Golden Glow Yoga College founder and Director Dr Sri Radha Sharon O’Neill BCL (Yoga Ph.D. Hon) “We have travelled many miles, up and down many a ‘mountain’, to bring real Indian insight, the refinement of yoga, to the bodies and minds of locally trained teachers in Ireland”
My name is Dr Sri Radha Sharon Hon Ph.D. Yoga and I represent Yoga Alliance International in Ireland. I am the founder of the Yoga Teacher Training College in Galway Ireland Golden Glow Yoga College. We primarily teach the YAI 200 hr yoga teacher training course for Yoga Alliance International here in Ireland but we also teach a 300hr Yoga Diploma and a 500hr Senior Yoga Teacher qualification.
I do this work because I love the environment we create and the simplicity of personally knowing every teacher we train. I have found it the most rewarding of practices. It has been my privilege to bring knowledge and enthusiasm to others, whilst keeping it simple by honouring the great masters past and present. We train approx. 40-60 students per annum and people genuinely seem to love their time with us. We have a huge success rate of our trainees actually going on to teach others. Our courses are practical and purposeful and fun.
After qualifying with the American body of Yoga Alliance in 2006, I taught many classes in Cork. I knew there was still so much to learn so I turned to seeking to honour the foundations of the practices by furthering my studies in India. From Pondicherry in South India in 2013 with Yoga Alliance International as I felt I was really in the home of Yoga. Yoga Alliance International and in particular, Swami Vidyanand the Founder of SriMa Transformational Yoga and Yoga Alliance International, took my understanding and training to a whole new level and I have never looked back.
I progressed through a 200hr,300hr and then a 500hr YAI program schedule and finally YAI Yoga Grand Master Yoga Therapy in 2014.The focus was to learn and then help others. I felt it was vitally important to ensure that a grounded holistic approach to asana, as well as yoga history and philosophy would remain as a true part of Irelands yoga teacher training programs for Golden Glow Yoga College.
Rather than only following the primarily American systems of Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance International is a progressive and compassionate body regulated in India and founded by Swami Vidyanand. Its purpose - to help westerners find a happy yoga practice of their own without competition and unnecessary strain; Happy Yoga.
I was awarded a Doctorate (Hon Yoga Ph.D.) in 2017 as an indicator of commitment to my continued studies and the love and respect I show to students. It’s been an honour to take a happy ethos to a deeper peace of understanding and I hope to be of service to my community until my last breath.
We love what we do at Golden glow yoga college and we try to give insight to a range of yoga programs so that students can feel free to explore what feels right for them.
Swami Vidyanand the Founder of Yoga Alliance International is highly respectful of the Kundalini tradition and it is Kundalini Yoga, with Yoga Bhajan, that claimed its place as an authentic jewell in the yogic crown, of the Transformational Yoga we teach. Alongside Tantra and Mantra for many yoga students this simple take on the great Yoga Bhajans work opens new doors for them. These wonderful practices also honoured at Teacher Training Level at Golden Glow Yoga College.
Why choose your 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Course at Golden Glow Yoga College
The College has an ethos of acknowledgement, gratitude and acceptance of the beauty of so many yogic teachings and Ayurvedic wisdom and hopes to expand consciousness of these teachings and so many of yogas’ glorious practices. No one style, or brand is allowed to boast “I’m the best, I’m the only road….”. At Golden Glow Yoga College you’d have to admire the dedication to detail and simplicity amongst the complexity of work available to study in particular Swami Viyanand and Yoga Bhajan (below) honour a systematic way to better understanding. In his take on Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan, whilst also being devotees of the Sikh faith, helped ensure that deeper insight is available.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA
I like to tell my student teachers- It’s Not Better…. Just different. Find your own rhythm. Be your own person. Take what you like and leave the rest….. Not exactly the ethos of any of these systems that will claim so often to be the only way but the way it needs to be in order for us to evolve mindfully. At Golden Glow Yoga College we have space and distance to observe ourselves. And we have found it’s a peaceful road. Sometimes you just have to balance other things in life: the workloads, making a living, supporting families and friends, the children, the elderly parents and that’s ok too. We can’t all go off to the mountains and gaze at our navel for days.
Fat burning promises and injury curing claims saw a surge of Bikram converts around the world and initially in Dublin and then in Cork when the franchise arrived there finally in 2013, the joy it bought to a lot of people’s lives should not be underestimated. Another system, another brand to consider. This system is following the Parmashansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi) household in many ways. A Transcendental Mediation branch in many ways.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA
His brother was Bikrams guru who would be less known to us perhaps but was also an outstanding teacher it would seem.
