"I love teaching yoga for so many reasons, but if I had to pick the one thing I love the most, it would probably be the opportunity it gives me to lift people up."
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, this opportunity to serve others took on a whole new meaning for Caitlin Marcoux. Connecting with other patients through her inspiring blog and complimentary yoga classes, Caitlin has left a great impression on the cancer community and beyond. Read more about Caitlin, our first brand ambassador, below and also at our ambassador page.
Q: What is your occupation?
Caitlin: I teach yoga full time; privately and publicly, both here on the island of Nantucket, as well as workshops and retreats around the world. During the winter months I also manage The Yoga Room (Nantucket’s local studio) and in the summer months I run Nantucket SUP Yoga; my fledgling stand-up paddle yoga business. I’m also a clinical massage therapist, and probably most importantly, a mom.
Q: What or who influenced you to become a yoga instructor and why?
Caitlin: My teacher, Shiva Rea. She and I both share a background in dance - and when a knee injury forced me to quit pursuing a professional dance career in 1999, Shiva’s rhythmic and fluid style of yoga gave me an outlet to explore myself physically and ultimately spiritually. There is such beauty and reverence in her methodology; I knew I wanted to share it with others. Although my classes incorporate teachings from several other lineages, they are very much influenced by Shiva’s Prana Flow.
Q: How do you describe what you do and what do you love most about it?
Caitlin: I offer students a modern interpretation of classical vinyasa yoga, as was canonized by Krishnamacharya. My classes tend to be physically challenging, and give students space to explore their own hearts in a creative and self-expressive movement-guided way. Because I am a huge believer in the subtle body’s energetic effects on our lives, I typically put an emphasis on core work, which wakes up the solar plexus, classically referred to as manipura chakra - which is all about the power of manifestation, self-esteem and the ability to assert oneself. I love teaching for so many reasons, but if I had to pick the one thing I love them most, it would probably be the opportunity it gives me to lift people up. Being of service to others, or practicing Seva (selfless service) is one of the key tenants of traditional yoga. So using yoga to serve others, to raise their vibrations, to give them the feeling of being supported and cared for, that is what I love the most. At this point in my career, I have been lucky enough to teach many benefit yoga classes, including weekly Yoga for Cancer classes, while I myself was going through chemotherapy. Knowing that I’ve helped others find peace and comfort or vitality and inspiration, in turn deeply nurtures me.
Q: When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, what gives you peace?
Caitlin: I typically reach into the toolbox my yoga practice has given me: meditation, asana and selfless service. When I’m feeling down, or sorry for myself, I engage with someone who’s challenges or difficulties are greater than my own. When I’m feeling angry or resentful and the weather allows, I get on my bike and hammer for 20 miles, or I paddle into the wind on my SUP for an hour. The elements always remind me of how small my problems are. Because I’m a recent estrogen-positive breast cancer survivor, I have to take Tamoxifen daily for the next 5-10 years. It’s brought a fair amount of chemical sadness into my life, sadness I’m in no way in control of. But I’ve realized that dancing with my 5 year old to loud pop music in our living room is the very best medicine. I think that integrating the mind with the body and soul is the common thread to all these coping mechanisms. When we embody the present moment via a physical or spiritual activity, we become grounded in what is really going on, fear and anxiety drift away.
Q: What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
Caitlin: Well, I’m pretty lucky because my work is my hobby and my passion. But in addition to being a yogini, I am also an avid SUP racer and aspiring amateur road cyclist. I absolutely love paddling my race boards on the open ocean, or through the calm waters of our north shore creeks. Just this past year I began participating in competitive athletic events: our local Iron Teams Relay, the Nantucket Triathlon and the Tour of Nantucket bike race. This year I’m training for the Tour of Battenkill, a 68-mile road race in upstate New York in April. So when I’m not teaching yoga, or practicing yoga, I’m out on my bike or inside on my trainer.
Q: How would you describe your personal Style?
Caitlin: Athletic Rock n’ Roll with a small helping of bohemian chic.
Q: Why did you want to be an ambassador for Crane & Lion?
Caitlin: I believe in Crain & Lion's CEO, John Udelson. His enthusiasm and kindness could sell me on anything. But additionally I believe he and his team are developing a classy line of utilitarian athletic wear that can be proud to wear. Their dedication to give back to certain charities, like The One Hundred for The Mass General Cancer Center, is very much in line with my own mission to be of service to others.