Sligo has been steadily gaining popularity as a great place to live due to its lively atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. The people of Sligo are proud of their home town, and it’s no wonder why! With an abundance of natural beauty, stunning scenery, delicious food – there’s something for everyone here. But what about our wellbeing? What can we do to take care of ourselves physically AND emotionally?
One might start by looking at the new wellness companies that have sprung up since we were hit by this pandemic. They recognise our need for self-care during difficult times and offer a variety of different services such as yoga sessions or restorative massages along with healthy eating advice. The Sligo wellness movement is alive and kicking! We spoke to some of these new businesses as well as some more established ones, learning from them what life can be like if we take a little time for ourselves.
Sligo Yoga and Meditation.
Louise Waters is a Yoga practitioner and has always had a strong interest in Natural Therapies. She has a passion for hands on therapies and loves to help others. She told us “In 2015 I established my own Sligo wellness business called Louise Waters Natural Therapies. This has been a wonderful journey for me. Originally a mobile Spa business , Louise Waters Natural Therapies has now expanded and found its home in a beautiful Sligo building on Teeling street. I have been continuously expanding my healing modalites and have trained in Ayurvedaic Massage, Sacral/ womb massage, Reiki Master, Kundelini Reiki master and I offer Eminence Organic Facials.
Alongside My Healing modalities I am a long term Yoga Practitioner. I felt particularly drawn to the powerful marriage of breath with movement in the Vinyasa Flow style, so I travelled to India to complete teacher training in Vinyasa Yoga and am certified through Green Lotus Yoga. Drawing from the wisdom of these practices i integrate this deep body mind energy intelligence into My teaching and blend it with the breathe and flow of the Vinyasa System. I am passionate about my teaching and am committed to sharing the tools and trainings that have benefited & supported me. My classes encourage students to develop an embodied practice to enhance their own wellbeing, support their nervous systems and nourish their bodies.“
You can find our more about Louise and her practice here.
Mairead Heffron trained as a yoga teacher in 2007 and has taught yoga and meditation part-time alongside various office jobs in healthcare and international development, in Ireland and abroad. She told us “In 2017 we moved from Dublin to Sligo (and then later just across the border into lovely Leitrim), and this move allowed me to scale back on the ‘office job’ stuff and to do more of what I LOVE, which is teaching Yoga and working with mothers during pregnancy and after. In this past year, my focus has been on providing birth doula support and an online course for Mums which includes mindfulness, meditation, journaling and Yoga and creates a space for community, sharing of stories, experiences and generally providing much-needed support for maternal mental health and wellness. This is more than just a course in mindfulness for mothers… it’s a journey, it’s SPACE to …
- Hit the ‘pause’ button and reflect on your experience of motherhood
- Reduce stress and anxiety with mindfulness/meditation practices, proven to have a positive impact on the nervous system
- Become more aware of your stress-response and learn how to manage difficult emotions and situations (without losing it with the people you love)
- Release tension, relax and energize the body with Yoga – with sequences on energising the body, encouraging deep rest and relieving anxiety
- Sleep better and feel more rested
- Decide on everyday shifts and longer term goals to prioritise self-care
- Feel more present and connected to the people you love
- Use journalling and “writing it out” to work through difficult situations and emotions (it’s not about keeping a diary!)
- Nourish the you that often gets lost amid the busyness of family life
- Connect with other mamas who really get where you’re coming from.
Mairead’s website is www.spacetobreathe.ie where you can sign up for future courses.
Blaithin Sweeney of Your Wellbeing Warrior and Anois Yoga is a well known and very well respected Yoga practitioner in Sligo. We couldn’t write this blog without talking to her and hearing her journey. She said “I started practicing Yoga in Galway when I was completing my Ph.D., I found a Vinyasa flow class and I was instantly hooked. Having studied 10 years to be a synthetic chemist and working my way up in to a project management position, the idea of changing careers to teach Yoga was really just a lunch break daydream for a long time. I completed my yoga teacher training quite soon after a personal tragedy and have no doubt that the complete immersion in the teachings of Yoga at that time is what saved me from falling through the cracks. The practical application of yoga philosophy helped to put a new foundation underneath me and the continued physical practice always manages to bring back to a state of calm, and inner safety.”
You may have attended one of Blaithin’s Yoga sessions on the beaches or mountain tops of Sligo. Of those classes she added “Taking Yoga outdoors and being able to teach in nature is a dream realised for me. Being outdoors and in nature has benefits of its own, whether it’s the invigoration of the ocean, the calm of a lake or the solace of the trees, being in nature grounds us. Which simply means it helps us to be okay with whatever reality we are experiencing. Practicing Yoga in nature deepens our connection to the earth and in effect deepens our connection to ourselves. Connecting to the earth, to nature is essential for our wellbeing as despite how far away into the cosmos we can see it will never change that we are earthly beings, we simply would not exist without it. All healing starts with connection.”
Blaithin also kindly sent us a breath exercise so you can practice at home:
The Extended Exhalation
How to feel connected when out in nature, try this simple breathing exercise. If at work and staring blankly at a screen, rather than remining ‘stuck’ for 20 mins, take 5 mins to find calm and connect with yourself and then get back into your work flow.
