Yoga Therapy Ireland (YTI) was one of the earliest proponents of the therapeutic benefits of yoga in Ireland, long before the ancient practice gained widespread popularity. The organisation celebrates its twentieth anniversary on February 1st, so we were thrilled to speak with founding member Maureen Nightingale for our Winter 2019/20 issue. Read on to learn all about the wonderful healing potential of yoga!
We talk to Maureen Nightingale of YTI
by Aisling Cronin
The ancient practice of yoga has gained immense popularity in Ireland in recent years, as more and more people are flocking to this modality to improve their wellness and state of mind. Maureen Nightingale, founding member of Yoga Therapy Ireland (YTI), has welcomed this surge of interest. As a practising yoga teacher for over twenty years, she is passionate about yoga’s therapeutic and spiritual benefits.
‘To me, yoga has always been about deepening the mind-body-spirit connection,’ she explained during a conversation I had with her. ‘There has been a lot of buzz in the health community in recent years about the mind-body connection, and the influence that emotions such as stress can have on our physical bodies. Where I think yoga excels is in the fact that it brings all three things together. It soothes the body, it calms the mind … then there is a very strong spiritual aspect to it as well. Yoga, ultimately, is a practice that brings about a sense of balance between all aspects of yourself.’
This ethos of promoting physical, mental and spiritual harmony has always been at the heart of YTI’s work. The organisation will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary on February 1st, 2020. Since its inception, Maureen says the biggest change she has noticed is the prevailing public perception of yoga. ‘Yoga, for me, is a practice that lies beyond religion and human dogma, though it did arise from the spiritual traditions of India,’ she says. ‘Yoga is a practice that – when carried out regularly – has the potential to align us with the most authentic versions of who we are, regardless of your own personal religious faith, or indeed, lack thereof.’
Yoga Therapy Ireland (YTI) provides specialist yoga courses that offer flexible training models, as well as an excellent Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for graduates. One of Maureen’s greatest joys during her time with YTI has been witnessing the personal and professional transformations that students and graduates have experienced through their training.
The extensive range of programmes on offer includes: a 6 month Foundation Course; 2 Year Teacher Training Diploma Course; Advanced Teaching Skills and Therapeutic Yoga (recognised by the International Association of Yoga Therapists); Yoga for Pregnancy, Post Natal/Mum and Baby Yoga training, Yoga for Children, Yoga for Teens, Yoga for Special Needs, Yoga for Sports and Restorative Yoga training.
In addition to their 500-hour yoga teacher training qualification – which is internationally recognised by the Yoga Alliance (YA) – YTI also offers a post-graduate course with a focus on the therapeutic aspects of yoga.
YTI also takes part in the Irish celebration of International Yoga Day on June 21st each year. This date was set aside to honour yoga’s contribution to modern society by the UN in 2015, and it has been marked every year since then. ‘It’s a wonderful way to recognise the positive, powerful impact that yoga has had on so many people’s lives,’ Maureen remarks, ‘and the fact that it has become an international celebration feels wonderful to me. YTI representatives have had the great honour of being invited to Áras an Uachtaráin to mark this amazing day.’
Over the years, YTI has remained committed to its central goal of furthering awareness of the therapeutic benefits of yoga, and its ability to serve as a powerful tool for furthering personal and spiritual growth.
(01) 235 2120