Sweet surrender

We caught up with Fair City’s Niamh Daly (Debbie) to talk yin yoga and the art of pausing…

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By Amy Wall

She may be known for her role as Debbie on RTE’s Fair City, but Niamh Daly is also known for her yoga classes. The actress, who has been teaching yoga for 15 years, has recently fallen in love with Yin Yoga, the softer form of yoga which focusses on surrendering into poses and offers us the chance to pause.

In a tin yoga class, common floor poses are held for up to six minutes at a time, with the focus being on the connective tissues, joints, ligaments and meridians of the body. It is believed that the practice gives us a chance to tap in to the innate intelligence within our bodies and helps to open our sense of self-compassion.

While Niamh enjoys the invigoration of standard yoga, she says that the beauty of yin yoga or restorative yoga is the fact that the practices allow you space.

“These softer, slower practices have just given me so much space in my brain and so much space between. There’s this wonderful quote by Victor Frankl: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space and in that space is our power to choose our reaction or our response. And in that choice, in that response we have chosen, is our growth and freedom,’” explains Niamh.

“what it’s basically saying is before we knee-jerk into our habitual response that comes from the tensions that our life has put upon us, physical, mental, emotional, that you just learn in this meditative state to pause before you react.”

Credit: Hippy and Bloom Photography

Credit: Hippy and Bloom Photography

While the stronger poses of conventional yoga are needed on a “physiological level” as Niamh says, the softer poses and gentler practice found in yin and restorative yoga allows us to simply be in the moment.

“My favourite metaphor is that when we’re in a slow posture that we use in yin yoga, that you crawl inside yourself, check out how you’re doing and if you’re feeling that strain in your knee is something you can help, you help it. You put a blanket under your knee and you change the things that you can change to give you then the ability to sit with the things that you can’t change,” says Niamh.

Yin yoga is suitable for everyone and Niamh says that her desire is to “gift somebody time with themselves where they can ease out their physical, mental or emotional aches and pains in a way that is achievable and in a way that’s valuable for everyone.”

For more information about Niamh and Yin Yoga, log on to http:://your-yoga.wixsite.com/youryoga   

Catherine Devane