Ciara has been practicing yoga for over twenty years and has been teaching since 1999. She has studied with a number of senior teachers throughout the world, the equivalent of more than 1000 hours of direct teaching.
She spent over a decade intensively practicing the ashtanga vinyasa system, to which she was attracted by its dynamic, dance-like quality. She is deeply grateful for this experience as it endowed her with a keen understanding of the importance of developing one’s own practice from the beginning. She studied with Pattabhi Jois in Mysore in 2001 and had as her main teachers John Scott, Graeme Northfield and Nancy Gilgoff (who taught adjustment clinics at Macalla Farm from 200X to 200X).
She has also been influenced by both the precision and subtleties of classical hatha as taught by Acharaya Venkatesh and Hema (Mysore, India) with whom she studied in Mysore as well as here on Clare Island, where they have taught a number of retreats since 2007.
Over the last nine years, her practice has evolved into a deep, slow mindful integration of asana, breath work and meditation. This has been inspired by Rossella Baroncini, who was a direct student of Vanya Scaravelli for 17 years. Since 2005, Ciara has been studying one-to-one with Rossella, either at Macalla Farm, where Rossella teaches a retreat every summer, or in her studio in Florence, Italy.
Her unfolding practice explores the body and the mind from the perspective of un-doing, freeing old patterns of tension and stress, creating space where there has been congestion and constriction. The journey has been immensely rewarding, and she is passionate about sharing its richness, helping others discover the goodness that comes from an embodied practice.
Ciara has been meditating since she began her yoga practice more than 20 years ago. Under the guidance of Rossella Baroncini since 2005, a new relationship with body and breath began to emerge in her approach to yoga which deeply influenced her meditation practice and lead her to explore more specific teaching in the growing field of secular mindfulness including a year long mindfulness teacher training course in 2013 with Martin Aylward and Mark Coleman of the Mindfulness Institute (UK and US).
This valuable theoretical and experiential grounding in mindfulness supports her integration of yoga and mindfulness in her own practice and teaching as well as its application to other interests at Macalla Farm: namely mindfulness and food courses, general mindful living and new in 2015, mindfulness in connection with horses.
Ciara has recently completed a two year intensive course in Secular Dharma with Stephen Batchelor and Bodhi College. She has found her ‘home’ in this contemporary approach to early Buddhism with its emphasis on ethics and practice.
Ciara was horse mad as a child and rode and showed her Connemara Pony, imported from Ireland to Ohio, during her childhood.
After settling in Ireland in the 1980’s, she didn’t get a chance to revisit her childhood passion until she met Christophe in 1998 and was delighted to discover his shared passion for horses.
They bought two Connemara brood mares in 2001 with the herd expanding rapidly to include two riding horses. By 2014, the herd had expanded to 10, including two rescue horses. She has been a student of Vanessa Bee, (Positive Horsemanship, UK) and Karine Vandenborre (Horsefulness Training, Belgium) and has been inspired by them to explore the connections between yoga and natural horsemanship.