Tag Archives: Yoga

Finding energy and awareness

hulahoopingSummertime?! With the wet, drippy weather on the Monday of the holiday weekend, it’s hard to believe it’s early August. But I am happy to report that my batteries are recharged after a wonderful July…… I am really energised and excited to be starting another new term of pilates and movement classes in early September.

I admit that I often find summer a bit challenging. I am sure I am not alone in that? All the hopes for good weather, kids off school, holiday expectations, insect bites, noisy tractors on small roads, and so on. I generally prefer the in-between seasons of spring and autumn.

But this summer was different for me. I am just back from a deeply relaxing, inspiring break. With my husband and one daughter, we were camping with about 500 others off-the-grid for nine days (no electrical power whatsoever), sharing great food cooked over open fires. The weather was kind to us: no heavy rain, no really chilly days and some warm sunshine. Another positive aspect is that we didn’t have to travel far from home, no stressful airports or long journeys.

Every day was full of wonderful music and interesting exchanges of ideas. My days mostly started with the ancient ‘Dance of Life’, symbolic of our connection with the earth and nature. I did lots of fantastic yoga and movement workshops; I did multi-part harmony singing that often took me into a deep meditative state; I learnt basic drumming techniques (loved it) and I heard seasoned drummers and percussionists that made me dance, dance, DANCE!

I will sustain this energy in positive ways throughout the coming days, weeks and months. I feel empowered by all I have learned this summer. I feel aware and conscious in my body and my life.

Life can be hard. We all have to learn how to be kind to ourselves, how to love ourselves so we can love others. There are little things we can do everyday to nourish our bodies and souls. Good movement and good food, along with learning to relax and bring loving thoughts into your heart.

On a practical note: I am taking bookings for my pilates and movement classes from Monday 22nd August onwards; existing clients get first option and then I’ll be opening to anyone who wishes to join in. I look forward to meeting my pilates peeps again soon and welcoming new joiners!

Eimear x

Taming the beast: intensely interesting+physically rewarding

In the background (behind me relaxing!) is a Reformer: the largest piece of Pilates equipment devised by Joseph Pilates himself and first patented in 1924. A slightly off-putting name! But please don’t let that put you off….. it is an amazing piece of kit.

I bought this beast in March 2014 during my training period. Having first used a Reformer two years before that, I found the experience intensely interesting and physically rewarding.

Some more perspective: I did my first Pilates class in 2004 and – at a career crossroads – decided to train with STOTT PILATES as an mat instructor in 2008 becoming certified in 2009. I became Reformer certified with STOTT PILATES in 2015.

So, I’ve been teaching group mat classes since late 2008 and teaching Reformer privately since for about 14 months.

I can honestly say that it has taken me a long time to assimilate all the training, knowledge and experience I have about bodies and movement in relation to the using the Reformer to teach Pilates sensitively on a one-to-one basis. I finally feel I have tamed the beast.  I have learnt how to be intuitive about how I use the Reformer with people who haven’t ever done pilates ever before.

Or whether to use it at all – often clients need to do nothing but lie in a supported position in neutral pelvis and neutral head and shoulder position for some time, completely relaxing all their muscles and ligaments, before they can move further. I have got wonderful tools to facilitate you in doing that (the Oov is my newest find….more later!)

Taming the beast that is the Reformer means really understanding the essence of each move….. not necessarily doing the moves as they appear in the training manual. It means moving according to each person’s innate needs. It means embodying not just my pilates training, but my knowledge of other wonderful movement patterns from the yoga and Feldenkrais worlds to really help people find their way to healthy movement patterns.

Come join me – connect to your body! One love.

Blue moon

I am feeling a bit sluggish and slow today. I thought I knew why but now I’m not so sure.

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I felt that I was suffering the ill-effects of too much food, wine and indulgence in general during my recent holiday break in beautiful Donegal. Hmmm, I swam and hiked a good bit, I even did a fair bit of pilates and yoga on the mat I expressly laid out in my spacious, bright bedroom – I really enjoy keeping focused on my health and well-being. I did lots of lovely stretches and energy work while I was away.

But this doesn’t appear to have been enough to counterbalance all those good things that one offers oneself on holidays. I mean, how good does a glass of white wine go down at lunchtime on holidays! Why not share another ice cream with your kids?! And yes, thanks, I’ll another sucky sweet to distract me on the 200 mile long drive home from Donegal to home.

Home again and I’m conclude that I am definitely suffering from post-holiday tiredness and over-indulgence. But then I see a post from my tai-chi friend Nadine Buttery:

“We are just after experiencing a big blue moon. What does this mean in our practice? It is a transitional time, moving from yang (creative, expansive energy to yin, quiet, nurturing energy); many of us can find this difficult. It might manifest in a sensation of struggle. You might feel you are not getting the job done, so to speak. To assist in our training, we need to embrace this time by practicing standing meditation, rooting, grounding and going more inward.
When we take note of the seasons and lunar cycles, our practice becomes more flowing. We are one with Tao. So today, rest and remind yourself of your support, in all the aspects of your life. Prepare for the next burst of yang. “

So that’s it! I am simply moving from yang to yin (for now!).

I am inclined to overthink and overmeasure when really what I need to do sometimes is just stop and be. And root and ground myself. YES!

Thanks Nadine.

Pilates, yoga, Feldenkrais or whatever – the name doesn’t really matter

pilates-yoga“The body doesn’t care whether we call it Pilates, yoga, Alexander, Feldenkrais, Nia, Continuum—or, for that matter, washing the dishes. What it does care about is if we’re moving with awareness.”

So says Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, in the current issue of Pilates Style magazine. I completely agree with her.

I started out doing yoga in my 20s with a wonderful teacher in the office blocks of Craig Gardner/Price Waterhouse in Dublin. I will never forget my first few classes – the joy I felt at discovering movement and connection to my body.

Ever since those early classes, I have included weekly yoga into my schedule where possible. When my kids were young and it wasn’t always possible to get out to classes, I used to earmark Sunday mornings for yoga practice.

Then about nine years ago, I discovered pilates and I loved it. It spoke to my body in a different way to yoga; I felt energised and could feel physical changes happening more strongly in my body than with yoga.

When I came to a career crossroads in 2008 and wanted to try something new, I decided to undergo professional training in pilates. I am now certified in STOTT PILATES. I still practice yoga, I go to classes whenever I can. I often include chest and hip opening yoga moves into my pilates repertoire and teaching.

What is more important for me is to keep learning, to keep an open mind and not to close myself to other possibilities from other movement disciplines.

So back to what Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle said above: your body doesn’t know care what name your particular movement routine has. The many different disciplines are all working with the human body to the same end: movement with awareness. Body movement is key for preventing pain or sometimes to help you get free from pain.

At different times, you may dip in and out of the different movement disciplines. Your body may need different things at different times of life. You can be enriched and empowered from many different sources.

What really matters is that you get to know the structure of your body to connect with your breathing and that you learn to nurture your own lifeforce.

Pilates certainly empowers you to do that – as too does yoga, Alexander technique and Feldenkrais; never had the chance to try Nia or Continuum!

And, yes, you can can carry that same body awareness and inner strength through to when you are doing chores or playing golf or whatever!