Ever wonder what it’s like to be a yoga teacher? Is it as relaxing as being in a yoga class? Well were gonna find out today!
Today I’m talking to Niamh Barry, a fellow Irish woman, who is pursuing her passions in yoga. She is a beautiful human and I am so excited to share her story and give you an insight into what its like to be a yoga teacher! Enjoy!
Hi Niamh! I’m so glad you’re with us here today! So, can you explain your current career? What is a typical “Day in Your Work Life” like? What are the working conditions like (Stress, Pace, Physical Comfort, Travel, Environment, Relocation, Hours, Routine vs. Crisis, etc.)?
I am a full-time yoga teacher and also studying a BA in philosophy. As you can imagine my typical day is quite varied and very unlikely to be the same as the day before, however, between lectures and my set weekly classes,I have a relatively consistent routine. I generally teach seven yoga classes per week in different studio spaces around Dublin city centre, and I take six lectures per week in Trinity College Dublin. Sounds like the dream – and it is for the most part! However, I generally have long gaps in my days between classes and lectures which I do my best to fill with study (but mostly coffee!) and this can be tiring at times. I wouldn’t change it for the world, and now that I have settled into my role as a teacher outside of college it has become easier to find a balance between both.
Caught mid adventure on our first @galzgonewild_ trip by the wonderful @sophiatamburrini . I can't help but think and reflect – as the nights begin to close and the Autumnal breeze sifts through the air – what a summer it has been. Little did I know even just a short few months ago that any of this would have manifested and flourished just as it has. What a journey it has been to meet all of you amazing women and collaborate with the amazing @discodiscoboots. It's all so new yet so wonderful and only in the days following do I realise just how special an adventure it has been. Thank you to all of you for your support and here's hoping that this adventure continues to grow and bloom 🙏🏻✨ . . #outdoors #outdoorlife #outdoorwomen #yoga #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #yogateacher #tree #friends #nature #naturalhabitat #support #friendship #mindfulness #flowvibes
What skills or abilities do you think are essential in your job?
There are many skills that are essential to my role as a teacher – and they apply to my life both on and off the mat! Most importantly, I believe that the cultivation of honesty and integrity in one’s work is the most significant skill in itself. On a more practical level, the ability to practice self-care is of the utmost importance for any teacher – I genuinely believe that if we cannot give to ourselves, then we certainly cannot expect to give good energy out to others. I try my best to follow daily self-care practices that bring me into a good-feeling place from where I can teach. There is also a lot to be said for time-keeping and preparation – the old saying “fail to prepare and prepare to fail” rings in my ears. I take some time before each class to create a general plan and then teach according to the students in my room and my energy on the day. However, I allow space for change in my sequences so that I can ensure all students feel safe and supported when they are in my class.
What are the most and least rewarding aspects of your job?
I like to say that I see only rewards in the work that I do. Any teaching role is naturally rewarding – I have formed many friendships and bonds with people from all walks of life during my time as both a teacher and student of yoga. I have cultivated connections with students who attend my classes regularly, and it is a joy to watch them learn and grow in both themselves and their practice over time. I have learned so much about myself during this process, and I am forever growing as I continue to develop as a teacher. My job requires a lot of energy as I find myself becoming more sensitive to the energy and emotions of people around me, and that can be very difficult at times. But those days when I end a class and don’t feel one hundred percent satisfied with the quality of my teaching, there always seems to be at least one person that comes up to thank me and that always lifts my mood. It can be so easy to criticize yourself in this kind of a role, but I like to transform negative thoughts by reminding myself that if I teach every class with the highest good of each student in mind, then it has been beneficial to them on some level. It is challenging work of course, but within every challenge,there is a lesson to learn and an opportunity for growth. If we can remind ourselves of that, then every experience becomes a reward.
#Repost @cathyburkee ・・・ Meditating to the sound of nature last Autumn🍂 . . . At home with @galzgonewild 🌿 . . . #35mm #film #nature #meditation #yogatraining #yogaeverywhere #yogaeveryday #yogaindublin #yogateacher #holistic #fitness #strength #training #mindfulness #flowvibes #campinglife #naturepolis #campingtrip #naturepic #earthpics #adventureawaits #outdoorliving #treestagram #adventurevisuals #nature #naturallife #adventuretime #hikertrash #igersdublin #galzgonewild #flowvibes
Do you have a morning ritual that sets you up on a high vibe for the day?
