"Yoga has the power to transform, and I see it transform others the way it has transformed me,” says Sinéad Garry, founder of Village Yoga.
Nestled in The Hub's serene surroundings in Ballyneety village, the location provides the perfect home for this community-focused wellness venture.
However, this wasn't always her path. Growing up in County Limerick, Sinéad pursued law, started a family, and worked as a barrister for over a decade. As an outgoing, vivacious and determined woman with an active lifestyle, nothing about her world quite reflected common perceptions with yoga.
But as she navigated through some difficult life changes, Sinéad found herself one day at a hot yoga class. "I had wrongly thought you had to be all zen or a hippie to practice yoga, and it would be too slow for my type-A personality, which is ambitious, competitive and always on the go. It turned out to be exactly what I needed, less time in my head and more time in my body, and there are all types of yoga, not just slow and restorative ones."
It was a game-changer. Instead of opening a bottle of wine, having a smoke or bingeing on food, the more Sinéad practised yoga, the less she reached for these old coping mechanisms. This became a healthy way to centre herself and deal with stress. Wanting to learn more and share it with others, she qualified as an instructor.
Last year, Sinéad decided to prioritise a work-life balance. She hung up her wig and gown, took a role in John McNamara Solicitors and now dedicates her time outside of law to making yoga and pilates more accessible to her community.
As smooth as it sounds, it wasn't an easy transition.
From societal expectations to wellness misconceptions sprinkled with self-doubt, it took time and effort to make the move, but these reasons pushed Sinéad to follow through. “I realised how much pressure there is in society to be one thing when we can be as many as we want. There are so many parts to us that need expression, and they all support each other. For me, it's integrating law with yoga. This helps me be more compassionate, grounded and balanced in my work and my life.”
To support people during lockdown, Yoga Village is offering free virtual yoga and pilates classes every Tuesday and Wednesday evening until March 3.
All levels and all ages are welcome to join a class and can book online at villageyoga.ie. "I'd encourage anyone who has been curious about yoga or would like something to help them through lockdown to try it. It might be exactly what you are looking for. I didn't realise it was what I needed until I found it.”