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.
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 www.saltandsoul.ie/timetable/