My Yoga and Massage Journey

My earliest yoga memory is with my mum and siblings sitting in the attic space we kids had made into a play area. We were doing a candle meditation with her. I must have been about 10 or so. Mum started her yoga journey when she was pregnant with my sister who is now 30. I remember liking the candle and closing my eyes and still seeing it in my mind’s eye.

It was 2 years after this that I fell out of love with yoga! We lived close to the wonderful Anne Marie McGlinchy and I suffered from asthma so my mum thought it would be good for me to go to Anne Marie for some therapy. However this clashed with a gym class my friends had taken up after school. I couldn’t go to the gym class and so resented the yoga/breathing exercises. It is funny when I think of it now, my poor parents trying to get me to do the postures and give me the space to do it. Not easy when there were 5 siblings below me.

I cannot remember Yoga featuring in my life after that until I was in my twenties but I am sure it was always there in some aspect or another in my thinking etc. I was vegetarian for many years much to the amusement of friends. I have always been against violence and injustice. Very much a pacifist. I always believed in treating others as I would like to be treated.In my late teens I started to have trouble with my back. I went to chiropractors, mainly, for many years. I had my first massage from my mum when I was 24. I also went to a few of her yoga classes. It was around this time I did an evening course in Herbalism, something I always had an interest in. This led me to working in a Health shop when I moved to Galway and then onto working with Dr. Dilis Clare, medical herbalist. It was here I met other therapists who rented rooms from the clinic. I got to experience some wonderful, varied body work. I was however still having problems with my back. I did little or no exercise. The most I did was walk but I was working hard with a part-time job waitressing. My lifestyle probably was not the best but I was aware when I was “good” to eat well and sleep.

It was a round the world trip and visit to a great chiropractor in Sydney when the penny finally dropped. She told me in a roundabout way that I had to take up yoga if I wanted to save my back. She put it in such a way that it all made sense. I am forever grateful for my chat with her that day. How progressive she was too as up till then my experience with other chiros had been very much based on repeat visits to them. I called my mum and she told me some very basics to get me started until I got back home. Forward bend, cat pose and lying down/knees bent twist. All I remembered doing with her in her classes. When I got home, mum did a programme for me and let’s just say I have never looked back. The level of pain I used to experience with my back was enough for me to not work some days. Now I felt as if I was in control. I took many classes and workshops during my time living in Galway too. I was always interested in the other aspects of yoga. Mum had done pranayama with us over the years and I loved learning about the neti pots in a workshop. I especially loved the relaxation. Whenever I was stressed and couldn’t sleep I would practice the techniques I learned in class. I also went onto become a massage therapist, something that I would have laughed at years before because of my back trouble.

As I write this I almost forgot to mention my asthma which is now totally under control. A little help from modern medicine but a lot of how strong my lungs are now comes down to the breathing exercises. I fully believe Yoga has helped my breathing.

I want people to know that they can take back control of their bodies and stop pain. I understand now of course that pain has emotional attachment too but again yoga comes up trumps on that aspect too by helping the person come to terms with their bodies and minds better. I want to massage people and help alleviate the pain but I want them to take responsibility too for their bodies by giving them the tools to do exactly that. I am in a good space in my life now and I know much of this has to do with yoga – physically, mentally and spiritually.