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  • Claire Innes-Martin

To those about to change, we saluuute you.

Right guys, I have to tell you something that I think is one of my worst-kept secrets EVER. I ended the last school year literally feeling sick with dread about returning to the classroom following the school break. After working tooth and nail towards my goal of becoming a teacher for 3 years; through night school while working full-time, then leaving a team I loved (still do, total babes the lot of them) and a safe career, and embarking on a PGDE in Primary Education, I had come out of this crash course and guess what? I wasn’t what I had hoped I would become. I am not here to discuss the challenges of being a school teacher in Scotland today (holy shit, that is a WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST which I am NOT QUALIFIED TO WRITE) so I will only tell you that I began summer 2018 utterly exhausted and thoroughly miserable. My toenails fell off. My hair fell out. I was crying in the night, and crying in the morning. I was crying under my desk in the classroom when the children weren’t there (btw it wasn’t their fault I pure loved them) Many times, I would arrive to the yoga studio to teach with a smile, trying to hide the fact that I’d been weeping throughout my journey there and feeling totally worthless and undeserving of my student’s time and investment.

But. I absolutely HAD TO KEEP GOING, OK? Why?

Because I had MADE THIS DECISION.

Because I would DISAPPOINT PEOPLE.

Because EH BILLS TO PAY, BITCHES.

Because I had WASTED YEARS BEING UNWELL AND HAD TO HAVE A CAREER WHICH FIT WITH PEOPLE’S IDEAS ABOUT WHAT I SHOULD DO.

Because EVERYBODY KEPT TELLING ME I WAS BORN TO WORK WITH CHILDREN.

Because GUESS WHAT, I HAD ACTUALLY BEEN PERFORMING REALLY WELL IN MY JOB!

But, most of all BECAUSE I WAS 32 YEARS OLD and I COULDN’T POSSIBLY CHANGE CAREER AGAIN AT 32 YEARS OLD FOR CHRISSAKES STOP PRESSURING ME! *hyperventilates into paper bag*


It is now November 2018, and I just want to say that I now know…


WHAT. A PILE. OF CRAP.


During the summer, I talked in earnest to those closest to me including some very special buddies in my life who had taken their own professional paths. It was very painful and shameful for me to verbalise my doubts that a life in the classroom, and in the classroom alone, was right for me. I had spent a long time the true professional love of my life under pretty firm lock and key, because I simply didn’t believe in myself. I had never felt more fulfilled professionally (and yes, personally) than when teaching yoga, but I believed that people would think I was a total joke for wanting to make it a career focus. Basically, I was very very afraid (I’m afraid a lot, it’s kind of a thing?)


Um. Hold up. Turns out, those closest to me personally and professionally didn’t laugh until they crapped their pants when I ‘fessed up?! Some of my greatest friends and mentors couldn’t understand why I hadn’t already been teaching yoga as my main job. My parents thought my true path was to teach yoga, even though they still don’t know what yoga is and think it might be a weird anti-Catholic sex thing. My long-suffering angel of a husband told me that it was time for me once and for all to cut the shite and take a chance on myself. On the second night of our summer holibobs, crying at the dinner table, I saw for the first time that maybe it wasn’t so impossible. Maybe I could try to reflect some of the love and faith that others had in me in my actions, and at least TRY. Or, like, TRY to TRY?


Now, as 2018 rapidly reaches its close, I have found so much more happiness. I am still working with children part-time in my role as a Primary Teacher, and work the rest of the week in yoga. Is it easy? No. Do I find myself with a ton of spare time that I didn’t have before? AHAHAHAHAHANO. Is it still scary? Oh yes, very. Do I have any regrets? Zero.


There are times in all our lives where we are faced with the yearning to make a change – and not necessarily just professionally, either. In those times, fear can be a screaming and formidable force to reckon with. The practicalities and responsibilities of life do not go away, and transitioning towards the things that we want is very rarely an easy and seamless process. ALSO you know what? I know I’m a yoga teacher right, but PAYING THE BILLS REALLY MATTERS AND ALSO I LIKE BUYING STUFF THERE I SAID IT! Another horrible reality of following your dreams is that not everybody will understand it. People will doubt you, and be jealous of you, and be unable to understand what the hell you are thinking. It takes a shitload of (sometimes very shaky) faith and gumption to take each little shuffle forwards on the path of change.


If this is something that resonates with you, I invite you to reflect on something that you do well now, that took you a long time to feel secure in. It might be yoga, it might be anything else that you are committed to and that makes you say “yeah, I can do this mate”. Through your tenacity and hard work, you have been able to take those shitty stories about what you can/can’t do, and show yourself what you’re REALLY made of. Next time change is terrifying you, close your eyes. Hold the power of that experience in your heart. Take another little step forwards into the unknown.


Aspiration and change work together as one ongoing, elating, and sometimes demoralising, process. But guess what? The very privilege of being alive means that we owe it to ourselves to keep “chip, chip, chipping” away; to look inwards, and look outwards; to reassess and be honest with ourselves about what we truly want and need from this life we are given. Most of all, we do ourselves a disservice if we don't keep loving and nurturing the goals that seem to never even have a finish line (yoga, anyone?!)


I am inspired every day by people following their dreams, sometimes in the face of real adversity and super scary shit. Thanks tons. You’ve shown me that it really doesn’t matter if the next page doesn’t have any writing on it yet. It’s so worth turning onto it anyway. Oodles of love.

Sometimes working towards change is also sore and makes you fart. Again, yoga, anyone?!

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©2019 Claire Innes-Martin Yoga.
All photography courtesy of  Abi Ponce Hardy.