Meet Claudine Varesi. She recently joined our team as one of PYR’s newest ambassadors.Her background is inspiring and far reaching. She has an extensive experience in serving Hispanic and Latino communities, providing translation services in multiple languages across a variety of fields, and teaching ESL classes to adult learners. She also has owned a yoga studio and provides coaching and meditation services at Lucid Yogi.
With a willingness to serve and connect, especially in the Hispanic community, we matched her with our yoga program at Falling Creek Middle School, serving ESOL students. Starting in November, the yoga and mindfulness program will incorporate stories in Spanish to link with literacy instruction and bring movement and breathwork to help the students find some peace and calm within.
We were thrilled to chat with Claudine as she embarks on a new program in the community and brings her own real life experiences to the mat. Get #insPYRed! Read more about Claudine and the power of partnership on the blog.
Q: What does this program with the Falling Creek Middle School students mean to you?
A: This program has several elements that interest me. The opportunity to include all of them into one project makes it very appealing to me. This is a group of children who have endured great challenges and hardship. In order to grow into healthy adults, they need attention and care. Teaching them some Yoga, breath awareness, and mindfulness will hopefully give them something practical they can apply right away to feel better, and more centered. They might even learn to love it and continue to practice it one day.
Being able to teach this class in Spanish is quite phenomenal. We want these kids to adjust to their new environment and our culture, and at the same time, we want them know we care and respect where they came from. Their country and their culture is something they can be proud of – it makes them special. I want them to have something that feels familiar, so they can start to build a bridge and walk with ease into a much better future. While they are learning English, it is really important they continue to speak Spanish. There are many wonderful things that await these children once they understand that being bilingual, and bi-cultural, is really a good thing!
Q: Why are you looking forward to this particular opportunity to connect and serve?
A: Because it feels right. We always have choices, and mine are to always try to be sync with everything I do. Head and heart in the same direction. Life is about relationships and putting our best into conscious actions.
The Hispanic community has a special place in my heart. It is the culture I was raised in, and where I learned to love. This opportunity is a way to give back to all the wonderful human beings along my path who have contributed to who I am today… a grateful human being.
Q: What are you looking forward to sharing with the students?
A: I look forward to sharing my own experience as an immigrant, and hope. Hope for better times, new friends, and great education. I’ve learned to love this country through people who’ve been very supportive during difficult times and have become great friends.
Q: What are you looking forward to learning?
A: I love to teach. I’m always searching for ways to make the learning process easier, more comprehensive, and joyful.
Q: You have a rich life filled with friends, family, hobbies, creativity, and hard work. How do you remain centered when life gets too busy?
A: By constantly reminding myself why I am here. I spend a fair amount of time writing, doing research, and interpreting. The nature of my translation work allows me to spend time in solitude, and I meditate quite a bit. I love quality time with my daughter, friends, and pets. I have a passion for dance, music, and art. The time I spend for study and contemplation… I cherish just as much. The balance of both allows me to stay present.
Q: Why do you practice yoga?
A: I practice Yoga because Yoga answers some very fundamental questions. In order to understand who we are and why we are here, we need to train our body and mind so that we may experience the stillness, beauty, love and wisdom that is at the very core of our essential self.
In order to cope and move ourselves through the havoc of the world, through all the uncertainties and changes we face on a daily basis, we must learn to recognize and master the divine power that’s within, which each one of us has been granted.
Thank you for your service and incredible spirit, Claudine. We look forward to our work together. If you are interested in learning more about Claudine read her full bio here.
Claudine also teaches From Stillness to Movement, Wednesdays at 5:30 PM, at the Project Yoga Richmond studio, where she infuses gentle movement with meditative moments. Class is open to all levels and your suggested $10 amount supports our outreach programs in the community, like the program at Falling Creek Middle School.