Hot yoga and Power yoga, numerous labels and enticing brands evolved log before and will continue long after the Bikram craze to sweat it out in the sauna setting became the weekly Yoga habit of so manyin the west. All these delicious styles add their weight to the foundation established by the great sage Sri T Krisnmarcharya. His son T.K.V. Desikachar (The Heart of Yoga) and disciples like the extremely popular B.K.S Iyengar/ Shri K Pattabhi Jois of Ashtanga Yoga of My Sore have followings on a world -wide scale. Ireland is no exception. Yoga can be found in every town and hamlet.
Classes espousing the virtues of the Sri Sivananda and his disciple Swami Satyananda Saraswati ( below)
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
would also have a firm hold on the hearts of many Irish yogis and Golden Glow Yoga College adheres strongly to the principles set out by all these great Masters.
Bikram classes at 40 degrees plus, opened in Dublin in 2003, way ahead of the curve of hot yoga that would eventually wash over the island. I give it space here because so many found it a fantastic starting point for training and Cork was far behind Dublin at that time in Hot Yoga practices and had no idea of the strength of the passion this disciplining, challenging, uplifting and yet tender practice would evoke in time.
The first highly heated, stinking, sweaty, saunas posing as yoga rooms eventually led students once more to see what else the yoga world had to offer and many once more, travelled the roads less travelled. The path of enlightenment called, faiths were challenged and often reinforced and often imbibed with fresh enthusiasm. The populace resort more and more to the healing ways of crystals, singing bowls, drums and tarot cards alongside more traditional Christian faith these days and Saints mingle with Indian and Hopi mystics in the health food shops and markets. I suspect we are all the better for it.
200hr Yoga Teacher Training Course –
The Warriors of Ireland- Yoga Waves
Warriors of the yoga waves live deep in the depths of rural Ireland not just the big cities. West cork has more than its fair share I feel. Yogis like Margaret Hardman and many other amazing practitioners in Munster and Connaught, have aided many students to flourish.
As quiet yogis for many years here they have been singing their song and walking their paths. From the trail blazing Dublin born Yoga advocate Molly Baggot Stack, right out to the Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Retreat Centre in West Cork, Ireland has long had a heart for the yogic spiritual journey.
A country challenged by its own share of outpouring and outcry, child abuse victims, unwed mothers shunned and mass graves overlooked, famine heartaches and slave stories; they are all only a generation or so away. The troubles of the North and the civil war alone could make many a heart bleed. Many souls have sought to embrace their own simple truth of love, tolerance and open mindedness to their fellow man. Trying to stop the cycle of hatred and abuse we see a different island in so many ways. 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement we find many a student coming across the border from Belfast for training in Galway. Yogic spirituality and love has even received the blessing of the Vatican in recent times. Shame can tarnish us all however and Yoga is no exception.
“Bikrams Torture chambers” as he loved to call them, continued to sweep the world as franchises. 2016 saw the divorce of the successful married business couple, his wife filing her suit in the wake of the various allegations and final crippling and bankrupting settlements awarded by the courts to various former employees.
Initial ignorance of the shame, abuse of power and allegations of unfair dismissal and rape charges eventually led many to think twice before they continued to pay their funds weekly to support the organisation.
Funding the personal wealth of ‘the yogic comic’ with his cutting wit and often cruel put downs has begun to be less appealing to many as a result of course. As many shunned the Cahtolic churches in wake of abuse coverups. However just like the church that has at its core many good men and women trying to do good deeds and live good lives. The original 26 posture Beginners Set is still in my view however, good yoga practice and worthy of note and although it has no inversions due to the gruelling temperature, we at Golden Glow yoga College teach many of its nuances to our teachers out of respect to the original concept.
That the focus on Bikram teaching programs for Teachers has become primarily verbal cue based rather than asana demonstration by teachers means the student teachers may not be always be able to do all the poses they teach, well themselves. This is, I guess, also something that takes time to filter into the consciousness of practitioners and we would advise against not aiing to be able to practice what you teach.
‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is not an ideal. It can prove the downfall of us all. Even it seems the once perceived, great man can come crashing down. I can fully understand how it would make sense to aim to talk people through postures for continuity but at GGYC we continue to aim to work hard at asana with all student teachers and help them designing their own classes which honour themselves and their own personalities. We hope to use asana and its discipline to temper the ego rather than inflate it. That’s a work load in itself of course !
