Claire Fountain’s unorthodox approach to fitness has inspired the worldwide cultural movement Trill Yoga – a unique fusion of practice, lifestyle, culture and style. We catch up with her at our Frame studio in Kings Cross.
How did you first discover yoga?
I started yoga when I was a teen in Jackson, MS to try and help treat my depression and anxiety. My aunt from California had been doing it in our living room when I was younger so I had an idea what yoga was, and the more I learned it could help me with my mental health issues, I decided to give it a try.
How long have you been practicing?
Since I was in High School, at home and then at a local gym, where I would go three days a week. I was blessed to have a teacher with an ashtanga background who taught a great practice.
How long have you been a teacher?
I started teaching in 2010, upstate NY, though it wasn’t my full time gig. I was baking as a pastry chef and food writing full time then.
You studied psychology. How did you make the switch to being a yoga teacher?
Psychology fascinated me with my family of origin, and a long relationship with therapy, but even though it was never my main career, it has always been part of my work. Psychology touches so many parts of what I do as a writer and teacher.
Do you teach yoga full time or is there another secret job on the side?
As much as I want to say I have some sweet side gig like testing french fries, my work as a yoga and wellness educator is full time. I have private clients, teach workshops, develop ebooks, host pop-up events with brands, write for my blog and everything TrillYoga in between.
For those who are unaware, what does ‘Trill’ mean to you?
Trill means authentic, real … based in truth.
And what were you doing before you were a yoga teacher?
I was writing and doing work in the food industry (mostly research and development along with cookbooks) and living on an organic produce farm, as I care deeply about our broken food system. I was really into my work then, and of course, doing yoga and working out as well because that was my lifestyle. Even made the NYTimes talking about winter squash. Check out this pumpkin pie recipe.
What makes Trill Yoga different?
It’s not a totally different method; it’s more about the mindset of someone’s personal practice. It’s free from stereotypes and stigmas that currently keep some from even trying yoga. TrillYoga is welcoming and inclusive, so I encourage everyone to practice in a way that feels the best for them. How can we truly enjoy something if we feel like we have to change to fit in?
Do you think Instagram perpetuates an unrealistic notion of what yoga should be?
Instagram yoga has become an interesting place. There is certainly a community that has been built, along with showing yoga to the masses, but when all we see is a pose, and a super complicated one at that, no props or blocks, and perhaps a body shape that we can’t relate to… it certainly perpetuates that yoga is only for the fit or those who can travel to exotic locations for enlightenment. If only people knew social media isn’t what it seems, nor is that depiction of yoga all there is. I’m thick, I don’t go to an expensive studio, and I often practice with glasses and sweat pants.
Do you practise a certain ‘style’ of yoga?
I prefer a combination of vinyasa flow and the more regimented ashtanga series. I think the repetition is soothing, along with the focus on breathing, which is the most important aspect of yoga.
Can you share your favourite class playlist with us?
I really like all my class playlists for various reasons, and some aren’t playlists for class but certain fit a practice. It’s really about what you like. My playlists are on my soundcloud, Claire Fountain.
What’s next for Trill Yoga?
Tour coming up in late August 2016, which will be a Wellness Now Panel with a Pop Up Class from me, continue creating content and building the community, it’s about empowering people to feel like they can have wellness, they can have yoga, and it can look and feel how you want it to.
If I wasn’t practising yoga, I’d be…
Living in Saint Lucia, off the grid, doing something very calm, running around, reading, writing and loving.
Favourite watering hole in NY and London
I so don’t have an answer for this, but I do buy giant bottles of water in bulk everywhere.
Fave workout in New York and London
NYC — lifting weights or yoga at Yoga to the People.
LDN — Frame Shoreditch of course
Favourite place in the world
Pensacola Beach, FL… I grew up there, and the waters of the Gulf Ocean are the most healing and innocent thing I know.
And places to visit on your bucket list
Back to Tokyo for longer than a few days, Peru, Brazil.
Favourite song at the moment
I’m still stuck on Kojey’s 23Winters.
Fave pieces from the Frame Shop
I like so much of it because I love clean solid colours and monochromatic fits. The Koral Activewear track suit is great because I can wear it in yoga or out and about. Love it.