Clotilde is a yoga teacher and coach at Dynamo Cycling. But more than that, her students see her as an exceptional motivational coach. She teaches her own style of yoga: called TTHHY (très intense hip-hop yoga), a very dynamic Vinyasa flow with strong sequencing and long stretches, backed by a hip-hop soundtrack.
Meet the French cycling star and the face of the Nike Beautiful x Powerful campaign in France.
Inside/Out: You are officially the favorite coach of the Inside/Out Paris community, what’s your secret for being such a great teacher?
C: I discovered what it was to teach through Dynamo. Whether on a bike or yoga, I like to create a cool and concentrated atmosphere. This mix for me is the perfect combo. I often tell students not to take themselves too seriously but to do everything very seriously. Even though at Dynamo the coaches basically put on a45 minute show, I'm never up there on the podium to show offor be beautiful. Rather, I am there to share my 1000% of my energy and to help people go further. The moment the music starts and the lights dim, it's each person, this group, and me together ... We move forward together, I am with them. It’s the same thing in yoga.
I/O: Define your teaching style in 3 words.
C: Passionate. Sharing. Intense.
I/O: And 3 words for yourself.
C: Real. Generous. Out there.
I/O: You appear in the new Nike Beautiful x Powerful campaign. What is your interpretation of this message?
C: When Nike proposed this opportunity, I was really impressed by the message. Nike Beautiful X Powerful basically sums up my career and also that of so many women who inspire me. This represents the strength of women who start from scratch in order to live their passion and realize their dreams. It’s the image of inner power transformed into outer beauty. I am proud to have been chosen to be the French face for the campaign.
I/O: You’ve broken the yoga rules, so to speak. Do you think that it’s a sign of the times to become more playful and less inhibited in the practice?
C: I started with Bikram yoga which is a very strict practice, and simultaneously practiced with Rachel Brathen (@Yoga_girl on Instagram) who teaches Vinyasa with a personal touch. I then studied Ashtanga in India, again very strict and intense. Like waking up at 5 am 5 days a week, then 1 hour of meditation followed by 2 hours of strong physical practice. Later in the day there were 2 other practices, plus breath work (pranayama) and spirituality. I loved it, both the framework and the traditional teaching methods.
Yet in France I would never have this rhythm. It is difficult to follow exactly what an Indian guru teaches, when our everyday life is so completely different from his. I like Ashtanga and I think it was the best training possible, but now I want to shape my style more to my image, making my own flow, challenging myself and putting music that helps me disconnect.
The TTHY (très intense hip hop yoga) is designed as exactly the class I would like to take: it is physically intense, through balancing postures, flexibility, strength building, and fast paced, then meditation at the end. All with a hip hop soundtrack, from the movements to the meditation. I really like this balance between the physical and the mental, both are important. And sweating to Drake then meditating with Franck Ocean brings something more.
I/O: What about the critics out there, those who argue that sexy and fun are incompatible with an authentic practice?
C: Authenticity is the base and fun is the key to going further. As for the rest, I have a body, I assume it, I love it. Being sensual and sexy is a sign of harmony. A sensual woman is inspiring.
I/O: Your empowerment messaging on Instagram is very strong. Do you feel you have a duty to express yourself as a woman? As a feminist?
C: The people who inspire me the most are women because I can relate to them so easily. This goes for the women I inspire as well: It's easier to project on those who resembles us. However I never considered myself feminist, I never gave it more thought than that.
I/O: How do you develop the motivational speeches for your Dynamo classes?
C: Nothing is prepared in advance. I just let whatever needs to be expressed come out. Sometimes I feel the room differently, and need to change things up. I would never say something prepared, as what I say is what drives me, too. I really see every word. Finally, I speak at the times when the music lets me talk. I know the tracks by heart and I let myself – like everyone else in the room – go into a trance. And everything fits perfectly: my voice and music.
I/O: What resources inspire you?
C: I watch a lot of videos from speeches to concerts, yoga…it can be anything. I read a lot and, of course, find a lot of inspiration in certain Instagram feeds. I follow yoga teachers, painters, a poet, entrepreneurs, friends. My parents also inspire me, as they always put their passions front and center.
I/O: Where do you find refuge?
C: Music, some of the places where I have lived, through yoga, on my bike…
I/O: A diktat that drives you crazy?
C: I only believe in what I see. I believe the exact opposite: I see what I believe. The power of attraction, basically. And this works.
I/O: A signature asana?
C: It really depends. I love inversions because they are fun. Balancing postures as well. Halasana. Hip openers…
I/O: You gave a yoga class at the Grand Palais as part of the Yogis du Coeur (charity) 2016. Where else do you dream of teaching or practicing?
C: I’m lucky to have already practiced and taught in so many magical places. I think the most important thing is the sharing that happens in each class. If the venue is exception, it’s a bonus, not a necessity.
I/O: A recipe to confront winter?
C: Staying toasty at home with my man and a good bottle of wine.
I/O: A power song?
C: An even tougher one to answer than the asana question. There are so many. Too many! Into you by Ariana Grande, Pilot Jones by Frank Ocean, The Hills and Often by The Weeknd, Over andTake Care de Drake, Heartbeat by Childish Gambino, Where are ü now by Justin Bieber and Powerful by Major Lazer. For starters!
I/O: Your mantra?
C: YOLO (You Only Live Once) and Don’t take yourself seriously but do things very seriously.
I/O: Your inspiration?
C: The list is gigantic, but music is #1.
I/O: What makes you shine?
C: Every person in every class. All of this shared energy. It’s major!