BE­HIND THE SMILE AND MAKEUP, I WAS BRO­KEN

SÍLE SEOIGE SPEAKS TO MARY FOG­A­RTY ABOUT YOGA, WORK, AND RE­COV­ER­ING FROM CANCER

Bray People - - INTERVIEW -

BROAD­CASTER Sile Seoige makes the jour­ney from Lu­can to Bray two evenings a week, on one oc­ca­sion to teach and on an­other to learn.

She dis­cov­ered yoga when ‘ life came crash­ing in’ on her, fol­low­ing se­ri­ous ill­ness and the end of a re­la­tion­ship, and it has be­come one of her life’s great­est pas­sions.

Síle, a former res­i­dent of Bray and a na­tive of County Gal­way, leads a chant­ing ses­sion fol­low­ing Lisa Tem­ple’s yoga class at the Olive 3 studio on Wed­nes­day evenings, and she is tak­ing on fur­ther study with a 500-hour yoga course there on a Mon­day evening as well.

When training as a teacher, she con­nected most with the yoga of mantra.

‘Yoga is about qui­et­ing the mind and get­ting in tune with your­self,’ she said. ‘From stand­ing on the mat do­ing a pose, to silent med­i­ta­tion and chant­ing. They are all dif­fer­ent ways of be­com­ing more con­nected with your­self. It can sound con­fus­ing and maybe a bit heavy for peo­ple who are not used to it but it’s re­ally very sim­ple.

‘Peo­ple don’t nec­es­sar­ily re­alise that the whole pur­pose of the asanas, or po­si­tions, is to bring you to a point of hear­ing what’s go­ing on in your own mind and body. The poses are just a way of get­ting there.’

The prac­tice is by no means about per­fec­tion, and a per­son who isn’t par­tic­u­larly phys­i­cally flex­i­ble or ‘ac­cu­rate’, can be ‘in­cred­i­bly yo­gic’ said Síle.

She said that the prac­tice can be ben­e­fi­cial to any­one, re­gard­less of their gen­der, age, size, or any­thing else.

Síle had dab­bled a lit­tle in yoga and took part in a few classes down through the years ‘I found it lovely and thought, “I’d like to try that yoga thing, I’d like to give it a shot.”’

When she was just 32, she was di­ag­nosed with cancer. ‘For a pe­riod of time things weren’t good in my life.’

Prior to that, her mar­riage had ended. ‘It was a dif­fi­cult time for me,’ said Síle. ‘Be­hind the smile and the makeup I was bro­ken.’

She had met Lisa Tem­ple, who founded Olive 3, and con­nected with her in­stantly. ‘She was talk­ing about yoga and what she said re­ally res­onated with me. I went to one of her classes and ab­so­lutely fell in love with it.

‘When I came to the first class I re­ally wanted to hide in the cor­ner. But Lisa is a re­ally gifted teacher and she helped me to build up my con­fi­dence.

‘It brought up a lot of feel­ings. I went to the class quite up­set and dif­fer­ent things came up for me. But it gave me the space to be okay with that. I went from feel­ings of up­set and feel­ing lost to be­ing em­pow­ered. It’s great craic, and I’ve made bril­liant friends through it.’

She said that the prac­tice has been fan­tas­tic for her men­tal as well as phys­i­cal health, and has helped her deal with things. ‘I very quickly got my life to­gether and yoga was a huge part of that.’

Lisa en­cour­aged Síle to take a teacher training course and, in­ter­ested in deep­en­ing her own un­der­stand­ing, she did so. ‘It was the best de­ci­sion I ever made.’

There is no end to how much more can be learned. ‘You could study for the rest of your life and you still wouldn’t know ev­ery­thing,’ she said. ‘It fas­ci­nates me.’

She earned her qual­i­fi­ca­tion at the start of the year and started teach­ing in the studio straight away.

It is very dif­fer­ent to the ra­dio and tele­vi­sion work she has been do­ing since first pre­sented ‘Hollywood Anocht’ on TG4 aged just 19.

