Yoga’s a great stress-reliever – but it’s just not for me!



As I mentioned last week, we’re currently undergoing the painful process of moving house. As you can imagine readers, things are pretty stressful. Friends and family have been a great help, (offering advice, not offering to assist with the actual moving of our precious items, but that’s probably down to me being a pedantic aul bint). And while I know everyone has my best interests at heart – or maybe they’re just sick of listening to me moaning and whinging, (you’re feeling hubby’s pain aren’t you?) – if one more person suggests I take up yoga “ta help with all d’ stress an’ dat,” I’m going to get them a hugger mugger yoga mat and stick it where the sun don’t shine! And breathe.

  Many years ago, because my former work colleagues were shocked, horrified and bewildered I’d managed to avoid ever taking a class, I tried yoga. It was when I lived in Dublin, working five days a week on live TV; and, during a demanding six-week fitness strand I was producing, (in the interest of research), I dragged on my non-slip socks and headed for the RTE gym. Well, believe it or not folks, attending those yoga classes and exercising at such a snail’s pace actually stressed me out! Yes, I hated it; especially when the Yogi (teacher), who was clearly on a macho ego trip the day he informed me he wouldn’t take “I can’t” for an answer, smirked and instructed his spray tanned little pet, (a set of bones in a pair of impossibly skin tight yoga shorts and sports bra) to annoyingly demonstrate an Adho Mukha Vrksasana, before ordering me to do it in front of the entire class. It’s a handstand, or as those in the know might describe it, a downward facing tree pose; (I think). Either way, pulling myself up to my full 5’ height, I raised my head and looked Yogi straight in the eye and refused to do it. I mean, nobody has ever Instagrammed themselves wearing faded leggings and their husband’s old t-shirt while trying to stretch like a graceful kitty-cat but instead ending up looking as awkward and sweaty as Donald Trump attending a Miss Universe pageant, now have they? So, following a stand-off, myself  and the frustrated Yogi mutually agreed I was way too rigid – and incessantly irritating (well, my primary school teacher didn’t brand me ‘extremely vocal’ for nothing) for the rest of his students, and, when my fee was refunded, I colourfully Namaste’d myself out of his course and, I’d say, to his relief,  out of his life.

  Look, I’m certainly not slagging off yoga…I’ve got the greatest respect for it, because I believe it’s a wonderful exercise, and I understand it provides amazing health benefits for those who truly embrace and enjoy it. But, alas for me, a woman who is both time and patience poor, and who accepts that my true life’s calling is never to remain silent for an entire hour, petrified to sneeze for fear I’ll interrupt a dedicated fitness follower’s concentration as they search for their path to enlightenment, my de-stressing tool is to  meet with friends and have a loud laugh. I mean, is it so wrong that I prefer to realign my spiritual self by the only means that makes any sense to me whatsoever, and in the only language I fully understand, which is, to sit on a high barstool and order a few G&Ts from an understanding Roscommon bartender whilst having the craic with friends?

  So, to those readers who enjoy yoga, and to those who teach it, I doff my cap to you. To my well-meaning friends and family, thank you for having my welfare in mind, but while I know every yoga experience is different, and, while I did desperately (once, last week) try to clear my mind and focus on my breathing, it’s crystal clear to me that I’m just a woman who can’t sit still nor, sadly for you all, who won’t shut up. Namaste.

Rooskey is not racist!

Let me state here and now folks that Roscommon, and (as it has the misfortune to be profiled in the news for all the wrong reasons lately), Rooskey, is full to the brim of decent, hard-working, genuinely good people. As one unnamed resident rightly pointed out, and I believe her, the people who live in Rooskey are not racist. I’ll say that again, I believe Rooskey is not racist. And, while I’m no Miss Marple, I’d have to suggest that whatever calibre of individual is behind the attempts to allegedly sabotage the Shannon Key West Hotel, which, we all know, has been earmarked as a location for a direct provision centre, is not from the area, rather it’s some pathetic pyromaniac outsider(s) hell-bent on causing damage to both a building and to the good people of Rooskey’s reputation, and the rest of Ireland and the world needs to realise this.

  When I moved to Roscommon, the transition was extremely tough. I missed Dublin. I pined for it; and I’ve never made a secret of this. I was so upset by the whole move from my family in Dublin; I temporarily retreated from life here, while, on the other hand, my happy-go-lucky, used-to-uprooting-and-living-around-the-world hubby, thrived. However, it was through making friends with the warm, friendly Roscommon locals, and through writing for this family-friendly, and family-owned, community publication that softened me and made me realise that yes, I can not only live here, I can thrive too.

  Now, according to reports, last weekend’s protest saw a number of unsettling confrontations spring up between different, let’s say ‘factions’ among the protesters, which included unsavoury verbal insults being bandied about. However, even though I have absolutely zero links to Rooskey, I have full confidence that those who’re set to seek asylum there will not only be welcomed, they’ll also be safe and secure.

  Why? Because the locals are decent people who’ll show both sympathy and support to their visitors, receiving them and treating them as guests. However, in order to allow them do this, I’d suggest that so-called ‘outsiders’ and indeed those who have no links to the area… (yes Christy Moore I’m talking to you…you’re from Kildare, as far as I know), desist from adding their tuppence worth. Just don’t bother. I’d imagine the fair-minded, hard-working genuine people of Rooskey neither want, nor do they need, outside interference.