I am obsessed with morning rituals! At one point in time, I tried to squeeze a lot of things into my morning before I started my day – work out, yoga, meditation, etc. However, I have recently found that a simple, pared-back morning routine is more beneficial for me, and I follow that as much as I can. I start every morning with some tea or coffee (no other rituals can begin without this one first!), and then I move slowly into my morning, some days I might practice yoga, some days I am out quickly to teach a 7 a.m class. Every morning I try to enjoy the first hour of the day device free, and I light a candle as I get ready. However, increasingly I am starting to realize that the power in my morning begins the night before. I spend my evening preparing myself for the next day and taking time to wind down before bed. I switchoff all devices at least one hour before bed, and I meditate most evenings – whether sitting or lying down to send myself to sleep.
Would you choose this career if you could make the decision again? What (if anything) would you do differently?
I would certainly choose to follow this career because I feel so fulfilled when I teach a class, and every class gives me an opportunity to grow in myself and as a teacher. There is so much to learn, and I have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg which is such an exciting prospect to me. It is so in line with my interests and with my heart, and I believe that this path will carry me far in life because it allows me to work on the development of myself while also helping others along the way. The work that I do allows me to live in line with my morals and gives me an opportunity to dictate my time which is such a blessing. It is difficult at times as I am entirely responsible for any mistakes that I make and it can be lonely because I spend so much time traveling to and from studios, planning classes and studying, but it is my passion and so worth it.
"Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains." ~ John Muir . . . . #ggwtribe #yoga #yogatraining #yogaeverywhere #yogaeveryday #yogadublin #fitness #strength #training #mindfulness #flowvibes #campinglife #naturepolis #campingtrip #adventuremobile #naturepic #earthpics #adventureawaits #outdoorliving #treestagram #adventurevisuals #nature #naturallife #adventuretime #hiker #hikertrash #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #namaste
Did you know you wanted to do this when you were in school?
I had no idea that this is what I would end up doing with my life when I was in school! Indeed,there were clues along the way – I had a deep interest in all matters spiritual and metaphysical, I tried my hand at public speaking, and I spent fifteen years of my life dancing and performing. All of these interest came together most beautifully and has led me to where I am now.
What do you wish you knew (but didn’t) when you first contemplated this career?
As incredible as it is to work on my terms and to control my schedule I would tell myself that it is a lot of hard work! Sometimes we look at others in a dream role and think that all of our problems would be solved if only our lives were like that! Disclaimer: This is a habit of our human nature! It is never going to be that easy! Although we can certainly love what we do, I find it difficult to agree with the saying that “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life” because the reality is always going to be sobering. If we get an opportunity to turn our passions into our professions then suddenly they become the “work.” This kind of career can quickly become all-consuming when you have no constraints on the time you give to it, and that can be draining. It took me a while to learn that a work-life balance is even more imperative when you work for yourself because you never really ‘clock-out.’However, I would never trade it in for the day job in retail or the office and I feel so blessed to pursue a career that truly has my best interests at heart.
What High School subjects have you found to be most applicable/important for your occupation?
This is a tricky question to answer because more than anything I believe that it has been the teachers of specific subjects that have influenced me more than the content of the subject they taught. I can be easily swayed by the people around me and find human nature the most fascinating subject! I regularly read books about successful mentors and figureheads, I am obsessed with personal development theories and techniques, and I try to learn something from everyone who is an active personality or presence in my life – whether positive or negative! The teachers that I connected with strongly in school taught me more about life from their individual mannerisms and teaching-style than the content matter of their subjects. That stands out to me more than anything else.
#Repost @galzgonewild_ ・・・ ✨She stumbles, they catch her- holding her up. Another struggles, she’s surrounded by the love shes given out. It’s a circle of women, giving, taking and growing and it is within that circle she finds her place✨👭A GGWTRIBE- so much more than outdoor adventure❤️🙏🏽 #qotd #quotes #53degreesnorth #womenempowerment #womenwhosupportwomen #womenwhoinspire #girlgang #girlswhohike #womenwhohike #ggwtribe #galzgonewild #outdoors #nature #explore #adventure #ireland #wicklow #circleoffriends #friends #love #yoga #yogainspiration #outdoorfun
What was the best work experience you did for your future?
I was in a theatre school for fifteen years throughout my childhood and teenage years, so any work experience I performed within the school helped me the most for my future – from teaching younger students to helping out backstage at shows – it gave me the confidence to coach others and allowed me to move into a teaching role.
What Colleges(unis)/courses/coaching do you recommend for pursuing an education leading to this occupation? Do you need any specific requirement, degree or license to practice this?
