Sara started to practice yoga in 2000 and is a certified Iyengar teacher since 2007. She trained in Dublin with the Iyengar Yoga Association UK, under Grainne Gilleece. Since then she has taught yoga part-time in various locations in Galway city and county. Sara has attended many intensive retreats and workshops with Senior Iyengar teachers, in particular Rajiv and Swati Chanchani - both in the foothills of the Himalayas in north India, and on their international visits to Europe.
Iyengar yoga has given Sara a passion for safe, alignment focused yoga and an appreciation for accurate and clear instruction. Iyengar training has also helped Sara’s understanding of how to use props to help students experience the benefits of a pose, whether to deepen a pose, help students access a pose or support a student to rest deeply.
As a naturally curious and enquiring yogini, Sara has also engaged passionately and critically with other schools of yoga. She has a Yoga Therapy Teacher Training certificate from Yoga Vidya Dham, South India where she had practical training in the tradition of Satyananda in various pranayama and meditation techniques including yoga nidra, mudra and cleansing techniques. After the birth of her first child, Sara trained as a pregnancy yoga teacher under the renowned Uma Dinsmore Tuli (of Sitaram Yoga) in London. She has also studied Yoga Nidra and Womb Yoga with Uma Dinsmore Tuli, and received a Yin Yoga Foundations Module Teacher Training in June 2018 from Josh Summers. She is a certiffied Pilates Teacher with PTTI (2020) with Susan Church and is currently studying to teach Yoga for the Stages of Menopause with Niamh Daly of Yinstinct Yoga.
Sara teaches Alignment Based Hatha Yoga in Salthill, Galway (Yoga Darsana @ the Old Driving Range), Restorative pop-up classes and seasonal weekend workshops. Sara’s teaching style is clear and informed. Her weekly classes are always varied, and blend a strong and steady alignment based practice, with slower more restorative poses, pranayama and deep relaxation. She ensures that each student’s needs are met in a safe and comfortable environment.
Sara is also a Yoga for Kids teacher (trained with YTTC, 2011) She teaches Yoga classes as an after school activitiy at Yoga Darsana @ the Old Driving Range in Salthill. Kids yoga classes introduce children to yoga in a simple, structured and uniquely effective way that help children calm themselves and feel happy. Children learn the basic postures and concepts of yoga in a fun and supportive environment. She also runs Kids Yoga and Art Summer Camps.
Sara has joined forces with Iyengar teacher Tara Duffy in 2022 to bring Yoga to the Teens of Galway! This new class runs on Saturdays at 12.30 and is growing steadily. Teenagers are really loving the end of week release after a long week at school. The combination of movement, breath and relaxation helps them really relax and wind down.
Sara has been a primary school teacher in Galway Educate Together National School (GETNS) since 2006 and has several years experience teaching yoga to the children here. She currently works on the Special Education Team as a ‘floating Yoga teacher’ and contributes 8 hours to each class group from 1st – 6th, ensuring each class from 1st-6th class will receive a weekly 60 minute allocation for a 4 week block during the school year.
Sara took part in Intensive Special Yoga for Special Children Training (The Special Yoga Foundation UK,2017) where she learned the benefits of yoga as a therapeutic intervention and how to adapt it for chosen populations. She acquired a toolset to set up a Special Yoga Therapy programme in her school. She teaches Special Yoga Therapy to individual children in the school with more complex needs in a one-to-one setting. She completed Part 2 of Special Yoga Training in April 2019 and is now a certified Special Yoga Practitioner. As part of this programme, resource teachers, SNAs and parents (when possible) are empowered to use the yoga tools themselves to work with the children on their own.
Yoga in School Programme
The Yoga in School Programme was created in 2016 for the students of Galway Educate Together National School so that every child, regardless of age, gender, size, shape and ability would be able to avail of yoga in a supportive, non-competitive, and inclusive way that is both fun and empowering.
The Yoga in Schools Programme is a physical and mental health education programme, that aims to promote a more relaxed, comfortable state of being and support the child’s social and emotional learning through yoga.
The yoga classes take place in a small group setting which helps children feel more at ease, allows for more individualised instruction, and allows the teacher to ensure safety while practising postures. With less distractions, children learn to ‘stay in the moment’.
It meets many of the objectives of the SPHE curriculum, along with some objectives of the PE, English, Maths, SESE, Drama, Art and the ET Ethical Curriculum.
Within the YIS programme, we cater for children with more complex needs by offering a structured, tailored and inclusive individualised Yoga Therapy programme. This practical programme is seen as a therapeutic aid for the child, and gives the adult working with the child (SNA or parent) the confidence and skills to purposefully use the tools of yoga, on-going with the child.
Galway Educate Together Philosophy of the ‘Three-Legged Stool’ & The YIS Programme:
The YAS Programme supports the three legged stool in the following ways:
Cognitive Development: better concentration and focus for task work; reduces stress; helps children assimilate knowledge learned; enthusiasm for school participation; improves quality and duration of sleep.
Social Collaboration: enhances peer-to-peer relationships through paired work; de-emphasizes belief in stereotypes (e.g. ‘gender’/’ability’/athletic’); increases endorphins which elevates mood and positive emotions; non-competitive; encourages all children to explore their full range of abilities; dissolves social barriers.
Personal Growth: helps to develop the journey of inner discovery -builds self-esteem & self confidence; develops self-regulation strategies; reduces anxiety and stress; reduces levels of obesity; helps develop inner peace and calm, develops movement skills; increases body awareness, helps to develop a life-long interest in wellness.
Sara’s Personal Teaching Approach
- I encourage students to practice treating themselves and others with acceptance and kindness
- I offer a brief introduction to a select few aspects of yoga, specifically: poses, breathing, meditation/mindfulness, relaxation, visualisations, affirmations and values from the green wall.
- I accept and honour the possibility that some students, teachers, and parents/guardians may not support the programme and may limit or prevent some students’ participation.
- As an experienced yoga teacher, I can hold a safe space where students are encouraged and supported as they explore many yoga poses.
See more on: https://getns.weebly.com/healthy-minds.html