We asked our teachers some important questions and here is what they said.
1. What were you doing with your life before you started teaching yoga?
I was doing my best at being a Mum to my son and daughter and completing a degree in visual arts
2. What do you believe to be unique about your classes?
My deepest and heart felt intention for each class is to instill a sense of inclusivity, safety and presence.
3. What she would change about the world ?
For me, addressing climate change. This is the number one issue and affects every being on the planet.
1. Who in the world inspires you and why?
My sister. When I was stuck in India when Covid came along she and another organised the first repatriation flights home. She’s a powerhouse, intelligent, strong and a wonderful mother. Her strength and gentleness inspires me.
2. What drew you to Yoga?
Yoga helped to quieten my mind, the practice taught me how to connect and reflect. I became able to self regulate, which at a young age was exactly what I needed. It also increased my body awareness, teaching me to listen and understand my bodies needs.
3. If there was one thing you could change in this world, what would it be?
That we all had a better connection with the land, ourselves and each other.
1. What do you find most rewarding about teaching yoga at Dharma Shala?
I was doing my best at being a Mum to my son and daughter and completing a degree in visual artsThe energy. I love that the ‘Om Asatoma’ mantra was chanted in the shala daily for 18 years. That’s over 22,000 times!
I also love the demographic of people and the fact its non-pretentious and open to everyone of all ages and abilities. It stays true to the classical teachings of yoga and hasn’t turned into a gymnastics hall.
2. Do you have a yoga role model who motivates you to be your best self?
I acknowledge my teachers Rick and Deb (the original owners of Dharma Shala) and their teacher Clive Sheridan who I regularly go on retreat with now. He has inspired a deep love of classical pranayama & self-enquiry practices.
3. What makes you proud to be Australian?
What makes me proud – I am an Irish native but also an Australian citizen. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to call these two wonderful lands ‘home’. Such a huge privilege. I love being Australian because of the wonderful country I get to share with the incredible array of colourful and unique wildlife that exists here.
I love the pacific ocean, the indigenous wisdom and the fact that people from all over the globe live here peacefully along side each other. It’s true-ly an incredible country.
1.What are your non-yogic passions and how do these intersect with your yoga practice?
Chocolates! Kidding, but I love it. I am currently in love with 95% cacao. You’ve got to treat yourself. Just like a Savasana at the end of the practice. Nutrition in holistic capacity is something that intrigues me and I spend a lot of time observing myself; eating well and enjoying it at the same time is life’s joy.
2. How do you center yourself before teaching a class?
I use essential oils – particularly mint or lavender. I also take deep breathes with an emphasis on forced exhalation to let any tensions, bothered thoughts and unhelpful energy release.
3. If you could wave a wand and change one thing what would it be?
I would be taller! Kidding again! For us to have a real sense of understanding the cycle of life, without fear and negativity. To use that so we can live fully and thoughtfully each day, to reach our true potential as our true selves and not sweat the small stuff.
1. Who in the world inspires you and why?
Women the world over inspire me as they are so brave in the face of adversity. From the brave women and girls of Afghanistan who risk their lives for the right to be educated, to women birthing on the run in conflict zones.
2. What drew you to Yoga?
To me it was the deep sense of peace that I experienced from that very first class. Seeing that sense of tranquility and calm reflected in the students and pregnant mamas at the end of every class inspires me to keep teaching.
3. If you could fix one thing in this world what would it be?
To transform the way that women birth to a place free from fear! For all who inhabit the earth to experience a deep sense of oneness. If we all did perhaps there would be no global climate crisis, no wars and no poverty.
1. How has your experience as a performer influenced your approach to teaching?
I see yoga and acting as very similar – they are both about pursuing the truth. As an actor you are exploring the human condition portraying how people think and function. Yoga explores the same things, helping me to go deeper and look for the truth within myself.
2. What do you see as the essential ingredients of a great yoga experience?
The breath – this is where it all starts. Breath is Prana which translates as Life Force. When you learn to consciously control the breath you achieve better balance and your body stabilises. Continuing to use the breath in this way calms the nervous system and becomes transformative.
3. If you had the power to change one thing in the world what would it be?
Change starts with me. I live by the motto of “Be the change you want” If I could, I would go back and start our relationship with our First Peoples differently, entering this land with humility and being respectful for nature and the way the land was cared for.
1. What do you love most about Dharma Shala?
Dharma shala is where I rediscovered a regular yoga practice during a challenging period in my life, so for me it and yoga always represent a coming home to self through practice. As a teacher I love the community of yoga. You really see and feel it in this studio.
2. You have walked the Camino trail – how did your yoga practice prepare you for this pilgrimage?
To trust the process… especially when things are not the way you want them to be…and it seems hard. You are always exactly where you are meant to be at this point in time…an understanding of this really helped me. And Viprita karini – nothing like legs up the wall at the end of a 30km walk, with a pack!
3. If there was one injustice you could fix with the wave of your magic wand what would it be?
A level playing field! We are all entitled to the same starting place! To have our basic needs met, food, water clean air, access to a decent education, and healthcare regardless of who we are.
1. Did the yoga path come naturally to you, or was there a life moment that sent you in this direction?
I started yoga when I was 16 and obsessed with exercise and I wanted ‘Madonna arms” ! Coming onto the yoga mat gave me something I didn’t even know I was looking for at the time. It allowed to me to connect to my body and really understand what it means to ‘feel’.
2. Who has been your most important yoga role model and why?
I have been inspired by many different teachers and teachings over the years, but these days I am most inspired by people that are practicing their yoga ‘off-the-mat’, through service. To me this is what we are really practicing on the mat – how to be of better service to others. That could mean being a little kinder, a little more patient or a little more present.
3. What would you do if you were POTUS for a day?
I was the US President, I would enforce stricter gun laws, address the international climate emergency and have stricter regulations within the food industry.