The new entertainment – yoga and more at Charlemont and Balally

Yoga has never been more popular – and Lorna O’Brien knows why.

It’s all about feeling good, living a stress-free life and honest to goodness fun, according to the suitably calm and relaxed manager of Yoga Dublin Studios.

‘I think people use health and fitness as their form of entertainment these days,’ she says.’The recession slowed things down for a bit for us but not for long.We are out the door right now.’

Yoga Dublin, near Charlemont and Balally Luas

Lorna O’Brien ‘Yoga is part of my life now’

Yoga Dublin Studios was founded by its present owner Colm Walsh back in 1999 with classes in a Baggot Street school hall.Today it has three permanent purpose-built studios – two very close to the Luas Green Line.

Yoga Dublin Ranelagh, near Charlemont Luas

Yoga Dublin in Ranelagh

Just a few minutes’ walk from the Charlemont stop is Yoga Dublin’s Ranelagh base on Dartmouth Road. Even closer to the Green Line is their Dundrum studio, located on the first floor of the Rockfield Central building , right above the Balally Luas stop.Their newest location, opened last year, is in the Vedas Building, next door to the library on the main street in Dun Laoghaire.

All three studios are open every day with more than 120 classes and workshops being held a week. From as early as 7am some mornings until 9pm at night, the studios are a hive of relaxed activity.

‘Yoga is the main thing for us and we offer classes at all levels from beginners to advanced’, says Lorna.She herself is a convert to yoga, recalling her first days in her jobs with the studios.’Back then I had no experience of yoga at all’, ‘she says.

‘At that time I used to have problems sleeping but since I started doing the classes, those problems disappeared. I find yoga is great in reducing stress, it’s good for your mental well-being and you can really feel the benefit.It’s part of my life now.’

But Yoga Dublin is about more than yoga alone.‘We do almost as many Pilates classes as yoga and we also do Barre Concept,’ says Lorna. ’It’s a new idea from America which mixes yoga, Pilates and ballet. Most of our other classes are mat based so this involves standing at a bar so it’s a bit different. It’s especially good for toning thighs and at the same time burning fat and protecting the joints. Dundrum also offers Zumba classes ‘which continue to be really popular,’ says Lorna.Tai Chi classes are also available and the business has a big focus on classes specifically for mothers.‘We do pre-natal classes and workshops that are designed to help with the actual birth. Then when babies are born, their mothers can do the post natal class. We even have baby massage sessions and classes where mothers can bring their babies into the room which is popular.

Yoga Dublin near Balally Luas stop

The Dundrum studio at the Balally Luas stop

‘We have a great fan base, especially in Ranelagh which is our most established studio,’ says Lorna.

Its location on the edge of the city centre means it also hosts classes for people who work close by.’If there is the demand for a yoga or Pilates class,we can organise a teacher to come to them in their offices or we provide private lunchtime class and they can come to us,’ explains Lorna.

Lorna is quick to dispel a few misconceptions about yoga and similar disciplines.’We have people of all ages, all walks of life.You have to be 16 to come to our classes and we have some young customers but we also get many students, people in their 20s and 30s and then others up right up to their 70s.’

It’s not all women, too, Lorna says. ‘All our classes are mixed. While there are some classes which have no men we have others, especially in Ranelagh, where men outnumber the women.’

Pilates is especially popular with people who play sports. ‘It is great for preventing injuries. So we do get sportspeople here at times for a class, some of them quite well known.’

Another misconception is about the spiritual aspects of yoga. ‘It’s as spiritual as you want it to be’, says Lorna.’ Some of our classes might start and end with a minute or two of meditation but not all of them. It’s really up to the teacher.’

But what does it cost to take up yoga? Says Lorna: ‘We have a few hundred members on monthly subscriptions between the three locations but people can also come down on a pay per class basis.Or they can buy a pass for a whole series of classes.’

Yoga dublin class

A Yoga Dublin class

The cost per class is around €15, €10 for students, senior citizens and people who are unemployed.

‘We also have a 30 days for €59 offer which lets people try different classes, different levels and different teachers so they can see what they prefer. Customers can switch between locations, as well. People like this approach. It means they don’t have to commit to paying a regular fee if they don’t want to,’ says Lorna.

An online booking system and linked smartphone apps make it easy to reserve a space at a class, says Lorna.’It’s better to do this than make your way to a studio and find every class is full. We also have a wait list system to let people know if there are cancellations and spaces become available.’

Yoga dublin logo

Yoga Dublin’s teachers are some of the best in Ireland and they come from countries all over the world – as do their students. ‘At weekends we get people from far and wide,’ says Lorna. In Ranelagh, particularly, we get a lot of tourists too who’ve made the effort to seek out a yoga class. It shows how important it is to them.

Learning yoga is best done in a class.’Some people tell me they first did yoga by buying DVDs to watch at home,’ says Lorna. ‘But they say that you need an experienced teacher to look at what you are doing from time to time to make sure you are doing the positions right. That way you prevent yourself from potential injury and get the most out of your yoga.’

Yoga, it seems, is now part of many people’s weekly routines. The new entertainment is here to stay.

Yoga Dublin,
28a Dartmouth Road,
Dublin 6.


www.yogadublin.com

 

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Charlemont
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Also at Rockfield Centre, Luas Balally stop and Vedas Building Lower Georges Street, Dún Laoghaire,