Sthira Sukham Asanam: A steady, comfortable seat.


My name is Ruthe. I am a Yoga Teacher, Artist and Mam of two lovely children, boy aged 3 and girl aged 2 months. At the moment they’re both asleep so (they’re even more lovely) I’m going to ignore the housework and dinner prep and write this blog I’ve been meaning to start for the last 2 years!

Why am I writing?

What can I say that’s different, original, or even useful?

Things I love: Tracy Anderson workouts, Louise Hay Audiobooks, Yoga, Art, Dance, Music, all things children and how to feed them!

Issues I’m interested in: Positive Mental Health, Self-esteem, Cognitive Behaviour – how our thoughts affect our actions affect our feelings, best parenting practices, playwork and children’s rights, pregnancy, women’s physical health.

Being a Mother is an important part of my identity, because it’s changed me so much as a person, not least physically!

To give you some background on my journey into teaching Yoga, I had a trapped pudendal nerve for just over 3 years. It completely changed my outlook on life, and made me a lot more compassionate for other people. After trying a lot of different treatments, including an operation called Fenton’s procedure which didn’t work, and being written off as having chronic pelvic girdle pain, I was lucky enough to find an excellent physio, Maeve Whelan at Milltown Physio in Dublin 6, who released it, hallelujah!  Now I can manage the pain day to day, and some days feel even normal! Since going to Maeve, I have found a new freedom and happiness in my body, and just complete gratitude for gaining back my health. Day to day I can feel the restriction in my right hip and pelvis, but now I know how to manage it, and with physio and yoga I can keep on top of it.

As a yoga teacher, the limitations I experienced in my own body have led me to a mindful practice and an awareness for other people’s health that I don’t think I would have considered as fully had I not personally experienced pain on that level myself. It’s made me a better, more patient teacher. I trained with Yoga Therapy Ireland, based at Merino Drumcondra in Dublin. They are amazing. They bring yoga to people who not only really need it but would have expected that they could not do it. Their mantra is Breath and Gravity. Establish a strong foundation, from which you can fly. To echo the words of Patanjali, a YTI training course will teach you to have a “steady comfortable seat”. As anyone with pelvic girdle pain can testify, that’s literally a challenge! Life isn’t about perfection, but maintaining the ability to just sit with what is.

My own mantra is “Calm, Alert & Strong.” I’ve had that since the first yoga class I attended at 17 with my good friend Maria, who had been recommended Yoga to manage stress levels during our Leaving Cert year. Well there was at least a 50 year gap between the two of us and the rest of the class attendees but we went every week and loved it. The course was run by Swami Shraddhamurti Saraswati in the upstairs room of Canavans pub in Tuam, and the best part we thought was that on the way to the class we would pass by our friends older brother who we both had a teenage crush on, swoon!

Little did I know that almost 17 years later I would be teaching Yoga and hanging onto my daily practice for dear life to help me cope with the challenges that beautiful life brings! On August 25th 2012 I had a miscarriage. Steady, comfortable seat. I sat and meditated. It got me through it. On August 25th 2013 after 24 hours of labour I gave birth to my daughter Darcey, with my husband telling me “Your breath is your energy”.  Yoga, and a marvelous epidural in the final hour at 7cm, got me through it! Steady, comfortable seat.

If you ever want to experience an amazing class where you will learn to sit with what is and let your life flow out from there, I highly recommend Elma Toland’s Hatha Yoga classes at the Healthy Way in Leixlip. She was my tutor at YTI and I feel very lucky to be taught by her. Her voice is as smooth as a barrel of Whiskey, you just melt into it! When she tells you to let the weight go and just be in the pose you really come into the present moment. Steady and grounded, you float and you fly.

This week I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Bobby Kerr, held at the Bolton Trust. His advice? Your health and your family are everything. I love my good health, I love my family and I am so grateful for my life, whatever experience it brings. Sthira Sukham Asanam. A steady comfortable seat.