Choudhury Bikram, therefore has taught a lot of lessons which may not have been his intention.
Learning “Silence from the talkative” (The Prophet –Kahlil Gibran ) the now fallen light has absconded to his former home of India. The disgraced guru, and in excess of 10-million-dollars bankrupt is only one man however. Although a disappointing time for Yoga, as much in many ways as it was also highlighting circles that for some years were slow to take on such a powerful and wealthy opponent. Accusations of cover up and abuse of power were whispered on the wind long before the court room dramas played out. Hopefully we all learned hard lessons of the risk of the massively inflated ego unchecked and that power over others must be balanced by a duty of care.
Seemingly effortlessly however, yoga managed to reinvent the deeper, primary focus again for the public. Away from the sweaty rhetoric of the Bikram torture, the spirit of mindfulness and ‘present moment’ practices of the Buddhists and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy have led to the current high- flying fashion and we evolve once more we hope.
Many years after the now aged and great Vietnamese Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh had penned his famous book The Miracle of Mindfulness, we see Mindfulness and Meditation everywhere. Often, I find Mindfulness is only viewed through either these, or the Stress reduction forerunner Jon Kabatt- Zinn who also bought Mindfulness to the public with Cognitive behaviour reasoning. In real terms these are linked and not so very different in practice as they are high lighting the same source of wisdom. This light is popping up in school curriculums and corporate board rooms everywhere and long may it continue. That there is also Buddhist asana yoga, Christian yoga as well as Hindu and Sikh etc and how these differ from each other, is another interesting popular inquiry I find comes across my desk regularly. GGYC again aims to gives some light to the less obvious and celebrate the similarities and difference.
A wave of enthusiasm for a daily meditation practice, as part of an easy going, urban kind of yoga; not too religious, not too strict, has ebbed and flowed in Ireland for years and the knowledge that yoga is bigger than just one man or school of yoga is not a bad lesson. The community having begun again to settle after Bikram’s dishonour which many practitioners were simply completely unaware of, is indicative of yogas enduring nature i.e. our humanity, our unity and are strength to endure.
Golden Glow Yoga College has a willingness to keep an open mind, give people the Freedom to Choose and we use tried and tested insight in teaching methods for asana. Postures like shoulder stand and headstand and downward facing dogs, arm balances and deeper twists – poses not always incorporate into systems like the original 26 postures and 2 pranayama (breathing exercises) of programs like Bikram Beginners Set are taught. This has set us apart at times and yet we are not purely advocates of a gymnastic practice. We believe asana helps students grow in confidence and creativity. Our programs are available all year round in Ireland and are hopefully set to be part of Irish life for generations to come.
We like our Student teachers to hit their mark, reach a greater understanding of their own practices and have formula and procedures to better aid others to reach their goals. This is old yoga practice and philosophy.
For many students training with Golden Glow Yoga College it is about letting go of old ways or debilitating habits, for others it’s about living a pain free life physically or emotionally. For everyone who studies with us its always life challenging and life changing.
To develop a sharpened alertness and timeless dedication to yoga is one of the many benefits of Yoga Meditation Practices. The timeless wonder of Yoga is heralded in this and by the many practitioners - free-spirited men, woman and children of Ireland today. The threat of something ‘new’ like yoga was often initially greeted with suspicion and mistrust from many a pulpit of old but this attitude although sometimes slow in passing has certainly evolved, largely with the relative open-minded Papacy of latter years. Again, a new era of the churches in Ireland being a brighter light of acceptance of our differences and tolerance of each other seems to be with us. Thank goodness!
Golden Glow Yoga college will hopefully continue to play its part for many years to come here in the shadow of the convent in Spiddal Co Galway and around the world. Our wonderfully generous Connamara nuns in whose garden we are made welcome in the summer sun, always greet our students and their mats with a smile and a wave. I greatly appreciate that tolerance. To me it says it all.
Yoga will certainly help give you a healthier body and mind and if you wish to give it that focus, make you a better Christian or Buddhist or Muslim. Hopefully in many ways it will simply help keep us flexible to be better Humans Being better to ourselves and to others.
You can get in touch with us in Galway or Cork 2018 for your 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Course
or to chat over any area of Yoga Training.
Dr Sri Radha Sharon O’Neill BCL (Hons Ph.D. Yoga) -Golden Glow Yoga College
200hr Yoga Teacher Training Cork Namaste