About Lucy

In 2014, I was awarded a doctorate in Mindfulness, through the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. My thesis research provided the opportunity to bring together my commitments to both education and spiritual practice. In 2010, I moved to South Africa from Botswana, where I had spent three years as deputy principal of the Maru-a-Pula School in Gaborone. My eighteen years in Botswana were all connected to the education sector, at government schools, in teacher education colleges, at an educational publishing company and working as a consultant to the United Nations, particularly in the field of HIV/AIDS education. I also took a year away from Pyramid Publishing, to set up the North Andaman Tsunami Relief organisation, in Thailand, after the 2006 tsunami.

I now run Heart-Mind and work alongside Mindfulness Africa, an organisation launched by Rob Nairn, with the intention of bringing the Mindfulness-Based Living Courses to Southern Africa, and training facilitators to offer them. Through the instruction of inspiring Buddhist teachers such as Rob, Donal Creedon, Jack Kornfield and Thich Nhat Hahn, I have developed a daily mindfulness practice, which has nourished me for the last 10 years.

On moving to South Africa, I was asked to chair the management committee of the Tara Rokpa Centre near Groot Marico. Through this involvement, I met Mike Draper, and in 2011 we married at the retreat centre. We now live in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

My current interests include combining mindfulness and compassion with yoga asana, to create a style of Mindful Yoga. I am also seeking opportunities to bring mindfulness into the South African education sector, and to help working parents find balance across their many responsibilities. I run regular courses in Johannesburg, and retreats at the Tara Rokpa Centre and the Buddhist Retreat Centre.

I was inspired by a teaching from Lama Tsondru, about the three types of bodhisattva - the monarch, the ferryman and the shepherd. The monarch develops his own strength and confidence before feeling that he is ready to help others, the ferryman travels alongside others in order to help everyone, while the shepherd puts the welfare of others before his own. I could see myself as the ferryman, who transports fellow travelers across the water. When I lead yoga or mindfulness practices, it feels like sharing a meal with a group of friends. Whatever I offer also nourishes me.

Lucy Draper-Clarke


I have known Lucy for ten years both as a student and practitioner of mindfulness, and as a co-instructor on retreats. When Lucy began training I was struck by her natural ability to apply herself to the exercises and disciplines, and also by her relaxed and compassionate handling of any difficulties that cropped up on long retreats. It has become clear to me that Lucy has the intelligence, depth of education, and natural teaching qualities which marked her as someone who would be able to help others. As she did more and more retreats she also matured into a stable practitioner who had acquired enough experience to gain insight into the experience of students under her care.

When Lucy helps me run retreats she brings a quality of kindness, understanding and caring that students are strongly drawn to. She is also open and joyful in her unconditional acceptance of others and is willing to give as much time to help others as they need. It is a joy to have Lucy on retreats and she is a huge help, enabling me to relax and leave a big part of the retreat management to her. In my estimation, Lucy is fully capable of running retreats or courses on her own, and people will greatly benefit from her help and instruction.

Robert Nairn, Trustee, Rokpa Trust, SA.
Representative in Africa of the Venerable Choje Akong Rinpoche,
Mindfulness Instructor, MSc in Mindfulness, School of Education, Aberdeen University

As a facilitator, Lucy is superb. She is knowledgeable, gentle and caring. Her calm demeanour and soothing voice, together with her honesty and humour with regard to her own experience, would lead me to highly recommend this course to anyone who is contemplating learning more about mindfulness. The course itself was certainly not what I was expecting. In typical Jo’burg style, I was anticipating a ‘quick fix’ and instant gratification: a calm mind, peaceful thoughts and a benevolent disposition. Not much to ask for, was it?! What I came to realise over the eight week course, was how difficult it is to achieve this. It is a lifelong journey which I have only just begun. I have noticed that I am calmer and more measured in certain situations (good! and pleasant), and have also had insights into the voices in my head and the little jealous man who pops up time and time again (not so pleasant!) My favourite element has been the application of Loving Kindness in many areas of my life. Although I still can’t sit cross legged on a cushion for half an hour or more, I look forward to Lucy’s gentle voice guiding me through my daily mindfulness practice.
Jackie Standish-White, RSA

Lucy is a warm, wise and wonderful teacher, embodying fully the heart-mind connections she gently encourages in others. What she offers comes directly from her heart, enabling her to provide exactly what is needed spontaneously in the moment.
Joanna Monaghan, UK

Thank you for the expert and compassionate instruction in the practice of mindful yoga. The flow and daily asana variations (from setting intentions, to meditations, to balance poses and self-compassion) helped to connect my mind and body, brining it to a place of stillness and peace. It feels to me that you have a gifted talent and purpose to bring this cosmic dance of mindful yoga to those seeking its multitude of spiritual benefits.
Prathima Naidoo, RSA

Lucy brings to mindful movement her special warmth and generosity together with the qualities of a very skilled teacher. She creates an environment of complete kindness and gentleness which in time enables both the beginner and the more experienced to feel truly welcome. Any concern I personally may have had regarding my ability to manage some of the poses quickly evaporated with Lucy's encouragement. I learned to listen with kindness to my body and then even surprised myself by going beyond any limited view of how my body could be. The sessions are a wonderful opportunity to bring awareness into the body with appreciation and humour - a joyful and nourishing experience.

Carolyn Pollack, UK

I would like to thank you for the wonderful experience. I can see now that even though I did the theory on my own, it was very necessary to also have a practical course with a teacher. You are a great teacher, teaching is definitely your calling! I will miss the sessions, but I will forever treasure the 8 weeks we did it all together. I said to a close colleague/friend of mine, I’ve reached a turning point, I’ve got all this information and it’s time to REALLY put what I’ve learned into practice. So I’m very hopeful that my mindfulness practice will go from strength to strength.
Ingrid Waldeck, RSA

Lucy is one of the most incredible teachers I have ever met. She is compassionate, gentle and very kind in her teachings. I really connect spiritually when I do yoga with her. It is totally divine.

Kagiso Sebatana, Botswana

Your class inspires me because you, as the facilitator, are so human about the practice. The focus is always what works for the energy of the group as well as the needs of the individual. You sense the group’s energy, feed off of that AND simultaneously facilitate what each individual needs. No one can reposition me the way you do! One of your greatest gifts is making your classes real by sharing your daily life and humor. You make those stretches fun. I've not experienced another yoga class that is naturally fun. If yoga is about life and process - don't we all or shouldn't we all process and live with lightness and humor?  

Jennifer Petro, USA

I had attended yoga classes for a couple of years, but until I joined Lucy’s classes I never truly understood the profound depth that yoga offers. Lucy is a natural teacher who draws from her expansive pool of knowledge and wisdom to facilitate fun, challenging (both physically and emotionally) and transformative classes. It is a privilege to attend Lucy’s classes.
Ondine Hogeboom, Canada