Fresh off the newest season of Lifetime’s Project Runway, where she sashayed down the catwalk on stilts wearing an extra-tall couture look by designers from the hit TV show, Claire de Luxe, as she is known on stage, laughs when asked how she learned to stilt-walk. “Everyone always asks me that, and I get it – I’m over 8’ tall. But no one thinks to ask where I acquired the inner grace, poise, and confidence to be a professional performer. People assume it just comes with the territory, but in fact I don’t come from a performance background and never had any formal training.”
De Luxe says both her balance and her verve come from meditation and yoga techniques she learned from yogi and mystic Sadhguru Vasudev. She first encountered the prominent spiritual figure in 2003. “I was getting a facial, like a good New York City girl, at a holistic clinic that happened to be inside a yoga studio. I had no interest in yoga whatsoever, but as I was exiting the clinic, I decided to poke my head in to the main room to see what so many people had gathered for. Sadhguru was there giving a talk, and he had this undeniable presence that said ‘real deal.’ I was intrigued, and as soon as I sat down, his razor-sharp logic – and his sense of humor – drew me in. His perspective and insight were so crystal clear, it sounded like common sense – but somehow I’d never heard it before,” de Luxe says.
The Dartmouth-educated Brooklyn resident decided to pursue the next step by taking ‘Inner Engineering,’ the flagship program designed by Sadhguru, who has given talks at the World Economic Forum, the House of Lords, and the United Nations and was named one of India’s 50 most influential people. De Luxe learned what she describes as “very simple, but very potent” techniques from the program that have provided not only grounding and health benefits, but also, she says, the release from fears that were holding her back both professionally and artistically.
“I actually worked in finance and then book publishing before striking out on my own as a freelance editor,” de Luxe recounts. “It was a tough time, economically, but the practices I was doing allowed me to handle the ups and downs of freelance life without stressing out. I had a growing clarity that allowed me to focus on what I needed to do and move forward instead of getting stuck in anxiety mode.”
In addition, she says, lifelong insecurities were disappearing, giving her the freedom to pursue a new career path. “I never set out to be a circus performer. I just loved firedancing, and as my self-doubt faded away, I began sharing my art with others, and soon was getting hired for professional gigs. One of my first gigs was performing fire fans for the cast of the movie Shortbus,” de Luxe recalls. As her business grew, she began adding more and more fire props to her arsenal, as well as stilts, costumes, and a serious dose of stage presence.
“I had been someone who was actually scared of public speaking,” de Luxe shares. “But meditation helped dissolve a shroud of paralyzing fear that I hadn’t even fully been aware of. As it gradually but steadily melted away, I began to radiate a natural intensity that really connected me to people, both onstage and off. I’m a better performer, but also a better friend and a better businessperson because of it. It’s pretty amazing how much my life has opened up, when I look back on it.”
Sadhguru, the founder of Inner Engineering, will be returning to the United States to personally teach the Shambhavi Mahamudra practice. De Luxe says the 21-minute practice, which involves the breath and does not require any physical agility, is appropriate for everyone 14 years and older and is short enough to be incorporated into even a hectic city lifestyle.
Inner Engineering Online, which consists of seven online classes, is a pre-requisite for the 2-day live Shambhavi course. Inner Engineering: Technologies for Wellbeing with Sadhguru will be offered in Los Angeles, October 15th- 16th, New Jersey, November 5th – 6th, and Toronto, Canada, November 12th – 13th. For more information or to register, visit http://www.innerengineering.com or call 877.831.2705.