Inhale slowly for a count of 4. Exhale at the same pace for a count of 4
Repeat Inhale for 4, Exhale for 4. And again Inhale for 4, exhale for 4.
Now inhale for 4 as before, exhale more slowly so your exhale lasts for a count of 6
Repeat, inhale for 4, exhale for 6. And again, inhale for 4, exhale for 6.
Finally inhale for 4 as a before. This time exhale for 8, slowing the exhale so it lasts for the count of 8
Repeat, inhale for 4, exhale for 8. And again, inhale for 4, exhale for 8.
Finish by taking a few breaths without counting but as best you can lengthen the exhale so it lasts
longer than the inhale. Extending the exhalation is a basic breath technique that has the effect of
calming the nervous system. In this race to first place, try slowing the pace.
Anois Yoga is Sligo’s first completely online Yoga studio. Anois means NOW in Irish, and these Irish gals have worked hard through 2020 to bring you ANOIS YOGA so you can practice whenever your NOW happens.
You can listen to Blaithin and her very recent podcast interview (last week in fact) with Sligo.Life here.
Wellness Inspiration Online From Sligo
A recent start-up in the Sligo wellness business community is The Wellness Pod, an eCommerce shop offering a collection of wellness, sustainable and eco-friendly products. Commenting on the launch, founder Emma Mulrooney said: “The Wellness Pod was created in 2017 by an idea I put on paper whilst doing an entrepreneur course called “Soulpreneurs” in Australia. At the time I was recovering from a major illness and although fitness had always been part of my life, I started to look at other areas that would assist in my healing and help bring the wellness of life to others.
Emma continued “I returned to Sligo nearly 3 years ago and love the outdoors , slower pace of life and community feel. On returning to Sligo it was so great to see the growing wellness community. I love to run and there are so many beautiful trails here. It will be lovely to see all the fitness and yoga studios open their doors again and all the healthy culinary eateries , as we raise Sligo’s profile as a wellness corner of the west (and beyond)‘.
The Wellness Pod website features five wellness pods; Home, Body, Beauty, Nourish and Movement. Each collection features a selection of curated products. The brand is supported by a community element including Instagram Live sessions with wellness experts such as Miriam Kerins Hussey, Good4U Dietician Michelle Butler and the Self-Care Coach Katie Donohue.
Life and Leadership Coaching
Wellbeing and mindfulness is now being recognised widely in the business world. Content employees make for a much happier and productive work environment and companies are keen to ensure their staff are supported. Fran Best of Lissawell Coaching is a Leadership and Executive Coach. In her interview on the Sligo.Life podcast she told us “We support new startup businesses, inspire existing businesses to embrace corporate wellbeing, resilience, and drive profitability by improving your customer’s experiences. Together we can work to alleviate anxieties returning to work, find the right job for you & ensure that you are confident and interview & presentation ready to empower your audience.”
Fran also has a real love for Sligo, she added “I love the peace, a sense of wellness, and calmness of Sligo.The genuineness of the smiles of the people you meet on the beach, the quality of delicious food in the North-West. I have developed a new sense of gratitude for the beauty around me, the beach in Lissadell, Cliffoney beach, Streedagh beach, a walk-in Raughley, Benbulben forest walk, and the endless opportunities for adventure.I love being able to enjoy a walk in between clients and reset with family and friends.” You can listen to the podcast here.
John Graham from John G Coaching was also a recent guest on the Sligo.Life podcast . He told us “Most of my work is aimed at helping people have a better relationship with thoughts and emotions. Working with people one to one but also working with groups & businesses. Most people are caught up in focussing on what we need to do to feel better rather than prioritising how we want to feel. It’s not about me saying ‘do this to feel this’ because that’s not realistic. It’s about pointing in a direction or asking questions so that whoever I’m working with can become aware of their own experience. It’s all about self awareness and exploration of that. Recognising that part of us which is already at peace & all that springs from being in that space.” Listen to the podcast here.
Listed below are a few book titles John gave us to help with that exploration. All of the books are available from Liber in Sligo.
- A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
- Shift Into Freedom – Loch Kelly
- Liberation Is – Salvadore Poe
- Being Aware Of Being Aware – Ruper Spira
- Beyond Mindfulness – Stephan Bodian
Also John hosts guided mediation sessions, which we have attended – they’re brilliant, and he’s given us a recording of a session. Also included is a form where you can ask him meditation related questions. Give the session a go, you can’t get it wrong. Link is below.
Sligo Health Food
We definitely all enjoy indulging and treating ourselves when it comes to eating but the emergence and success of the health food businesses show how Sligo people are becoming more aware of the importance and connection between food and their wellbeing. The health food shops are always bustling, tir na nog carries a wonderful selection of herbal teas and eco products. The Sligo Wellness Centre serves delicious and nutritious takeaway food and the vegan restaurant Sweet Beat is a local favourite. Not forgetting the Saturday markets crammed with organic food and veg likely grown a stones throw away.
Just writing this blog has made us feel healthier ha ha! We haven’t even managed to cover half of the wonderful Sligo businesses that are focussed on our health and wellbeing. But this is a good start to show you how and where. It’s never too late to start on your own wellness journey. Good luck. 🙂