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Rising Stars: Meet Clarissa Karunaratne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Clarissa Karunaratne.

Clarissa, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I like to believe that your life mission somehow goes hand in hand with what you dreamed of being as a kid. I always wanted to be an actress, little me had the hopes of performing on Broadway – something about pre-show excitement behind the curtain, making people laugh, creating experiences and long-lasting memories just felt so special to me. I remember I’d watch plays and musicals with my parents growing up and thinking I want to be just like the actors and actresses on stage. I pursued theatre for seven years starting at the age of seven and as I hit 14 years and was now a sophomore in high school, I became a cheerleader!

I find the parallels between the two to be very similar. Maybe the explanation to this could be as simple as saying I’m a Leo and enjoy these types of things?! I like to believe there’s so much more to it.

Now as a fitness instructor and yoga teacher, I find the same excitement just in a different role! It all comes down to cultivating community – and I love being part of it.

Whether it’s stage lights to Friday night lights to dim studio lights, community is constant. You can find me at Hot 8 Yoga in Los Angeles as well as on my own digital on-demand platform where you can stream my classes and meditations from 5-30 minutes in length!

I knew I wanted something of my own and during 2020 when studio doors closed and virtual classes began, I took it upon myself to create something that would be the closest thing to an in-studio experience – and Sweat With Riss was born!!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
This definitely was not an easy road and it still is full of twists and turns and road bumps – but I believe when your goal is something that can help others, the right tools come to you at the right time. I’ll be honest, I don’t always have the motivation to film these virtual classes and I like to remind myself that the days when we really just don’t want to show up are the days that we need it the most. I so strongly believe in the positive benefits of movement and it’s proved itself to me many times this past year. Even just 10 minutes of intentional movement can be game-changing.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I love helping people release and learn through movement; not only physical movement but mental movement. There is so much to be found when we recognize our shared humanity – something I like to make a focus of my classes and meditations. Sometimes we just gotta get out of our own way!

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
Hmm…this one is tough. I hope to see it more intertwined with each other – I feel like there is still a divide between fitness and wellness and the two go hand in hand! It is all connected!


  • 7 days free for my on-demand platform!

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Image Credits:

Emma Rosenblatt

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