Work We Do: Claire Copersino, North Fork Yoga Shala

My name is Claire Copersino. I founded the North Fork Yoga Shala, which I run, and as part of that I teach yoga publicly and privately.

I run international retreats and I’m also a health coach. 

So people usually start arriving around 8:15 for an 8:30 class and so there’s some checking in, which is nice, especially for new people so I can answer any questions they have.

I’m on my own mat every day; I call it my office. And I’m kind of playing around with how different things, how different postures and sequences can kind of move together and work together and kind of synergize. And that’s then spilled out on a Saturday morning at 8:30, when I share that with people. It can go many different ways. Sometimes I have a plan and something completely different happens and it’s interesting to step back and observe that process.

I’ve been teaching out here for 20 years and one of the things that perhaps is so tender to me is the community that has built up in that time. So I have a lot of regular people who practice with me for a very long time and particularly in this time of year, in the winter months, that’s family. That’s the glue. In the summer, there’s a lot more visitors in town, which adds a nice interesting fun flavor.

I had acute pain actually, abdominally, and nobody could tell me what was going on. I went to yoga and ultimately the issue resolved itself. And I was hooked. One morning, I woke up with my late husband and said I need to teach yoga. He really took that baton and made sure it happened. I went away and did a month-long teacher training. We lived in Hampton Bays but we loved the North Fork. A space opened in Southold for a health food store and I had my first studio attached to it in 2000.

It’s been a complete game-changer, complete life-changer for me since day one.

And it’s such a privilege; it’s just so humbling to share that with people over the years, to be part of their journey.

I love teaching but I also love the process, you know, the creative process. I love the creative process of just rolling out my mat and seeing what happens.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes.