Growing up, I was never really into sport or fitness. I was a book worm and a dreamer and felt far too shy for this world. Despite my shyness, or maybe because of it, I was always interested in the human form, the body, the mind, the spirit; how we express ourselves, our ideas about ourselves, how we treat ourselves and each other, human connection. From the age of about 10 I was drawn to massage, always giving family members shoulder rubs while they sat on a chair at the kitchen table. It was 13 years later, after I graduated from UCC with a mediocre BA degree in Sociology and Psychology and had a meltdown about the direction my life was taking, that I decided to study Swedish massage, aromatherapy and reflexology. During this time, l found out that my grandfather, who died long before I was born, used to massage Dublin footballers and was famous for his ointments that he made to treat their strains. This made me very happy, it felt like a sign that I was on the right path and made me feel connected to my grandfather. The path I have taken is very much like that. Even though I’m often plagued with self doubt, I try to follow my intuition and when I do a series of unforeseen circumstances unfold; happy coincidences; chance encounters with the right person at the right time; a line from a book or a few wise words changing the course of everything.
And so it was that I decided to move to Dublin in 2006 and a week later I met Susan Church. Susan is one of Ireland’s top teacher trainers of yoga and pilates and was the person who introduced me to the magic of movement and really and truly changed the course of my life. I’d always loved dancing but usually only in the privacy of my own home. Years of giving massage had made my body incredibly stiff and tight, not that it had ever been flexible in the first place. I worked as a massage therapist in Susan’s Yoga and Pilates studio in Rathmines and started going to classes. I’d already done yoga on and off over the years and found the practice really challenging but loved the sense of peace it left me with afterwards. Pilates was completely new to me though. And wow, was I bad at it! It has been a very long, slow process of learning and growing and recognising my limitations and accepting that it all doesn’t have to be perfect. And I completely fell in love with the process. In 2007, I began training as a pilates teacher followed by yoga in 2012. I have done countless other shorter trainings over the years which all add a depth of flavour and substance to my classes. After a decade of working in massage I eventually moved onto teaching pilates & yoga full time. Something my younger self would never have imagined in a million years.
A few things I’ve learned along the way: we are all perfectly imperfect. As a massage therapist people were constantly apologising for their bodies, their feet, their hairiness, sweatiness, size or whatever. As a Pilates and Yoga teacher I see people get frustrated with themselves because their body won’t bend or move the way they think it should. And I realised that it wasn’t just me that carried a feeling of being inadequate, not enough, not quite right; we all feel that way sometimes. And it made me feel so much compassion for other people, but also for myself. As a teacher I try to bring that self acceptance into my classes. I want you to know that you are perfectly fine just as you are. I want you to feel how glorious it is to just move and experience the sense of connection that can arise from practicing together.