Yoga and Surfing with Seamus 'Shambles' McGoldrick

Yoga and Surfing with Seamus 'Shambles' McGoldrick

Professional bodyboarder and Strandhill Native Shambles has proclaimed that a consistent yoga practice was influential in keeping strong mind and body which allows him to love and enjoy surfing every day.

Here we talk about the benefits of surfing and yoga, and his experience combining the two.


My name is Seamus Mc Goldrick and I am a Surf Coach and manager of Sligo Surf Experience at Strandhill Beach. I have been body boarding for over 20 years and surfing for over 10 years. There was a very healthy bodyboarding scene in Strandhill in the late nineties. Soon, I got into competitions and travelling to European and world events to compete with the Irish team in the men's bodyboard division.

When I was selected for Irish Surf Team squad training, the Irish Surfing Associations Development Officer - Zoe Lally - introduced me to yoga. Even though I was only 15, it was obvious to me that yoga would help recovery times from surf sessions and also help improve my body-boarding. Many of my surfing and body-boarding heroes were yoga practitioners so it made sense for me to start it up. In college, I began to read into the science and religion around yoga which made me appreciate my practice even more. I also attended a few meditation classes in my final year which again added to my yoga practice and helped with the exam stress.

Since I was 15, practicing yoga has been an important part of my lifestyle as a surfer. I mean, I am no health freak but yoga has helped me become the body-boarder and surf coach I always wanted to be. I am actually delighted now there is a world class yoga studio now right here in Strandhill.

Practicing yoga has also helped me come through many periods of injury from surfing and body-boarding. The biggest injury I have had to date was when I fractured my right femur when I had a horrendous wipeout on a big wave. I had surgery, rehab, physio and I also needed acupuncture and amatsu therapy. But now I have overcome my injury I feel yoga is the best way for me to stay healthy long-term.


Basically, surfing is really bad for your body. Surfing is amazing, it is exhilarating and it feels great. But it is punishing on the body. On a surfboard you are lying in an unnatural position and over using a specific set of muscles. Also, the wipe outs twist you every which way. Yoga allows your body to relax, return as much as it can to its natural state and also iron out any tight spots or kinks in your body. It does this for the normal round of daily stresses as well. Yoga is also beneficial to the mind. While surfing is tough for the body it is great for the mind and I think the state of mind you need to surf well is also the state of mind that helps you practice yoga well. So I think surfers would make great yogis.

Practically all the most famous surfers I know or have met practice yoga, the most famous of which is the legendary Hawaiian surfer Gerry Lopez who today is pretty much a fully committed yogi. 


First, surfing is great fun and is for everyone. I would encourage anyone to try surfing even just once. But from my experience as a surf coach, people who practice yoga generally do quite well in surf lessons. It seems yoga practice helps you learn surfing. You have to stay calm, keep your movements smooth and you need good balance, coordination and flexibility.


Sun salutations are a great way to get a full body warm up before a surf session. And there are some great chest openers and shoulder stretches that help you recover from all that paddling. The lats also get used a lot when you are surfing and I found some great yoga poses for that. Even a simple child's pose helps you recover from surf sessions. Back bends and forward bends are good for your lower back and there are great yoga stretches for the calf's and hamstrings too. I honestly don't know one professional surfer who doesn't practice yoga.


Personally, I think Tim at Salt and Soul does a really good class for surfers as he is a surfer himself. He gave a great workshop on breathing which is ideal for surfers who also was are looking for ways to increase breath holds for those big wipe-outs. I would recommend yoga to surfers at any level, a total pro or an average Joe. Try going to a full yoga class before you go for a surf and you will notice the difference in the water.

Meet The Teachers - Nigel Farrar

Meet The Teachers - Nigel Farrar


This week, meet Nigel Farrer.  Nigel has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, seeing it as a support to his practice of meditation which has been part of his life for much longer. His focus is on the more vigorous vinyasa approach to yoga, particularly Astanga and Jivamukti. He teaches Hatha Flow class on Sunday mornings, and Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. 

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Nigel Farrar

Hatha Flow, Astanga and Jivamukti.

1) Tell us about yourself and how you became a yoga teacher, what training you undertook and the type of yoga you now teach. 

