Grace, tell us a little about yourself? When did you discover Yoga and what made you want to become a teacher?
I'm a Dublin native, the eldest of four girls, an old soul Gemini with a very healthy dose of sarcasm and a particularly unhealthy dose of wanderlust. I have lived abroad and travelled extensively for over six years. My initial studies at Trinity were in the Arts and Humanities and my degree took me to Paris for postgraduate study.
It was in France that I got into Bikram Yoga, a practice I still love and trust almost ten years on. I did my 500-hour training in Los Angeles in 2013, and was teaching in a Bikram studio in Auckland when I first discovered Yin Yoga. I did my first Yin Yoga training in 2015 with Mysan Sidbo in Bali and have since added Insight Yoga with Sarah Powers and Mindfulness Meditation with Josh Summers to my qualifications.
In June I am returning to Bali to complete a 100hour Yin Yang Yoga Therapy training. I am a firm believer in continual professional development in every aspect of my professional life, and in addition to teaching Yoga I am a secondary French and Music teacher and a wellbeing coach. I guess the desires to connect, inspire, share, and guide, have nurtured the direction my career paths have led thus far.
When I am not in school or on my mat, you can probably find me heading off to some far-distant shores ready for the next adventure. Either that or in front of a piano with a glass of Pinot Noir ready for the singsong... one or the other!
You specialise in Yin Yoga, what exactly is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a practice which involves the practitioner getting into certain 'shapes' and holding them for a considerable length of time, usually between 3-10 minutes. Through these long holds we ultimately learn to sit with ourselves in stillness. Anatomically, we access tissue the more yang yoga practices don't enable us to target. Energetically, we target the meridian lines or nadis - the invisible energy lines that run through the body.
It is a challenging practice, and at some point we all experience some discomfort. The practice asks us to meet every uncomfortable sensation with an accepting and compassionate heart. Yin Yoga is tremendously empowering, because every second that we remain in an uncomfortable situation we gain strength. With regular practice we can come to recognise the role that the mind plays in magnifying these physical experiences and with practice, we become better able to observe and eventually minimise this role.
What are some of the benefits of Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga has numerous benefits. You might start practising yin because you hope to increase mobility in your joints and improve the health of your fascia, and you may also have some vague hope to feel 'more relaxed' after it. You will probably achieve all three, but after some time students realise that the benefits extend far beyond that. Due to the long holds in stillness yin yoga is considered one of the best practices to prepare the body for meditation, and I have personally found this to be absolutely true.
Is there anyone in particular Yin Yoga would suit?
Yin Yoga is suitable is for adults of all ages. Children and teenagers can find the practice challenging as remaining still is not so easy for them.
Is Yin Yoga suitable for someone who is pregnant?
It is indeed. But like with many other yoga practices, it would not be recommended that you start something new while pregnant that you did not do before.
What if I’ve never done Yoga before ….. can I go to your class?
Yes. Absolutely. You are most welcome! My classes are small and intimate, allowing me to pay great attention to everyone.
Tell us about your next Workshops? What will they involve?
I am very excited about my next workshops. YINtermediate is a 2-part workshop series designed to further expand on the YINtroduction workshop I offered in OSLO Health in March. On Sunday May 7th YINatomy will focus on the physical yin experience where we will take some time to get more familiar with the tissues in the body we are targeting. The second workshop will take place on Sunday May 28th. YINsights will allow us to go deeper into the experience of the mind in yin yoga. You are free to sign up for one or both, but the two together offer the most comprehensive overview of the practice. Beginners are always welcome even if you have not done the YINtroduction workshop!
Grace teaches Yin Yoga every Monday at 7.30pm in OSLO Health. To attend her class book online here.