I had intended on posting a journal entry on each workshop I attend. However, the weather here seems to have thwarted my great intentions. Normally, when weather affects activities in Ireland it is due to very poor weather. This summer is such an aberration! I am so happy to say that the weather has been glorious here — so warm and not wet. I don’t want to do anything inside unless absolutely necessary. So I’m afraid some of the late spring and summer workshops or classes I have attended have been temporarily and undeservedly ignored. So here’s me making amends to date.
Yoga and Wholefoods Day in the Burren with Sara Cory, Kevin O’Riordan and Lizzy — May 2018
This day retreat was held at The Yoga Shala in Gort, a place I have spent a lot of time at over the last year. Sara led a 2-hour class called “Spinal Awareness in Stability and Transition”. I have enjoyed any class I have done with Sara. She taught a bit of my 200hr teacher training course and I have been to one of her Budokan classes as well. I think she is an inspired teacher, so deeply dropped down into her own strong body and very aware of movement and possibility. What is most inspiring about her is the language she is able to use around cues and how to sense the body’s movement. This workshop was no exception. And it was a true workshop because we worked on how our spines move (or not, in some cases). Movement for me was a bit lurchy at first but we repeated the movements enough so that my spine did become more fluid. That seemed to be the main theme: finding fluidity in spinal movement.
Lizzy provide a delicious locally sourced salad with some really nice rhubarb slices for dessert.
Kev led the afternoon workshop with his usual panache. The title of this workshop was “Restorative Yoga & Breathwork”. I had no idea what to expect (well, I might have had some preconceived notions alright), but it turned out to be a very interesting experience. There was some gentle, mindful movement at the beginning. But the main part was like a long yoga nidra done with really strong breath. Don’t let the word ‘restorative’ in the workshop’s title fool you, however. There was good, strong, loud music with a steady rhythm that infused the body. I don’t want to give too much away here as I think this kind of a class or workshop can be a deeply personal experience and I don’t want to overstep into other people’s experiences. Just to say that despite my sceptical leanings I really enjoyed it and went out of there feeling relaxed and refreshed, ready to face life’s next big challenge.
You can find Sara and Kev at sastayoga.com and on all the usual social media.
The next workshop I went to was Yin Yoga and Sound Bath Meditation in June 2018 at Tuam Yoga & Pilates Studio. I have gone to several yin yoga classes taught by Charlotte Farragher but this was the first yin class I had taken myself since doing the yin yoga training myself. I must say that Charlotte is such a good teacher and I was able to really get into some juicy joint capsules with some of the poses. The yin set us up nicely for the second hour, which was a sound bath meditation. It was the second time I had experienced a sound bath given by Sound Magic Ireland, the first time being at the Galway Yoga Festival last year. It’s a really relaxing experience and once you settle into it you can feel the sound waves of all different kinds of singing bowls, gongs, chimes, and bells, seeping into your nervous system. You come away feeling quite calm, and I certainly benefitted from it on this day, especially after opening out the body first in the yin session.
I know you’ll be devastated that I can’t provide my usual stunning photography for the next couple of workshops… but they were also lovely, beneficial, body opening experiences. Not yoga workshops, but yoga’s best first cousin, Somatics. After my first, very happy experience at Deirdre Mullins’ Somatic Movement workshop earlier this year (see my previous post, A Somatic Movement Education) I had the pleasure to attend two more in June 2018: Somatic Deep Pain Relief for the Back Workshop at the Yoga Loft in Athenry, Co Galway and A Somatic Neck and Shoulder Workshop at Siobhan Moylan’s Yoga Studio in Clarinbridge, Co Galway. As I explained in my previous post, the idea behind somatic movement is the use of small, easy, thoughtful movements to remind the body how to be balanced. Every time I do a somatic movement class I am amazed at how imbalanced my body feels. And every time, I am amazed at how much more balanced I feel at the end of the class. These two workshops were no different and Deirdre was as even, steady and mindful as ever. What a thoughtful and helpful teacher she is. As I write this I am in the middle of a two-day workshop with Deirdre’s teacher Brian Siddartha Ingle (watch this space for a journal entry on his workshop), and I can see how well she has incorporated his teaching in her own special way. Somatic movement training is the quiet cousin of yoga, but to my mind it is the type of training that many people should really be doing before they start yoga at anything other than a very gentle level. I feel that somatic movement education will better equip people who haven’t moved in a while to reap the most they can from yoga in a healthy, safe, mindful way. If you are a yoga teacher I would highly recommend you check out a somatic movement education class, as it will enrich your teaching. Deirdre Mullins can be reached at somayoga.ie.
As I mentioned, next entry will be about Brian Siddartha Ingle’s workshop I am here doing in Wicklow Town at Ananta Yoga Studio. Also coming up is Cregg Castle Yoga Day Retreat hosted by Marese Cregg, backbend queen!
I am planning to visit every county in Ireland to attend yoga workshops (or anything related). I have had this idea in my head for quite some time now, but am ready to start planning this journey. If you are a teacher or studio owner and would like me to come and do a workshop with you, please let me know. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or IG @yogajewelsireland to let me know what you have on offer. I am not putting a time limit on this as I’d like it to be unstressful, enjoyable and completely organic!
Until then, you’d best hit the mat!