AND BREATHE…

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Yoga in­struc­tor Lee Tracey shares the se­crets to her healthy life­style

I’VE AL­WAYS BEEN IN­TER­ESTED IN TRY­ING NEW THINGS AND HAV­ING NEW EX­PE­RI­ENCES. My first in­tro­duc­tion to yoga was hot yoga. At first I was just there for the phys­i­cal side of things, but then you can’t help but no­tice all the other ben­e­fits. I was able to han­dle stress bet­ter and felt more cen­tred. Suzanne O’Sul­li­van was my first teacher; other in­spi­ra­tional teach­ers who’ve in­flu­enced me are Sibylle Dall­mann, Rima Rab­bath, Sharon Gan­non, David Life and re­cently Ab­bie Galvin. Al­though most of these teach­ers are based all around the world, Ire­land now has its own host of great teach­ers to be in­spired by, and the scene is re­ally thriv­ing.

WE ALL HAVE THINGS THAT HAVEN’T GONE SMOOTHLY IN LIFE or is­sues we need to work through and re­solve. There are tools we can use. We can learn to ob­serve our­selves; work on our re­la­tion­ship with our­selves, oth­ers and our en­vi­ron­ment; let go of old re­sent­ments; and move for­ward through our lives with­out the bag­gage that can some­times hold us back. These prac­tices have given me con­fi­dence to recog­nise and move to­wards the things I want in both my ca­reer and per­sonal life.

PEO­PLE SOME­TIMES DIS­MISS YOGA AS STRETCHING OR MED­I­TA­TION, when in re­al­ity it can be re­ally de­mand­ing and some­times un­com­fort­able. We can feel our but­tons get­ting pushed and of­ten fall into our usual neg­a­tive self-talk or habit of want­ing to quit and walk away. That’s key – no one grows from be­ing com­fort­able all the time. In fact, they prob­a­bly get a bit com­pla­cent and lethar­gic. These prac­tices are about wak­ing up to life.

I FIND THAT A FEW MIND­FUL MO­MENTS OF GRAT­I­TUDE BE­FORE I START THE DAY has the most im­pact. This could sim­ply be rising slightly ear­lier in the morn­ing and fac­tor­ing in five min­utes to breathe and bring to mind three things you are grate­ful for that day. I also think a body scan med­i­ta­tion in the evening is a bril­liant way to wind down af­ter a hec­tic day. When we are busy and rush­ing through­out our day, we of­ten dis­as­so­ci­ate with our bod­ies, and this is a re­ally re­lax­ing way to come back to a feel­ing of be­ing cen­tred and com­fort­able in our own skin.

WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, the gen­eral rule of thumb is not to eat food two hours be­fore your asana prac­tice, so that your body can fo­cus on mov­ing prana or en­ergy rather than di­gest­ing food. I love av­o­cado on toast af­ter my prac­tice. My big­gest in­dul­gence would be sour­dough bread with home­made nut but­ter and mar­malade in the Fum­bally Café – it’s amaz­ing.

THE ONE AC­TIV­ITY I MAKE SURE TO DO EV­ERY DAY IS YOGA. It could be a work­shop, a one-hour class, a self-prac­tice or sim­ply a few mo­ments of mind­ful move­ment with breath. I’m get­ting into Re­former Pi­lates at the mo­ment since my­self and An­nie Kir­wan opened Re­for­ma­tion. An­nie is an amaz­ing teacher and her en­ergy is in­fec­tious. I also love to cy­cle – we are com­plet­ing the Ring of Beara Cy­cle with Mark Pol­lock in May, which will be fun and chal­leng­ing. Mark is so in­spi­ra­tional, and it’s an honour to get to do some­thing like this on his “Team Un­break­able.” St­ef­fan Fusco is a bril­liant per­sonal trainer that I try to go to, but with open­ing the stu­dio my sched­ule hasn’t al­lowed for it lately – I’ll get back into it when I can. A nice run down the canal is al­ways lovely, es­pe­cially in sum­mer.

Af­ter a ca­reer in cor­po­rate fi­nance, Lee Tracey

dis­cov­ered the joys of yoga, mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion. Now, she teaches oth­ers in Re­for­ma­tion, her new Balls­bridge stu­dio with

co-owner An­nie Kir­wan.

Catch Lee Tracey at Wel­lFest, May 11-12 at the Royal Hos­pi­tal Kil­main­ham, Dublin, wel­lfest.ie. For de­tails on Re­for­ma­tion, visit re­for­ma­tion.ie. @lee­traceylife

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