I started yoga in Hong Kong in 1992, and was immediately enchanted by the scope of yoga - the physical demands, the mental focus, the way the breath bridged the two. Yoga has no competitive motives; it is entirely for self-cultivation. My practice allowed me to put aside day-to-day challenges and gently face inwards. It carried me through many stressful phases. I wanted to share this amazing system with others, and qualified to teach hatha yoga in 2000.
I was introduced to Shadow yoga in 2003. It has enriched my practice so much that I wanted to teach this sytem. Under the guidance of Karen Watson I am privileged to now be teaching introductory-level Shadow-style hatha yoga, and continue to train with Karen in London, and with Shandor Remete and Emma Balnaves. Shadow-style workshops and classes are starting in Carlow in Spring / Summer 2019.
I qualified to teach children through Yoga Therapy Ireland, and use the power of story to explore emotions, mindfulness, and relaxation.
Our summer CPD course for primary school teachers, Natural Connections, is delivered in the organic garden and yurt at Ballin Temple. Natural Connections looks at our connection to our natural world through the lens of yoga and nature, and shows teachers how to leverage the basic principles of yoga in the classroom
The unique Yoga & Sleep Retreat at Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow answers the simple need for good sleep. I've been leading the yoga programme since the 2010 launch, and have seen the retreat grow steadily in popularity. The yoga programme is tailored for each group to provide an accessible and effective way to release tension from the body and mind. Nutritious food, fresh air, open fireplaces and comfy beds do the rest!
I began teaching private lessons for those seeking help with specific issues, or in circumstances that prevented them joining a group class.
Done correctly (within one's limits, yet wtih sufficient effort), yoga cultivates the individual physically and mentally. The breath is the link between body and mind. Different methods of breathing have the power to draw the mind inwards, massage internal organs, release toxins, calm the nervous system, and thereby control energy. Yoga helps to preserve and contain energy, and can be a life long practice that develops focus, acceptance and joy.
Yoga is an art and a science that provides a practical, integrated education for the body, mind and spirit.
The word "yoga" is derived fro the Sanskrit word yug, meaning to bind, join or yoke. It is the art of directing and concentrating the attention, bringing an 'incoherent and scattered mind to a reflective and coherent state'*. The practice of asana (steady postures), pranayama (expansion of the vital energy through the breath), pratyahara (withdrawl of the senses), along with observance of the yamas and niyamas (individual and social ethical disciplines), leads to the fruits of yoga: concentration, contemplation, and profound meditation (dharana, dhyana and samadhi). This eightfold practice is "astanga yoga".
Who can do yoga?
Yoga can be practiced by everyone, according to their abilities and needs. This means that you can start at any stage of life and any level of fitness; but it also means that people who are young, old, fit, unfit, healthy, unwell, male, female, pregnant, menstruating, stressed, energetic, lethargic, will have different needs and will be able for different postures. From that starting point, the practice is built.
Yoga is not ...
A religion (you can practice and develop spiritually without contradiction to religious beliefs).
A miracle cure (benefits come with practice).
Competitive (work for your self, in the moment, without comparison to others or to your past self).
Physical exercise only (mental focus, correct breathing and positive attitude are part of yoga).
Owned by anyone.
*Iyengar, BKS (2004). Light on Pranayama, Crossroad Publishing Co, NY.