I started yoga teaching almost by accident. Having been practicing yoga for a number of years in several different styles but mostly Ashtanga and Jivamukti, I wanted to deepen my practice through an intensive yoga retreat. Most retreats on offer were more focussed on destressing and relaxing, so I ended up doing the Jivamukti 300 hour teacher training at the beautiful Omega Centre in upstate New York. When I returned several teachers were asking me to do sub teaching for them, and things just grew from there. I now teach dynamic vinyasa yoga, and my classes are mostly a blend of Jivamukti and Ashtanga.

2) What do you enjoy most about life in Sligo? 

I live next door in Leitrim, having moved here from southern England in 2015. I was looking to escape the overcrowded, overstressed lifestyle and adopt a saner way of living. This part of Ireland really fits the bill with its forests, lakes and wonderful surf beaches, and having lived in large cities most of my life, even just breathing the beautiful fresh air here is a pleasure!

3) What motivates you to teach yoga? 

I have gained so much benefit through yoga, it’s something that I like to share with others.

4) What brought you to Salt & Soul? 

I heard about Salt & Soul from other yoga teachers shortly after it first opened.  I started coming to classes, and it wasn’t long before I was teaching here myself.

5) What is the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for you?

The part of teaching I find most rewarding is to see familiar faces regularly showing up to classes, and to watch their progress as the practice does its work. I particularly try to encourage people to gently stretch their boundaries, and it’s great to see their delight when they manage a more challenging posture for the first time. Above all I like seeing people leave the class energised and happy.

See our timetable to see Nigel's classes this week:

Meet The Teachers - Tim Doran

Meet The Teachers - Tim Doran


Next up is the Tim Doran, a keen surfer and swimmer, who found yoga in 2009. Tim teaches Hatha Flow class at Salt & Soul on Monday evenings at 6.30pm. 


Tim Doran

Surfer, Swimmer, Yoga Teacher

1) Tell us about yourself and how you became a yoga teacher, what training you undertook and the type of yoga you now teach. 

 I love being in water, whether it’s surfing, swimming, bodysurfing or freediving and this led me to discovering yoga. Initially I thought it would be a tool to improve my flexibility and help my surfing a bit, but after the first few weeks of beginner classes with John Bell in Derry I thought that there is a lot more to this and away down the rabbit hole I went!

A few years later and I was considering doing a yoga teachers course to deepen my own practice and to learn more, but not with any real plans to teach. A quick google search found that a teachers course had just started in the north west, so I jumped on board from the second weekend and 12 months later had completed my 200hrs cert in hatha yoga. This covered anatomy, philosophy and breathwork but through the lens of yoga therapy and making sure students safety was (and still is) always a priority.

Since then I have attended workshops in Ireland and Bali and usually spend a few weeks every year immersing myself in all things yoga at Radiantly Alive in Ubud, Bali. My little yoga notebook comes back filled with ideas and practices; from yin to roll and release, from meditation to monkeys, and from transformational breath to ecstatic dance. Coming back re-energised and ready to embrace the winter is always a nice feeling.

I teach a flow class on Monday evenings from 6.30pm to 7.45pm which blends a combination of breathwork, movement and relaxation practices that have resonated with me. The classes also draw on other wider techniques from bodyweight fitness, freediving breathing exercises and any movement practice that I have found beneficial. The class is for all levels and every class is unique.

2) What do you enjoy most about life in Sligo? 

My girlfriend and I moved to Strandhill in early 2017 and since then it has been an ongoing adventure discovering new corners of the county. The waves are so varied and the backdrops are stunning; paddling out alone before dawn on a calm autumn morning and looking back to see the sun rise from behind Knocknarea, eating a pizza down the front with friends and a summer sunset, what’s not to like! Before the move I also was pretty ignorant to all of the forests, lakes and hidden gems that are sprinkled all over the place.

 Another huge thing I love about Sligo is the community, there is a massive web of friendly folk who are all surfing, swimming or doing their bit to make the place better. Tapping into this and adding to it has been really beneficial and rewarding.

3) What motivates you to teach yoga?  

Sharing what I have been taught with others was one of the reasons I decided to teach, but also to push myself and see what it is like to be sitting in front of a class. Public speaking has always been a love of mine and presenting in front of others comes easy, but to create a coherent and flowing class that lets people find their space is a nice challenge. My classes aren’t designed to make you feel anything, they are designed to make you feel. 

4) What brought you to Salt & Soul? 

