Clayton Horton is hosting the first retreat of the 2013/14 season, and this will his fifth time teaching at Purple Valley. Clayton has studied and practiced yoga for over 26 years and has been teaching since 1996.
We asked Clayton a few questions about practice, teaching, inspiration and music….
1. When/how did you find yoga, who inspired you most?
My first yoga class was actually a pranayama class in Mill Valley, Northern California that my Mother took me to when I was 22 years old. I was inspired by Richard Freeman’s primary series vhs tape in the early 90s. I was also inspired by other Northern Californian yogis who came back from India with mystical tales and adventurous stories of their trips to Mysore, India to study with Pattabhi Jois. Early on, I also took classes from Baron Babtiste’s parents studio in San Francisco where meditation, yoga and conscious weightlifting were taught.
2. The source of inspiration today?
Today, I am inspired by the development of my own practice; a deep meditation, a sweaty relaxing full asana practice, a good surf or swim. Making an honest positive contribution to the world in real time, keeps me grounded in my responsibilities. I love helping and inspiring others. Going to Mysore and studying with Sharath and being around so many people who are grounded in their own practice is always an inspiration for me too.
3. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I expressed yogic tendencies as a child and as I began to become a young adult, I noticed I was interested in spirituality and the occult. After working in the restaurant business for several years I saw teaching yoga as a way out and into a field where I had some potential to create a better world for myself and others.
4. Today you are mainly a traveling teacher? Why?
I had my own studio for several years in San Francisco. It was very hard work. I love traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places and seeing friends that I have met from all over the world. There are so many communities that are hungry for inspiration and sincere teaching. It is a huge open road. I will probably always travel and teach, but now have built myself a small house in the Philippines and I have an amazing girlfriend…so let’s see what happens
5. How would you describe your way of teaching? Where is the emphasis?
I describe my method of teaching as traditional yet light hearted. My emphasis is on developing qualities such as, devotion / consistent practice, correct breathing and technique (alignment and dristhi), positive attitude and wakefulness. The mantra is simply: ‘be nice’.
6. Can you mention something about Shivaburns and Kirtan.
I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old. Later, in my twenties I played in Bands and studied music in school. At times, my practice is quite devotional and kirtan is a great bridge between my love of playing music, connecting with others and the divine. Shivaburns is my stage name, my yahoo@ name. Burns is my middle name.-) I enjoy offering kirtan chanting and live music in my workshops and retreats.
7. Why would you recommend somebody to come for a yoga retreat, how is it different from practicing at a shala in your hometown?
The wonderful thing about a yoga retreat is that it is a retreat away from distractions, tasks and responsibilities of your ordinary life. During retreats, you can really focus on your practice and your Self. This is a real gift to be on this kind of a yoga vacation where you can be “away from it all”. The mind has a chance to slow down and greater Self reflection and deeper awareness is possible. There is nowhere to rush off to. At Purple Valley, all your meals are prepared by the staff and the pool and juice bar are right outside your door.
Clayton is leading a two week retreat at Purple Valley from October 26- November 8th 2013. He will teach Ashtanga classes 6 mornings a week and 4 afternoon workshops with a daily focus. The afternoon sessions will include some technique, meditation, restorative practices, philosophy and Kirtan (devotional chanting).
All levels are welcome…