‘It is dif­fer­ent, but can only ben­e­fit any kind of work. Work­ing in the me­dia busi­ness, a lot of it is about cre­at­ing an il­lu­sion. Yoga is about cut­ting through the il­lu­sion. It helps you be­come more gen­uine in the en­vi­ron­ment you oc­cupy.’

While she was a less than en­thu­si­as­tic camogie player in school, In her adult life, Sile has been more in­ter­ested in sports and ex­er­cise.

She climbed Kil­i­man­jaro for Crum­lin Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, has done the Con­nemara Half Marathon for cancer sup­port, and a 600km char­ity cy­cle . ‘I’m not a fit­ness fa­natic by any stretch h but go through pe­ri­ods of be­ing quitee ac­tive.

‘I got into run­ning a bit, par­tic­u­larly y com­ing out of be­ing sick. I wanted to set t pos­i­tive goals for my­self. When you’ve e been through treat­ment your body feels s very frag­ile. I wanted to build my­self up both phys­i­cally and men­tally. I started with 10km and then got a gang to do the Con­nemara half marathon. About 30 of us did it.’ They in­cluded chef Clodagh McKenna,a, Keith Duffy, ands friends from the me­dia and fit­ness s world. ‘It was re­ally spe­cial. l. It was the al­first big phys­i­cal chal­len­gen I com­pleted on the other side of cancer.r. I was over­joyed when I crossed the line.’

This was a world away from the day a doc­tor told Síle she had cancer. ‘Shock is def­i­nitely some­thing that hap­pened straight away,’ she said. ‘You just don’t ex­pect to hear it. No­body would want to hear those words. I’d had the first op­er­a­tion and had a biopsy on it be­fore which was clear.

‘In my head I was there for the doc­tor to tell me ev­ery­thing was fine and I could go back to work. I walked out in a daze. Slowly but surely after a while it started to sink

I WENT FROM FEEL­INGS OF UP­SET AND FEEL­ING LOST TO FEEL­ING EM­POW­ERED

in and the up­set hap­pened later’later.’

How­ever, she feels very for­tu­nate. ‘I was lucky it was caught early and my course of treat­ment was set out with no sur­prises.’

YOGA was ben­e­fi­cial, giv­ing Síle an un­der­stand­ing on a holis­tic level. ‘Medicine is won­der­ful and I ab­so­lutely bow my head to science. But I be­lieve in look­ing at the whole be­ing and not just the phys­i­cal form. Yoga hon­ours all that and re­ally helped me get through that and what fol­lowed. Even at the end of treat­ment your life has changed for­ever. You have shifted mas­sively as a per­son. You don’t go back to who you were that minute be­fore you were told be­fore you had cancer.’

She is cur­rently work­ing with the HSE on their ‘Lit­tle Things’ ra­dio cam­paign, fa­cil­i­tat­ing con­ver­sa­tions to pro­mote good men­tal health, broad­cast­ing across 15 sta­tions in Ire­land.

Their cam­paign has been much talked about and it re­cently won ‘Most Ef­fec­tive Ra­dio Cam­paign’ at The Love Ra­dio Awards in the Man­sion House in Dublin.

‘Life is good. Busy, but com­fort­able. It’s great to have time to be able to give at­ten­tion to my pas­sion for yoga,’ said Sile.

Her work on the air­waves be­gan al­most im­me­di­ately after Síle fin­ished school, where singing, drama, and com­mu­ni­cat­ing were her strong­est suits.

She was young and un­sure about what to do with her fu­ture. ‘I was pre­sented with an op­por­tu­nity and took a step for­ward and went for it, and I’m glad I did. In my heart and soul my pas­sion has al­ways been us­ing my voice – speak­ing, singing, com­mu­ni­cat­ing – so I would have gone that di­rec­tion any­way.

‘I didn’t nec­es­sar­ily choose the me­dia in­dus­try, but I’m re­ally glad it came my way.’

Síle, above, and with Lisa Tem­ple, left.

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