Deirdre O Connor, Holistic Sleep Therapist, Yoga Dip, Craniosacral Therapist CST-T, CST Paedriatics DTR movement Dip, and Advanced
For over 20 years I have been exploring, training, teaching and experiencing Yoga – initially with the Bihar School of Yoga in india where I trained and lived for almost 3 years exploring many different Yoga styles – Hatha, Bhakti, Jhana and Karma Yoga.
I trained further in Meditation and Buddhist Philosoply, living in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Thai forest retreat centres and Yogic ashrams in Rishikesh . During that time I undertook many intensive 10-day silent meditation retreats over the years, and wishing to take my practice deeper, undertook three separate meditation retreats of over 3-months duration , one of which was under the guidance of teachers of the Dalai Lama.
My deep love of movement rests on my faith in our ability to foster a natural self-balancing and healing awareness in ourselves.
My own awareness in this capacity grew exponentially through a four-year advanced training with Dancing The Rainbow. This training was the ground for all my future work and taught me more about embodiment and being present than any previous trainings had up to that point.
It taught me that Yoga is not about doing the poses perfectly but rather showed me the necessity for slowly releasing and undoing the places in my body that remained tight, painful and downright grumpy! And doing this is a way that my body loves rather than any prescriptive idea of ‘what would be good for me’.
After my training I continued to be mentored by my teacher, Lani O’Hanlon, for a further two years, while assisting on their two year training. I spent a further two years with this deep body based exploration working alongside my teacher and mentor, as an assistant teacher.
My current teachings are based in a merging of the traditional yoga teachings and the intuitive awareness of what our bodies and minds need to heal and replenish themselves. Having trained also in Massage, Homeopathy and Craniosacral Therapy I have a strong basis in therapies which promote this awareness.
Further trainings with Shiva Rea and Twee Merrigan, who both embody this way of teaching Yoga, has deepened my own experience and has shown me many ways to encourage the body and mind to come to a place of calm and deep rest.
Over the years , different forms of movement have allowed me to relax deeply in the moment, and to undercover the places of holding and resistance in my body and psyche. The practice of 5 rhythms movement meditation has sustained me many times, as has the practices of Movement Medicine, the work of Ya’cov and Susannah Khan , and as well as attending workshops in both I continually draw inspiration from these wonderfully playful and exploratoty methods .
Lately I have been inspired by the teaching of Thomas Hanna, and his work of Somatic Movement. With its roots in Feldenkrais movement, Somatics has added a new understanding to how our psyche can hold patterns of anxiety and resistance in the body – and more importantly how we can release these old patterns. I have completed the initial stage of my training in Clinical Somatics and have been introducing Somatic Movement into my classes and my individual work with clients.
Hanna Somatics have been a life changer for me as it has allowed me to access deeper layers of tension, that didn’t seem to be touched by my Yoga practice.
In 2013 I created and developed my Deep Sleep Workshops and Trainings. This was initially in response to my own experience of restless, sleepless nights, and wanting to find a way through them without resorting to sleep medication . After finding my own way back to restful, deep sleep I decided to offer these solutions to anyone out there who was experiencing similiar difficulties, and now run my own Deep Sleep Clinic in Dunlaoghaire, offering individual consultations as well as workshops and on-line offerings. (www.deepsleepclinic.com)
For myself, I continue to practice and train in Yoga, Somatics, and Craniosacral Therapy, simply because all of these wonderful practices make me feel happy and at ease in my body and mind. In many ways and at different times they have been real life-savers. Yoga and exploratory Somatic movement have turned my anxiety into contentment, and has allowed the stiff, tight places in my body and mind to melt and release so that I feel good inside and out.