Claire Fountain, of CBQUALITY, fell in love with yoga before ever stepping foot on a mat. As a way to overcome her own life obstacles, she began a journey of learning and studying anatomy in order to heal her mind, body, and spirit. While getting a Psychology degree at Vassar, she simultaneously received certifications in yoga and personal training. In 2012, she brought her passions to social media with Trill Yoga. Claire creatively couples her intelligence with a strong influence of music and art to achieve her innovative fitness approach.
Cliche: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
Claire: I never planned to become a yoga teacher. I started yoga when I was in my teens and had always been an avid reader and listener alongside many hours of practice. In 2009, I took the necessary steps to teach as a side project while I was writing and living on a farm in Upstate New York. After a journalism position left me burnt out on my previous industry, I took to teaching and personal training full time and the rest is history.
Tell me more about your foundation TrillYoga.
When I started posting to social media, I needed a way to describe what I was doing, so TrillYoga came about. TrillYoga started as a hashtag. It had a guerrilla approach, and took me, the “unconventional” non-yoga-looking yogi, wearing what I wanted, practicing where I wanted, and throwing all stereotypes and stigmas out the window. It is now a global vibe for those who practice according to their own rules. TrillYoga just wants everyone to embrace themselves, whatever that is, and still be able to find and utilize yoga.
What motivated you to live a healthy lifestyle? How do you live a healthy lifestyle?
Having a life-threatening eating disorder caused me to look at just how precious life is. Since then, I prefer to [live] in a way that is rich with experiences and that creates a state of calm and balance. That is healthy for me. I also make time for lifting weights and yoga (which help my mental health), along with eating a varied diet of nutrient-dense foods. But I also sleep enough, love often, travel, and make time for being good to me and everyone I love. A well-rounded and not so stereotypical approach to “health” here.
How were you able to partner with Nike? What was it like?
I’ve worked with many major brands at this point. You name it, probably worked together. It’s always a good time to combine skill sets, creative direction, or purpose with a brand. It’s nice to see what is happening in other parts of my industry and having brands that believe in me and what I stand for.
What is your favorite brand for yoga attire?
So many. There are so many brands out there right now making high-quality yoga apparel that can be obtained at all price points. I’m a big fan of Beyond Yoga, Girlfriend Collective, JoyLab at Target, Amazon Fashion’s Core 10, New Balance has some good pants, and the list goes on.
Tell me more about the book that you are planning to write? When will it be published?
It is an exploration of the concept of self-worth and how social media sells us a warped idea of what that is with few actionable steps to achieve that in sustainable ways. I suppose I finish it in the next year or two!
How has your workout program, Built&Bendy 2.0, inspired others? Tell me more about it.
Built&Bendy is a strength training + yoga program that I created. It’s a reflection of how I work out, and how I [planned] for clients while I was a personal trainer. BB2.0 even has a meditation guide for beginners. I’m a proponent of a strength training, yoga, and mindset as the best way to “work out.” It is also not a guide that is measured by weight loss or measurements, but by how you feel from the inside out, using the Built&Bendy guide as a tool to help you feel your best in a holistic way.
What is your daily workout routine?
I don’t think working out every day is necessary, and definitely not feasible for me. I lift weights two to three times a week on a good week, and get some yoga moves or mobility work and stretching, at least three to four days a week, even if it’s for 15 to 20 minutes one evening. It gives me time to breathe and get back in touch with my body.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by humans, art, nature, and resilience. I’m inspired by truth and the hope that we can make a better world. I’m also really inspired by all the incredible women I meet doing the work I do.
How do you stay confident and true to yourself?
Sometimes it’s a daily practice, but mostly both of those come from my continued journaling. It’s when I talk to me, flesh out my thoughts, dream, create, and get to remember who I am.
What do you love to write about? What interests you when it comes to reading and writing?
I write primarily about health and wellness, but I prefer to write about heady psychology topics tangled with storytelling. Reading-wise, it’s as much as I can get my hands on.
How were you able to build a successful social media platform?
It was totally organic. I think being true to one’s self is more appealing than anything contrived. I’ve always asked myself, “Does this serve the work?” When you’re posting to serve other things, such as ego, celebrity, fragile self-esteem, that is felt. Social media is powerful, in good and bad ways. I think we have to learn to see it as a tool and not that end-all-be-all. Offline you should be as good, if not better, than online you.
What made you want to create a YouTube channel? Do you plan on posting any content in the future?
I only have a handful of videos there that are strictly Q&A and a discussion on depression. I have no plans to continue content there. For those who care about creating more digital content, YouTube is the place to be. However, it’s not for me. I missed that boat, and I don’t have the time to make it something worthwhile.
What is your advice for someone who wants to practice yoga?
Wanting to go is the first step. Find a local beginner’s class and stay open-minded. You might not like every teacher or every style of yoga but make a decision to stay open and present. Try a few out. Give it an honest shot. From there, you can do myriad yoga videos at home if you’d like.
How has yoga helped with your anxiety and depression?
Yoga saved me. Or maybe it gave me the tools to save myself. Yoga gave me the life-changing benefits of conscious breathing, moving meditation, mantras, and how to truly relax into being. No matter how dark things get, I can always come back to yoga. I can take it with me, and I can come back any time I need to. I learned that life is bigger than me, and it exists outside of me as much as it does inside of me. I can find environments that support healing and health, and a sound body and mind. I believe we can all find light in the dark. Maybe you use yoga. Maybe you use therapy. Maybe you try acupuncture or any of the other things, including medication, that might help you. Trying to learn more about yourself, how you feel, and working through things to feel better is never bad. There are so many incredible ways that yoga can help us. We just have to make the time to practice.
How has yoga changed your life, mentally, physically and spiritually?
It’s been an important practice for me since I was a teen. It was a refuge. It was soothing and safe. Yoga has taught me many lessons, but it’s an ever-changing and ever-evolving relationship. It gives you a much more grounded approach to life, the ability to be present, and it helps you transcend your physical body.
What are your next steps and goals for the future?
I want to finish this book! I’m also finishing grad school currently, and it will be great when that is finished. Goals are nothing fantastical, but there is a lot I want to cook up in the next three years. I’ll certainly keep y’all updated!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Honest. Human. Healthy.