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