I realise I have not shared much of my back story in this website, and that people might wish to know a bit more about me, Monica Strina, before embarking on one of the classes I teach in Baker´s Corner. So I plan to tell you something about me in each post ...
I started practising Yoga in my early thirties, during a very stressful time when I understood I had to do something to actively promote relaxation.
Before that, I would have told you that Yoga was too boring for me (without even having tried it!) I loved high-impact sports such as figure skating (which I practised for years), aerobics, and kick-boxing, as well as martial arts and hip hop dancing. I wrecked my left knee in the course of all this but kept going until I finally realised it was time to slow down.
In those days I used to absolutely hate my job, which made me deeply miserable. I have a high-honour degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and a masters degree in Creative Writing, and all I wanted to do was write and publish, but that was not paying the bills. I ended up doing soul-destroying jobs such as call centre, data entry, these kinds of things ... I felt I little greyer and sadder every day, for years. I was also travelling from Bray into Dublin city centre, which took me ages and finally convinced me to cycle about 25km a day to go to work ... so none of my big dreams was working out, and I felt stuck. I felt like I could not change things. I felt, honestly, a bit desperate.
I met Yoga at this time, and I must admit ... I did not like my first class at all! The teacher, who I think was still finding her feet, straight away told me "No, that´s wrong, not like that!". Really? In Yoga? Also, poor Ego!
Nonetheless I persisted (probably because those classes were free in the company where I was working) and little by little something started happening. I would come out of the practice feeling better. Feeling rested. And though it would be years (!!) before I understood the reasons behind this shift, it meant that I was forever hooked ... Finally, a change!
After that, I found some wonderful places with great teachers who really helped me get more into Yoga, such as Matt Quigley (Yoga Hub, which at the time was a tiny room in the city centre), Olwyn Kearns (Yoga Dublin), Rionagh O´Flynn, Orla Fitzgerald and Siona (Greystones Yoga) and discovered that, though I loved every style I tried, my heart was caught by Vinyasa Yoga, a dynamic pracice with varied sequences. I started to practice several times a week, and it kept getting better and better ... I then took a break from full-time work as, even though I did not understand it for a long time, I was probably burnt out. I wanted to have children before I got into my late thirties and it took time. During this break, I continued a kind of work I had started while in full-time employment: freelance editing. Here was something that connected me to books, my first and greatest love, and allowed me to work from home, although the money aspect was not great.
When I became pregnant with my twin boys, I stopped my Vinyasa classes and started Prenatal Yoga. A new kind of journey was starting for me ...
More to come in the next episode!
Photography: Rita Piludu