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Gillian St. Clair on Yoga, Ditching the Electronics & Overcoming Fears on a Yoga Retreat

November 23, 2015

Finding an inspiring yoga retreat guide isn’t always easy, so when we found Gillian St. Clair we decided to have her lead yearly retreats to epic destinations.

We spoke to Gillian about our upcoming Jungle Life Yoga Retreat, facing fears, movement through yoga and the magic of ditching electronics on retreat.

You’re guiding the Jungle Life Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica. Why retreat to Costa Rica?

I’ve always wanted to go to Costa Rica. My home base is Nashville so whenever given the opportunity to be near water I’m ready!

We’re excited to experience the Osa, home to the Corcovado National Park. What makes this region so special and why are you excited to you here?

I’m most excited about the wildlife and being near the ocean. I just want to drop my electronics and open my eyes the beauty that will surround us.


What does “adventure” mean to you?

To me, adventure means trying something new or something that scares you a bit. I am super afraid of underwater creatures, which means I will be in the water as much as possible, to get over my silly fear and pretend to be a badass.

This retreat is quite #offthebeaten mat and includes surf lessons and multiple excursions. What are you most excited about?

I’m mostly excited about ditching the electronics!

How do you encourage your students to get out of their comfort zones?

I actually ask people to get comfortable first. You can’t play the edge if you’ve never explored your boundaries. Exploration leads to great conversations and away we go!

What got you interested in both teaching and practicing yoga? What’s your mission as a teacher?

I’ve always been a mover. I danced as a kid and found yoga pretty early in life. I, of course, felt the physical attachment that fed my movement’s needs, but it took away the feeling of competition or the need to please others. I could practice yoga for myself and that was incredibly freeing.

The reason I teach yoga is because I’ve found ways to take pain away. How can you not share that with others?


What does the practice mean to you?

The name of my yoga studio is Steadfast and True Yoga. I believe a practice should be that – consistent and honest.

Can you describe the AcroYoga that you plan on teaching on retreat?

We will start super basic with static postures and then start linking postures together into creative flows. In the evenings, therapeutic movement will restore everyone.

Besides yoga, what are you passionate about?

I’m pretty boring, I mostly like to train through yoga, AcroYoga, and CrossFit (which makes me more diligent in my yoga practice). Both my husband and daughter are big movers as well so whatever we do we are moving and playing.

Who inspires you?

My family. My teachers.

Would you mind sharing your favorite quote?

“When you don’t know what to do, turn around and give.”

Join Gillian St. Clair on our Jungle Life Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica this January 10 – 16.


Nomadic from birth being raised by traveling minster, seriously with my older siblings, two cats and a dove, we traveled all over Europe and the US listening to my mother teach (I would say preach but she didn’t, she taught.) It’s funny how “traveling” “sitting” and “listening” has become such a huge part of my adult life. The sitting and listening part took me a long time to come to terms with.

I started my asana practice in 1999. I had come from a life of dancing (ballet & contemporary) I didn’t know how much I relied on the physical to take care of my emotional state until the day I quit dance. I had no knowledge of where I was storing all my feelings (my life) until that moment. So when I took my first Ashtanga yoga class I felt completely clear again, it was magic! I felt whole.

For a long time that is where I stayed, heavy in the physical form and I thought that way worked for everyone until I came back from India. I tried to teach what I had learned and was sorely mistaken on how yoga works for every-body. Lesson learned, re-learned and continuously defined and refined on how I can be of service to others, myself and my family through the practice of yoga.

I opened Steadfast and True Yoga in Nashville TN in August 2010. I wanted to create a studio and space that holds tightly to values of right action and less distraction, to create healthy reactions. I wanted to create an extended family. I succeeded. Steadfast is constantly growing and evolving, but it has been and will continue to be an amazing journey for me.
I am very passionate about truth and integrity and ask for that in my yoga classes. I ask the yogi to seek the knowledge of breath and asana before the fluidity and vinyasa. Having said that, I teach very strong alignment based Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hatha classes. When you come to my class know that you are safe and supported in the journey we take together. It’s important to understand that everything in yoga is attainable although its process that needs to explored.

I ask the students to focus on what their true needs are and let go of wants. That way they (we) can stop being so needy and stop wanting what isn’t ours. “Contentment before bliss, peace is in the middle.”

I think I’m funny and love when people laugh at my jokes. I adore and thank the universe daily for my husband Jason and our daughter Sydelle.