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Michele Van Valey scroll down

My Story

In my late twenties, I shattered my left ankle. It was reconstructed, 10 pins and a titanium plate, but the prognosis was arthritis and limited range of motion. I attended my first yoga training to develop a deeper understanding of the practice while working to prevent a lifetime of joint pain.

My first teacher, Beth Beigler, combined Iyengar inspired asana with a Body Mind Centering approach. Deeper than that, Beth taught subtle anatomy, Hindu mythology and Ayurveda. This colourful, textured adventure started to unfold beneath the layers of the asana and I was hooked.

My interest in injury led me to an advanced Yoga Therapy training in Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Institute for Yoga and Ayurveda with Mukunda Styles. While studying in Boulder, I discovered Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop. There, Troy Lucero contributed an Ashtanga foundational layer, an interest in modifications and a quiet spirituality to my practice.

That privileged year of travelling and training ended in Rikiapeeth, a Satyananda ashram in Bihar, India. We studied the kriyas, meditation and yoga nidra but the primary focus was seva, serving the local villages. The insights gained here added a fullness to my understanding of what yoga is.

Limping through that yoga door on my broken ankle marked a paradigm shift in my life. There were suddenly so many new directions to explore. At the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, I investigated the relationship between gut heath and the mind-body complex. When I settled in Ireland, I added perinatal training to my practice, qualified as a massage therapist and became a Pilates teacher.

While growing my business, we were also growing a family. Parenting was all of the wonderful things that I had imagined it would be. It is also so many hard things that we don’t talk about enough. I was ready for it. I love it. And, like a lot of us, I am really challenged by it.

The early days felt like a path of dominoes set in motion. Life sped along and I was just keeping up, knowing that I was not fully present in the way that I wanted to be. When the boys entered primary school, I found a bit of space for myself and another door opened. This time I ran through it.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Parenting courses offered stability in a continuously changing landscape. More importantly they helped me put the focus on the small but joyous moments that quietly slip past in all of the business. The Mindfulness in Schools’ .b program fit neatly into my yoga work with secondary school kids and was a natural segue into the MSc in Mindfulness Based Interventions at UCD where I could further my work with adults.

Bringing mindfulness to my own life helps me to manage stress and conflict in the home, facilitate better relationships and create more ease and joy in family life. I’m passionate about bringing these skills to my community through classes, courses, talks and events.

I’m passionate about bringing these skills to my community through classes, courses, talks and events.
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Photography by Malcolm McGettigan

Web design by Clara FitzGerald

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