Graduate Blog Post – Orla Thornton

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After a busy summer preparing for and completing my Yoga Teacher training, I am currently teaching in the Presentation College in Carlow as a Physical Education and Irish teacher. I finished my ‘Art of Teaching’ Yoga Teacher training in Yoga Dublin this August under the guidance of Sibylle Dallmann and Naomi Sturdy and I began teaching yoga soon afterwards – all of the knowledge and teaching practices were certainly fresh in my mind!

At the moment I teach a yoga class at the stunning ‘Carlow Mandala Yoga Studio’ on Friday night with thanks to Aggie Wachowska. This class is quite popular with my students as it is an ideal method to wind down towards the end of the week and enter the weekend feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Thus far, I absolutely adore teaching yoga. It is both fulfilling and rewarding to witness students progress from week to week. After a relatively short time being involved with the practice, they are really learning to move with their own bodies ability and are learning to switch off from any external worries or issues during class time. I find it has a calming effect on me as I deliver the class. During those last few moments observing my students drift into Savasana, it becomes a silent meditation for me, too. 
Teaching can be an intense profession, thus I find that my practice really helps me to relax after a long day at work. I deliver a class to staff members every Wednesday after school which provides a space for them to unwind too. There are members of staff who attend regularly and find that it helps them to relax and rejuvenate before going home or settling into their evening, whilst also finishing their day with some precise and gentle movement.

Through the practice and teaching of yoga, I believe I am much more aware of the students in front of me in school and the difficulties they may be experiencing. I also try to incorporate some yoga postures into the warm up routine for some of my PE classes which the students enjoy. I have taught Bakasana (Crow Pose) to some year groups, which brought with it a fun element of challenge to the class. My transition year group are currently completing a yoga course as part of their PE curriculum and have learned to take some timeout for themselves during this part of their day. In the New Year, sixth year students will be given the option to complete yoga for a number of weeks in their PE class.
I make a conscious effort to encourage my students, particularly those in sixth year, to ensure that they are exercising regularly and taking time out for themselves. It can often be a very stressful year in their lives as they undertake the Leaving Certificate Examination and are faced with some difficult decisions regarding college or employment choices after school.
In addition to this, I hope to run some lunchtime yoga classes for students in the coming months. I hope that this shall encourage students to become more in tune with their own wellbeing as we enter a New Year.

Having immersed myself in an intensive yoga teacher training, I feel it has truly helped with my ability to deal with a hectic day or a tough situation. I try to deal with issues or difficulties in the moment now rather than allowing myself to worry or become overly stressed about things that are beyond my control. Since completing my training, I continue my daily practice and I feel this has become an integral part of my daily routine to keep me grounded and balanced for whatever my day may bring.

I hope to keep building on my knowledge of yoga teaching by maintaining my own daily practice and continuing to attend regular yoga classes, student workshops and professional development workshops. Yoga has become a cornerstone of my lifestyle in so many ways – it keeps me centred, focused and keeps my body flexible and mobile. I hope that through my teaching and love for the practice, that I can continue share the magic of yoga with others.