A general yoga teacher training course consists of a 200hr certification in which you learn the fundamentals of anatomy, teaching techniques, self-care routines, traditional yoga theory, and philosophy while taking both practical and theoretical exams. It is full on, and a lot of these courses can taken in a four-week intensive structure. I completed my initial training over the course of ten-months which allowed me to progress in my own practice and build up a more significant base of knowledge over time. Initially, I undertook training to learn more about the practice in general because I was so fascinated with each class I took so the ten-month span was perfect for me! However, if you are a long-standing practitioner of yoga and feel like it is time to take the next step into a teaching role, a more intensive course might be more suitable if you can take time off!
What is the next big goal you are working on?
Apart from finishing my degree, my next big goal is more creatively centred. I have so many ideas ready and waiting to be acted upon which I will begin to do over the Summer! I have ambitions to create online content and to pursue a path in creative writing – I have always loved writing and art, so I am working on a way to merge all of my interests in one creative platform. If I can achieve that over the next few years, I will feel so fulfilled with my career choice.
What is one of the best lessons you have learned along your journey?
Time is of the essence, but it is not the enemy. I have felt so restricted in many ways this year because of a strange relationship I have developed with time. I never feel like I have enough of it, yet often find myself wondering what exactly I have done with the time I have. We have to find ways to structure our time for productivity while also leaving it open to spontaneity! I am still working on cracking this code. However, I have realized that I probably get more done in a day than I give myself credit for; a lot of the work I do never really ‘ends’ so I have to commend myself for all of the little achievements every day. It’s all too easy to create endless to-do lists, but I find that this kind of habit is the enemy of productivity. So, in summary: Celebrate the small wins and go easy on yourself for not getting everything done! Enjoy the journey and forget about the destination because there will always be somewhere else to go when we arrive at our self-prescribed destinations.
Do you have an all-time favourite book that has shaped your life now?
There have been so many books that have influenced me along my journey and that have helped to shape my life now. I guess the one that stands out the most is a book called “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass (aka Richard Alpert). I’ll let you discover the other-worldliness of Ram Dass but he is one of my all-time inspirations, and this book is so special – from its content to its layout it could not be more perfectly designed and it emanates pure love and spirit through every page. As Ram would say, it is ‘a trip’ through the depths of human nature and provides a clear insight into the more profound and metaphysical aspects of life. My kind of book!
What is the best investment you have made in your career and your life?
Investing in my first yoga teacher training!
Finally to end things off, what is the one thing you wish people would do more of?
In a world that is so focused on achievement and productivity, we find ourselves constantly ‘doing’ – even when we think we are relaxing we are ‘doing’ – whether reading, watching tv, listening to a podcast, etc. Whenever the brain stimulated our mind is busy, and we are expending energy – both physically and mentally. It is imperative in this time of life that people learn how to slow down and consciously stop. From personal experience, I now see the benefit in committing to a consistent meditation practice to combat this habit. All forms of meditative practices work to cultivate and preserve energy in the body – there are many different techniques, but there is a method for everyone – we simply need to be open to trying these practices and be patient when trying to find the right one. For some of us it’s yoga, for others it might be music, dance, physical movement, etc. Find a practice that takes you out of your ‘head’ and pursue that as fully as you can.
Back to work after that beautiful weekend. Now waiting for the sky to spit back those three months of rain and snow it’s just absorbed from the soil… it was good while it lasted 🌝 but there is so much to look forward to in these coming months – new workshop and class announcements coming soon! In the mean time I’m burrowing into the realm of abstract philosophy but luckily l also have yin yoga training with @risespiritsoul to look forward to this weekend 😍 can’t stop and probably won’t stop I like to have many things on the go. It has caused me stress in the past but now I’m beginning to accept this fleeting mind of mine and things still get done well in the end 🤗 wearing @underarmourwomen and listening to: transition by @atelje_ 🎧 favourite mat by @byoganow ❤️ . . . . #yoga #fitness #strength #training #mindfulness #flowvibes #naturallife #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #namaste #practice #strength #fitness #irishfitfam #body #training #mindovermatter #dance #movementculture #flowvibes #ireland #irelandtravel #sea #dublin #letsstartyoga
Wow I learnt a lot! What about you? It seems, just like with any career, their are good and bad parts to it. The only way you will know if this career is truly right for you is to try it out! Shadow an instructor for a few weeks! What have you got to lose?
I want to say a big thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me Niamh and I wish all the best of luck in your creative endeavours to come!
I would love to know from you, reader, how long you have been practising yoga and what you like the most about doing yoga. Also let me know what your favourite part of the interview was! Leave it in the comments below.
Lots of love,
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