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Continuation of journey from rubbish jobs to finding purpose


Monica Strina performing camel pose on the beach
Camel Pose on Poetto Beach


This is the continuation of my journey from rubbish jobs to finding purpose! As I was saying in the previous post, while pregnant I started Prenatal Yoga and ... I did not like it!

Well, the Yoga was great. The problem was that before it started, there were about 45 minutes of chatting about pregnancy belts, hospitals, buggies, all of which was very interesting, but I desperately needed to move, and the remaining 30 minutes were not enough for me! (That is why, now I also teach Prenatal Yoga, I make sure that 3/4 of the class is about movement. If you had wanted to sit still for ages, you would have stayed at home!!)

I had the normal aches and pains of pregnancy, but because I was carrying twins, I really wanted to make sure I moved safely. I left that class and reverted to swimming and walking instead, until, late in the pregnancy, I found some very good online Prenatal Yoga classes that suited me.

I was blessed to give birth to healthy twin boys!

And then things got really, really, really difficult. Harder than they had ever been in my life (I will talk about this in a separate post).

Because I was recovering from a Caesarean birth and also moved from Dublin to Southampton when the babies were only two months´ old, it took quite a while before I could return to Yoga. My core felt non-existent, my body as if it was no longer mine. I had lost all confidence and I was badly (really badly) sleep deprived.

Luckily, I landed in Meeta Raichura´s class in Portsmouth. Meeta is a powerful, fun, knowledgeable and friendly teacher who helped me rediscover my love of Yoga and movement. She lay upside down on my back while I was doing Downward Dog. She picked me up and shook me by the ankles. She got me to stay in Frog Pose for something like 10 minutes (ouch!).

My idea of becoming a teacher, which had come from the little seed of someone just mentioning such a possibility ages before, started coming back. But my children were still too young for that to happen, so I kept practising, and I went back to editing Irish interest books for Mercier Press, which I really enjoyed doing.

I was kept alive in Southampton by my Yoga practice and by a group of wonderful women who became sisters and mothers to me, and whom I will never be able to thank enough, as well as thanks to some visits from my Mum who travelled from Italy and indefatigably washed clothes, fed babies, and came on buggy walks around the campus.

When the children were 4 years old, we returned to Dublin, and finally my moment arrived. Well, I had to push a little bit. It was not that easy. But at the start of 2019 I enrolled on a teacher´s training at Yoga Hub in Camden Street. I remember sending a vocal message to my niece saying, "Oh my God, what have I done? I spent so much money on this and it might be a mistake."

Funny how things turn out, and how wrong our fears can be! That was the best decision I ever took, as I would later discover.

During the course, while I studied, reflected, and practised, as well as afterwards, many things I had not understood started becoming clearer. Yoga was not just movement. Much as I adore movement, that was not the only reason Yoga made me feel so well. It was a way of stilling the mind, of staying in the moment, of stopping obsessing about every little thing. It was a path towards kindness to myself and others. It was a journey into myself, which will continue forever, and has already uncovered many important things, not all of them easy, but so worth it. It was a way to calm myself down when frustrated so I could treat other people well. It was a validation of my deeply rooted knowledge that my body is mine only, that I am worthy of respect, that I matter, that I have a purpose, that I am whole.

All of this created such overwhelming happiness I did not know was possible.

Once I graduated, I started teaching in the sunroom of a house we were renting at the time. I was very lucky to have a venue from where to start. I did a trial class with a group of friends first, before graduation, and that was the first time I actually felt I might like teaching Yoga. It went so well and I felt elated. Then, in January 2020 (just a couple of months before the start of the pandemic!) I started teaching some of the mothers from my children´s school, some friends, some people who saw my little sign in the driveway and came along. I will eternally be grateful to these people for trusting me. Some of them still practise with me, and it is such an honour for me!

The sense of wellness, happiness and wholeness that came from these classes was so enormous I was almost scared. Things like compulsive eating, depressive thoughts, aimlessness, which had affected me for years while I worked rubbish jobs, magically dissolved. I did not know this could be possible. Gradually, I understood what the reason was. I had found purpose. I was actually here for a reason. I could do something that helped others and, in the process, myself. The gifts I felt I had but seemed to have no use for started forming a tapestry I could finally understand. My smile was so big it met at the back of my head!

Many difficulties awaited with the pandemic, an unexpected surgery, and another house move, but now I had an anchor, and I was not going to cut the rope that kept me tethered to it. My ikigai. My dharma. My purpose.


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Gwen, that´s SO lovely, thank you! I could say exactly the same about you, with the hardships you went through and your amazing talent. You are the first person who made me feel welcome in Dartry. I will never forget!

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It's so great to hear your back story Monica. You come across as such a positive, whole, happy and balanced person that it's hard to believe you've had hard times. Of course, everyone has their story. Some have more chapters than others and I'm looking forward to reading more about yours. I'm so glad you found yoga. You're a natural and radiate sunshine and positivity as well as keeping our bodies supple and strong. All I can say is THANK YOU for being you! :-)

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