Initially, it was because I live very close to the studio, but what’s brought me back since is the relaxed atmosphere and the freedom to teach a class the way that suits me. It is quite a small and intimate space and for both attending and teaching this creates a nice connection. For me it’s a bit like going to a gig in a small venue vs going to a big stadium to see a band, both have their own place but I’d pick the intimate gig most times.

 5) What is the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for you?

Seeing someone achieve something they didn’t think was possible is always a nice moment, but always learning from every class and every posture is probably the most rewarding . I may be a teacher but I will always be a student, and it applies not only to yoga but to everything in life. Discovering how a little shift or movement can change how something feels is rewarding, it can be on the mat or on a board, then you look back and think how simple that was and the process continues.

Tim teaches Hatha Flow each Monday evening at 6.30pm. See our timetable to book

Meet The Teachers: Danielle Harney

Meet The Teachers: Danielle Harney

Welcome to our new  series - Meet The Teachers, an opportunity to get to know some of our inspiring yoga teachers and hear about Their Yoga Journey.   

First up is the lovely Danielle Harney who joined the studio in Spring 2018.

Danielle teaches Hatha Flow classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning and has an upcoming workshop "Introduction to Transformational Yoga" on Saturday May 26th. 

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Danielle Harney

Hatha, Vinyasa & Transformational Yoga

1) Tell us about yourself and how you became a yoga teacher, what training you undertook and the type of yoga you now teach. 

I started practicing yoga about 10 years ago, because I found the gym boring and I didn't have the co-ordination for aerobics or dance classes! From the first class, I just felt better - physically and emotionally. Over time, I was sleeping better and feeling less stressed about work. I can just switch off in a yoga class, something that we can all find hard to do. When I moved to London in 2011, I tried out lots of different types of yoga and started attending workshops as well to deepen my knowledge.

In 2013, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I was pretty ill around then and could barely hold a Down Dog, let alone do a full class. But I really missed yoga, and so I just started doing a short practice at home with a lot of seated and gentle poses. I found great solace in it - on the mat, I could switch off from the stress and anxiety of 'being ill'. This is when I really started to delve into the mental and spiritual benefits of yoga and how the poses affected the body and chakras.

I began to think that maybe when I became healthy enough again, I could train as a teacher, firstly to deepen my own knowledge but also if I got the confidence, to teach as well.

When I moved back home to Sligo in 2017, I found the right teacher (Sharon O'Neill of Golden Glow Yoga College in Spiddal) at the right time. I spent an amazing, positive month with her and became qualified in Hatha, Vinyasa and Transformational yoga.

I now teach Hatha Flow classes, with a little bit of Vinyasa when I want to get more physical, and Transformational yoga workshops! That's the great thing about yoga - there is a practice to suit your every mood. I love Hatha because it's the back-to-basics of yoga and can be a really grounding, introspective practice or you can make it more physical and challenging if you wish. The Transformational yoga focuses a lot on the chakras and pranic energy, which complements my Reiki work too, as well as mantras and chanting which can be fun!

2) What do you enjoy most about life in Sligo? 

Well I'm a Sligo native, and always loved living by the sea. I learned to surf in Strandhill and spent many a summer at Lissadell Beach. I also love all the woodland walks we have, there's such a beautiful, fragile energy among the trees. I've lived in Boston, Sydney and London, but I honestly think that Sligo and the Northwest in general is one of the most beautiful places in the world - we're so lucky to live here! There is also a great foodie scene - because after a yoga practice, you deserve a good feed!


3) What motivates you to teach yoga? 

Well, I like to say that yoga keeps me sane, so I'd like to pass that benefit on to anyone who needs it! I like to highlight the mental and emotional benefits of yoga and spend a lot of time on pranayama and being present. Yoga for me isn't about the complicated poses you see on social media. It's about finding peace within, releasing physical and emotional tensions, marvelling at what your body CAN do, and feeling content. If a student comes to class and can just be conscious of their breathing and the movements of their body, then that should be an enjoyable and beneficial class for them - spending an hour or so on yourself, for your own wellbeing.

4) What brought you to Salt & Soul? 

When myself and my husband were planning our move back to Sligo, I was googling places to do yoga in before I was searching for a place to rent. I found the Salt & Soul website and I couldn't believe such a beautiful studio was right here in Sligo! I started attending classes as a student and just loved the atmosphere and energy of the place. Then I was so lucky when I qualified as a teacher that Rachel took me on as part of the team - there are some great teachers here. My friends and former colleagues in London can't believe I'm now teaching yoga by the sea!

