out to lunch, buy myself something that I connect with or brings me joy. It’s like taking yourself out on a date.
Why is mindfulness an important part of your teaching?
C: Everyone’s life path is different. One must discover what is necessary for your particular healing. What may work for one person, may not work for another. However, mindfulness can help everyone individually. Just the idea of staying present in every moment of your life is a life-changer. Learning to recognize and identify the feelings & emotions that come up for you in every moment and being able to remain calm and neutral in every situation you encounter. Mindfulness helps you be more aware, which in turn helps your mental wellness.
How do you incorporate mindfulness in your classes?
C: In my teaching I like to say it is inclusive to all bodies, all ages. I love to include positive thinking, self-love, and acceptance. I mostly do more gentle yoga with a focus on body-awareness and breathing. Some days, I like starting with a class card pull which guides our practice. I take my students through a gentle flow and end in my favorite pose of all “Svasana”.
Where can we keep up with what you’re up to?
C: You can find me on Instagram: @cloudyday wellness or feel free to reach out by email at firstname.lastname@example.org