Richard-Hubert Clarke - Man on a Mission
Meet Richard-Hubert Clarke (Hubert Clarke, Jnr.), the driving force behind the Samasthala Initiative. A filmmaker and yoga teacher, he’s passionate about opening up the yoga world to more diversity
Tell us a bit more about your own background
I hold degrees in Film Making, and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Digital Media from Worcester University and have worked as a writer, librarian, filmmaker and actor.
I was set on my path with the martial arts during my teens and was fascinated with eastern philosophy and spirituality. It was distant and mystical, yet truthful and an intrinsic part of me in a simultaneous fashion.
Suffice to say, there was a connection with the physicality of the martial arts. I gained high grades in karate whilst still in my teens. Then segued into Southern Mantis Kung Fu, gaining a black sash after 10 years
of hard training. I am skilled in weaponry and proficient in Shaolin Kung Fu, and at times trained with the monks from China.
When I mention the commonalities of yoga and the martial arts, people sometimes don’t see it. As with many things, we hold our perceptions, though there is an overlap. Let’s take Chinese and Hindu philosophy, using a simple example of Hanumum ‘Hindu Monkey God’ and Son Wukong ‘Chinese Monkey King’.
There are commonalities, it’s possible they are even the same entity, or at the very least, possess an inspirational connection. During my yoga career thus far I have taught over 2,000 (commercial and private) classes and led several advanced yoga workshops. Though I still feel a sensation of surprise when entering a room of new class attendees. I guess I am not the general fit for what a ‘yoga teacher’ is perceived to be.
Tell us more about the Samasthala Initiative
The objective is to provide free yoga classes for fringe groups, aiding in trauma therapy and wellbeing for those in need. This is to include refugee shelters, homeless centre hubs, victims of abuse and mental health charities. We start within the Birmingham region. It is also our aim to offer resources and career opportunities for enthusiastic yoga practitioners from low economic backgrounds and underrepresented groups. The intention is to create life-changing opportunities for those on the fringe, with the delivery of a yoga teacher training scholarship.
When will this begin?
Trials commence, with our upcoming teacher training programmes, in August and November, in Bali. This will be a wonderful opportunity for those on the scholarship to connect with yogis and yoginis from around the world.
All courses are unique in that we offer both Yin, Vinyasa and Introduction to Trauma Therapy within the curriculum. Which is great, as it offers a wide remit of skills and career opportunities for the yogi, upon graduation.
How will all of this be achieved?
This is through our Samasthala scholarship Initiative that is connected to our main teacher-training programme. We provide two free places to talented yogis, who do not have the means to fund their yoga education.
They fulfil their Dharma through providing a minimum of one free yoga class for the fringe groups mentioned, for at least six months. Once those under the initiative become certified, we will quickly match them with a suitable charity or organisation for them to teach and hone their skills. We have reached out to numerous Birmingham charities and shelters. All are extremely enthusiastic and open to the idea.
As our main teacher training programme grows, so can the scholarship programme. There is an interdependency.
Following a six-month period, the recent graduates of the initiative have a choice to move on or continue. They will simultaneously earn their wage through supplying yoga through the usual commercial channels of their choosing, as they disperse into the wider community.
This also creates opportunity for diversity in teacher-student relationships and intermingling between different social groups. Strong connections are crafted between people who may never have met under differing circumstances. The karma is good.
Furthermore, within the tapestry of the syllabus, we donate several hours to the introduction of trauma therapy. This co-exists with the main bulk of the programme, which is Yin and Hatha Vinyasa. It endows all teacher training attendees with the basic skills to work with more vulnerable clientele, should they choose. Our international 200-hour training programme is held in Bali; we are already spreading our wings.
What are your reasons for doing this?
I have lived in marginalised areas for a large portion of my life and have witnessed mental health decline among some of my friends and family members, including my sister, uncle and two nephews. For months at a time, I have offered a place to stay for friends and relatives, who have been homeless, and needed to get back on their feet. Not that long ago, I fell ill, lay close to bedridden and was in considerable pain due to this. Yoga played a vital part in my recovery. All of my life experiences have led to the spark that has lit the fire for Samasthala.