5) What is the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for you?

It's very simple, but it's the feeling that students get to switch off and relax in my class - I love to see blissed-out smiles at the end of class or when they say they nearly fell asleep in Shavasana. I also love to see how, over time, student's bodies can open up, postures improve, balance improves and other gradual physical improvements that I know will help them with just the simple functionality of daily life - like bending over with ease to tie your shoelaces. That's probably not an Instagram-worthy photo, but it's real life and makes a difference :)

To join Danielle's class, see the Salt & Soul timetable here

Ashtanga Vinyasa "A Journey through the Chakra's"


Wednesdays 7.30am and Saturdays 10am

There are many aspects of the physical Asana practice that can be analogised with the energy forces that support life itself. We take a look at our practice on the mat through the lens of each chakra as a means of exploring the physical self.

Week 1: Muladhara – Root Chakra

Connected with the colur red and the element of Earth. During this class we focus on drawing energy up through the roots of our foundations creating stability and correcting alignment so that we may develop ourselves further on and off the mat.

Week 2: Svadisthana – Sacral Chakra

Connected with the colour orange and the element of Water. During this class we focus on hip-openers and creating fluidity. Searching for sensation in the body, once we can feel it we can heal it.

Week 3: Manipura – Solar Plexus Chakra

Connected witht he colour yellow and the element of Fire. This is the mischief and motivation centre. We focus on twisting and lighting a fire in the belly.

Week 4: Anahata – Heart Chakra

Connected with the colour green and the element of Air. During this class we focus on back bends and happy heart openers, engaging with the practice of creating space.

Week 5: Vishuddha – Throat Chakra

Connected with the colour blue and the element of Space. During this class we focus on the Ujai Breath and have a play with inversions. Bringing heat and light to the throat we set an intention to find and speak our truth.

Week 6: Ajna & Sahaswara – Third Eye and Crown Chakras

Connected with the colours indigo and violet and the elements of Consciousness and Mind. During this class we bring attention to 'Dristi', our focul point and bring together the teaching of all chakras in a dynamic vinyasa flow focusing on connection with self, others and all that is.

This class is suitable for beginners and advanced yogi's. Please see out timetable for booking. You can drop-in to this class at any stage throughout the course - Please remember to book your place to secure your mat. 


Salt & Soul Launch & Global Wellness Day

Opening of Salt & Soul: Saturday June 11th, 7.30pm

We are delighted to announce Salt & Soul will open its doors on Saturday June 11th. Come join us on Saturday from 7.30pm for a special opening ceremony to open the studio. Co-founder of Voya Kira Walton will say a few words to mark the occasion. Come join us at Salt & Soul, Unit 1, Airport Road, Strandhill.

Global Wellness Day

Saturday June 11th also marks Global Wellness Day, an initiative spearheaded locally by VOYA. Salt & Soul is delighted to be part of the celebrations with five free yoga classes taking place that day.

Global Wellness Day Timetable

  • 2pm - 2.45pm: Hatha Yoga by Saoirse O'Donoghue 

  • 3pm - 3.45pm: Kundalini by Emma Kennedy 

  • 4pm - 4.45pm: Aerial by Jayne Lynna

  • 5pm - 5.45pm: Vinyasa by Lauren Ray Hensey

  • 6pm - 6.45pm: Hatha by Rosaleen Jones

Please book  via our timetable . Limited space available, early booking is essential.


With over a decade of experience in the beauty, wellness and spa sector, Kira Walton the founder of luxury organic skin care brand VOYA, has been instrumental in every aspect of the business, from bootstrap start up and guided the business to its current position as pre-eminent global brand. Kira Walton’s experience is vast, though her true love is in design, packaging, product development and brand building. 

As co-founder of what started out as solely based in Ireland, has grown to become a major exporter of Irish beauty products and seaweed based treatments in 37 countries worldwide and with that all the challenges it brings. VOYA has won countless business and professional awards  and Kira was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year, winner of Women Mean Business Female Entrepreneur of the year. A serial entrepreneur, Kira is involved in the creation of subsidiaries internationally and new brands, which will be brought to mark in the coming years.

Kira is proud to be the first Irish Global Wellness Day Ambassador and is actively promoting this day of Wellness to be celebrated nationally.