Yoga teachers David and Laragh Cunningham are set to bring yoga to schools this winter. David explains the idea behind the new programme for children. David and Laragh Cunningham have established themselves through their yoga schools in Galway City and Barna as Ireland’s most respected yoga teachers and they are now excited to be opening a third venue at Ocean Fitness in the Salthill Hotel.
David Cunningham of The Yoga Shala with his son Noah Photo: Andrew Downes.
David explains that their work with the Connacht Rugby team and Galway footballers has encouraged more men to try yoga and their commitment to staying at the cutting edge of yoga and health has paid dividends as they are the only yoga school in Europe to be teaching a style of yoga called ‘Yoga Synergy.’
He explains that ‘Yoga Synergy’ is traditional hatha yoga with an understanding from modern medical science devised by physiotherapists and yoga teachers Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss from Sydney.
“We spent four months with Simon and Bianca last year, a month this year, and convinced Simon to come over here to teach his first classes in Europe last week. We are excited that our seven experienced teachers are the only teachers of this style of yoga in Europe and with 25 teachers in training, next year we’ll have quite a team of teachers to develop our yoga with sports teams, kids in schools and regular students,” says David.
“The future for us is to continue developing the regular style of yoga we teach as this is important to us and we are constantly trying to improve what we do to tailor yoga to the western body, but the biggest opportunity for yoga as we see it, is to bring it to children in schools.”
After two years of research into what works best for kids in schools, David and Laragh are launching their programme this winter. It is an eight week programme which costs €20 per child or €2.50 per week.
David says that the mission of the yoga in schools programme is to raise awareness of the importance of respect for one’s physical body and mental health using the tools of yoga based exercise, concentration techniques and education about food to foster personal responsibility in children.
“By the end of the programme, the kids have an appreciation of how their body can move, how their participation in the class affects the others enjoyment and learning and they leave with a often new found respect for their bodies.
“We hope that it’s a catalyst in helping them to respect themselves, choose better foods and be more open to physical activity which is designed to give them energy and calm their nervous system while still exercising their muscles,” he says.
David adds that yoga teaches children a new way to exercise that is internal, non-competitive and doesn’t involve chasing a ball or each other. “We’ve had great success with the pilot schemes with the teachers reporting that the kids love yoga and find it easier to teach the class after they do yoga, they are less distracted and calmer,” he says.
See www.theyogashala.net or call 085-1573153 for more information.