My Friend Yoga

I moved to the US on my own a few years ago and it was the start of one of the biggest adventures of my life. Like most adventures I underestimated the change and challenge it would involve. Looking back, I don’t think anyone would ever embark on any adventures if they fully understood the impact, which is actually part of the fun, and certainly part of the growth and learning.

I didn’t know anyone in the US when I moved and even though the language is the same, in the middle of Manhattan there wasn’t a lot of familiarity for me to cling to…except yoga.

Unexpectedly my personal practice exploded during this time! I didn’t even have a yoga mat with me in my flight luggage (my mat was coming a few weeks later). So, for 20-30 minutes every morning and every night in my temporary accommodation I did my own practice on a bath towel (which is not good for grip if anyone has ever tried it!). Yoga was so familiar and so comforting to me, I smirk even as I write this thinking back to that time.

When I found a place to live my biggest priority was to find a local yoga studio. I only had to try one studio as I knew immediately it was a winner: mang’Oh Yoga. From the minute I walked in the door, it felt like a warm friendly space. One of the things I like most about it is that I always feel like it’s a space just for me – even when the studio is full, it is my time in my space reconnecting with myself on my mat. mang’Oh has a generous and kind vibe – it is yours for the taking if you dedicate the time to be there – which is not something I feel in many studios.

Fast forward two years…
At work, I was delighted to be working on a new wellbeing programme. At one of our meetings I found out that two of my colleagues on this project were yoga teachers. This was a revelation to me – we worked in a professional services firm! I had lots of questions for them: how did you find the time to do this? What made you decide to do it? Was it difficult and challenging? My colleague answered all of my questions with one response: ‘Becoming a yoga teacher is a gift you give to yourself.’

Six months later, I received an email from Erica at mang’Oh about their upcoming teacher training. I decided to go along to the ‘ask questions after a lovely free class session’. As we sat in a circle with Erica asking questions after our lovely free class, what my colleague said came to mind. So I decided to gift myself this training which wasn’t going to be easy with my work schedule.

As it turns out the experience of completing teacher training with mang’Oh is just that – a gift. It is conducted with passion, professionalism, authenticity and care. It’s not about being able to count your headstand minutes, it’s about personal growth and getting to know yourself better through yoga. Whether you choose to share that knowledge with others or just continue to grow your own practice (inside and out) is in a lot of ways irrelevant to your decision and the experience as a whole.

I’m now back in Ireland and one of the brightest highlights from my US adventure is the teacher training at mang’Oh. I made friends, found mentors, got to know myself better, fell in love with teaching and I have a pocket of warm memories to dip into whenever I want to smile 🙂

Much like our friends, yoga is the gift we choose.
Happy New Year.

Sharon O’Connor is a Hatha and Vinyasa teacher who completed her RYT 200 training at mang’Oh Yoga. She is also a Restorative yoga teacher and teaches in Dublin, Ireland. For Sharon yoga is about self-exploration and self-care, and her thoughtful and innovative classes reflect this. Students can expect care in the choreography, personality in the words and a carefully selected soundtrack for each class. Follow Sharon on Instagram @yoga_notices for daily positivity and wellbeing posts