We fell in love with Claire Robbie, founder of Jack & Olive Retreats, the moment we met her. This yogi mastermind has taken her passion for her home country of New Zealand and married it with the need for a luxury wellness retreat company – one that offers both an escape into the world of all things yoga and an opportunity to learn how to take care of yourself from the inside out. The background? Various sites in this natural oasis that lend themselves to incredible adventure and soul awakening.
While most retreats primarily work in a group setting, Claire’s retreats offer much needed one-on-one time for lifestyle coaching and goal setting tailored specifically to each individual. Claire meticulously curates every detail – from cooking demonstrations to outdoor excursions to meditative asana practices – so you leave New Zealand not only as your own health guru, but feeling like you have a new Kiwi family. Find out how yoga saved Claire through her toughest moment, what she hopes to accomplish in her newest adventure (motherhood!), and how you can become your own hero by just unrolling your mat…
What originally drew me to yoga:
I severed my patella tendon and couldn’t workout like I usually could. I was drawn to trying Bikram Yoga. For some reason I felt like the heat and stretching would help my knee, and it worked a charm! Not long after that I moved to Los Angeles from my home country of New Zealand, and found a tiny little yoga studio around the corner from my apartment in Los Feliz where I started exploring other forms of yoga. It wasn’t until I went through a divorce a few years ago that yoga truly became my soul’s co-pilot. I realized how crucial it was to finding peace and grounding within myself instead of relying on the external to take care of it for me. I jumped into the deep end, quit my job and finished my teacher training so I could start the journey of sharing yoga with as many people as possible.
My partner in life and business, Luke. I have never met such a hard working focused man who also is an amazing chef, likes helping with the chores and is a real gentleman. He has a long bucket list that he’s actively ticking off, and is dedicated to making sh*t happen. I have never met someone so capable – it’s an honor to be sharing this journey with him. He’s motivated me with a combo of tough love, compassion and most importantly just by listening.
When I'm not on the mat, I’m:
Hiking in the Malibu Hills, working hard to spread the word about my wellness retreat company and preparing to become a new mom. I’ve been spending a lot of time writing a blog about my pregnancy and the ups and downs of this crazy body/mind transition. It’s been very cathartic.
It’s tricky for me choose between Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) or Shavasana. Ardha Chandrasana balances my masculine and feminine energies perfectly. I feel beautiful and elegant in this pose, yet strong-like-bull! Savasana is the welcome relief the end of class where you have to let go of all the mental and physical turmoil and work from the practice. Ahhhhh, meditation.
I wish that more people realized that yoga…
One realization? Impossible! I wish that more people knew that a regular practice will change their lives and help to make them their own best friend. Also, that anyone is flexible enough to do yoga and that the less time you think you have, the more you need to get yourself to a yoga class.
Project or cause I am most passionate about:
My retreat company. We’re all about making people their own health and wellness gurus; seeing how easy it is to be healthy and happy. We combine yoga, fitness, nutrition, incredible adventures, food and wine all in the most spectacular country in the world, New Zealand (I’m a little bit biased because it’s home).
Biggest lesson yoga has taught me:
That my mind can be either my own worst enemy or my own best friend and cheering squad. It’s up to me to choose which side takes charge.
Biggest lesson I hope to teach through yoga:
That the real transformation happens when you take yoga off the mat and into your life.
Most rewarding yoga-related experience:
Teaching yoga is overwhelmingly rewarding on a day-to-day basis. Watching people have their own ‘aha’ moments and start to realize the good they are doing for their body and mind makes teaching the greatest job ever. Giving people tools to take into their lives and seeing the compassion they start to develop for themselves is incredible.
5 things on my Bucket List, personal or professional:
- To have a successful wellness retreat company.
- To live somewhere tropical, perhaps Bali or Costa Rica.
- To create a non-profit that brings women from all over the world onto our retreats to learn, bounce ideas of each other and create a network of accountability to keep healthy, happy and pursuing their dreams.
- To climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with my baby boy on my back.
- To be an inspiration and an amazing female role model for my son.
Advice I would give my 16 year-old self:
That the dreams you have for your life can come true if you proactively make steps towards them, so get off your butt and start. To worry less about boyfriends and parties and more about becoming a strong, independent, self-sufficient woman. That your parents just want what’s best for you; they’re just doing their best too. Basically, exactly what Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Be honest, kind, work hard, find balance and remember that the world is a big, beautiful amazing place – so see as much of it as possible.