About the Founder, Claire Santos
I was introduced to yoga as an infant, a gift that has been a cornerstone of my life and helped me to deal with traumatic early childhood events. A humble upbringing afforded me the motivation to explore life through books borrowed from the public library on much anticipated semiweekly visits, meditation and philosophy became passions in my teen years and continue to be still.
Like many of us, the practices came and went with varying intensity throughout the years. It was not until my brother died unexpectedly while I was in the United States Marine Corps, just after the very difficult birth of my first child that a return to meditation practice first and eventually yoga (asana) was initiated as a way to alleviate symptoms of PTSD and return to active engagement with life.
The anxiety attacks, depression and migraines did heal and that’s when the magic began. The skills learned in practice transformed her daily experience of life. The shifts were measurable, the business of being alive became a joyful celebration versus something to be endured, long-held hurts dissolved, forgiveness and gratitude took their place. I now feel compelled to share with anyone interested in finding the same joy and peace in their own life.
I began teaching public classes in 2010, completing three 200-hour certifications in Vinyasa and Integrative Yoga as well as two 500-hour certifications which included Ayurveda, tantra, and yoga + psychology and have been teaching teachers since 2012. During 2020 I completed 300hr and Master Training in Himalayan Sattva Yoga as developed by Anand Mehrotra.
12 Sparrows Yoga school was established in 2018, and is currently offering 200hr and 300hr certification programs by donation because access matters. I am committed to making these teaching available to all sincere seekers regardless of financial status.
In 2016, I received an Ambassador grant through Lululemon to travel the US for 4 months leading Trauma Informed Outreach training with Connection Coalition, a non-profit organization providing yoga to marginalized communities throughout the US. I have also received training and offered classes to fellow Veterans in Miami with Connected Warriors, a 501c3 that provides free yoga and meditation to veterans and their families as a resource for healing from PTSD. In addition to the mindfulness and yoga-based explorations of trauma, I have been actively engaged in study, both didactic and autodidactic since 1996.
In 2018 and 2019, I was able to lead Resilience Focused training for the staff of Community Care Partners of Greater Mecklenburg county, which includes medical, mental health, and administrative staff serving primarily Medicaid recipients and speak widely on mindfulness, yoga, and trauma.
I have been honored to lead yoga and meditation practice at numerous retreats around the world and special events including Oprah Winfrey’s Life You Want Weekend Tour.
I am currently based in Charlotte, NC and offer private yoga/meditation sessions, existential coaching, mind-body integration, transformational training workshops and retreats worldwide.
I bring perspective gained from a journey well-traveled and experience gained over more than 6000 hours of teaching. Life has taken me all over the United States, from my native Miami to a Native American Indian Reservation in Montana, Japan, Jamaica, India, Mexico, Peru and lots of places in between. I specialize in guiding students to a place of personal empowerment and global consciousness through mind, body, spirit integration by offering universal spiritual teachings in an accessible, grounded, modern (and often fun) way that makes them easy to not only grasp but apply immediately to the business of living the best life possible.
I am so grateful to be on this journey with you! ॐ