Switching off on a Kerry holiday and a yoga crash course
A YOGA widow for some time my wife decided to give me a two hour crash course in the Eastern discipline without even asking me.
The night arrived and it being a Friday, it was a last minute dash out the door to get to Creacon Lodge Wellness Centre outside New Ross in time for my inauguration into the world of yoga and downward dog stretching. The only requirement was for me to wear comfortable clothes, bring a yoga mat and two blankets and be there for 7 p.m.
As I turned the ignition I noticed my wife had packed a pink and blue throw blanket amongst my yoga pack. I wasn't having that so I ran back in to get a more neutral coloured blanket before heading off to Creacon.
The group was arranged in a loose circle, legs akimbo when I finally arrived at the Meditation Hall and the yoga teacher warmly welcomed me into the fold.
Inaction and the business of 'not doing' was the name of the game and that was perfectly fine by me after a hectic Friday at work.
Lying flat on my back on a yoga mat, the lesson began with some breathing exercises and moved on to some gentle stretching and concluded with a lengthy relaxation period during which I fell asleep, momentarily, so it all worked a charm. The restorative yoga was intended as a healing session for body aches and pains and also for the mind and we were in great hands with our yoga teacher who guided us calmly and reassuringly through the paces, spraying Frankincense and rosemary oil around the room, as the rain beat down outside.
Having been somewhat in ignorance and a bit sceptical about yoga, as I did my stretches and attempted some of the Darth Vadar style breathing, I began to feel the benefits of the discipline to body and mind. The Good Woman had been raving about yoga to me and to anyone within earshot for some time and she was right, as always!
Anyway, as I occasionally suffer from a bad back, I thought there would be no harm in giving it a go.
Taking a step back from your routine and trying something new is something I rarely get to experience these days with two young children to look after, along with The Good Woman, (by which I mean, she also looks after The Little Fella and the Whirlwind Princess).
The breathing took the wind out of my sails and proved exhausting and I left the Meditation Hall puce faced and exhausted, as if I'd ran to the top of my street and back, (admittedly I do need to start doing more exercise).
Lying in a mat in a room alongside 20 complete strangers, breathing heavily and doing Downward Dog and Angry Cat stretches made for a strangely communal event and was an unexpected pleasure on a wet February night in rural County Wexford. There was no competitiveness and no sense of anyone taking the lead; it was just a group of like minded people coming together to make themselves feel better, far, far away from the unfortunates who were on their way to Fifty Shades of Grey for a night of masochism.
That night I had the best night's sleep and I woke up a little less creaky the following morning. The Good Woman even invested in a yoga mat for me so there's no stopping me now
THE bi-annual trip back home to Kerry with the family was badly needed after a seemingly endless January and February, 2015.
We set off to stay with some friends and then to stay in my aunt's B&B in Tralee for four nights and it was great to catch up with family and friends and switch off from the day job for a while.
We got plenty of weather from freezing zero degree mornings early in the week to hail, more hail and mercifully sunny afternoons. Taking in the aquarium in Dingle - with its fantastic range of fish and all the penguins - delighted the children and we tucked in to some lovely fish and ice cream before taking the windy road back to Tralee. Killarney was another highlight but the best part of the holiday was just meeting up with everyone and taking time out from our routine.
The mobile phone even died a few times which is unheard of for me and it didn't kill me to turn the blasted thing off a few times at night as holiday's are times to forget about work, recharge the batteries and do things you normally don't have time to. We put the children in crèche on Friday and even went for a hike up to a lake in the Comeragh mountains in Waterford and visited a pet farm on Saturday and had family around for dinner on Sunday capping off a great week.