winter solstice

Advent – Light in the Dark

I don’t remember Advent being a feature of Christmas during my childhood. No calendar, no chocolate. Perhaps it was just our house but I don’t recall any of my friend’s homes having one either.

I first became aware of Advent through the poem of the same name by Patrick Kavanagh (see poem below). It was on our syllabus for the Intermediate Cert or the Leaving Cert (they all melt into one for me). I immediately connected to the power of the ‘ordinariness’ of the language and images. It struck a chord with me both emotionally and spiritually in the way words inexplicably do sometimes. I was fascinated with Paddy Kavanagh and his ‘black slanted Ulster hills’ and his ‘stony grey soil of Monaghan’ – insights both earthy and ethereal into Irish rural life. Read more

Yoga Teacher Training

Advanced Yoga Teacher Training – a giant leap in your yoga education

yoga teacher training classAdvanced Yoga Teacher Training – The Next Biggest Step

As yoga teachers we all feel the need (and are obliged to if we are registered teachers) to keep ourselves up-skilled and inspired so as to serve our students and yoga community as best we can. There are many options and directions you can take such as attending workshops, retreats and further specific skill training.

The biggest ‘next step’ that you can take as a yoga teacher is to follow an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training programme that is designed to both nurture and challenge you in every way. Read more

Meghan Yoga Teacher Training

Why I Recommend Ard Nahoo Teacher Training

graduation-megan-noeleen-blogGuest blog by Meghan Malone-Scott on why she undertook our 300-hour level Advanced Teacher Training course.

Meghan now runs her own yoga business in Enniskillen. Read more

Ard Nahoo Yoga Teacher Training

SHINE ON 2017 – ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’



Having a body, mind, heart, and senses is how we get to experience the gift of life on earth.  Sometimes however we get wrapped up in life so much that we forget about the little light shining in our heart of hearts.

Our Advanced Teacher Training at Ard Nahoo invites you to let your little light shine, brighter and brighter.  We all have an inner flame that is inextinguishable, it’s that part of you that is eternal, never changing and hugely powerful.  To be in this world the flame gets cloaked or covered in sheaths of body matter, breath, mind, emotions and intellect – in the yoga tradition we call these sheaths the 5 Koshas, kind of like 5 layers of embodiment. Read more

Apres Christmas Dinner practice

I hope your Christmas Day delivers everything you could wish for. Family, friends, big fire, brisk walks and of course food glorious food.  If you want to take a bit of time out after dinner to relax, reflect, be quiet and aid digestion then try this short sequence

Handy props – a mat, a bolster and an eyebag

Supta baddha konasana Ard Nahoo Yoga School

Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined bound angle pose

Have the short end of your mat at the wall. Place the bolster on the mat behind you and sit with the back of your pelvis to the short end.  If you don’t have a bolster then use folded blankets to create a support for your spine. The bolster can be either snugly at your sacrum or some inches back so that your lower ribs (back of your waist) rest firmly on the bolster when you go back.  Bring the soles of your feet together and bring your heels in close to your groin. Extend your toes and place them up against the wall. (Or use a belt as in the photo. Inhale and place your hands either side of your hips and lengthen up through your spine.  Exhale and use your arms to lower down onto your bolster. Bring your arms overhead and clasp the elbows or leave your arms by your side. Place an eyebag or any fabric over your eyes and rest for up to 10 minutes.

This pose will help with digestion and rest tired legs.

Ard Nahoo Yoga School Viparita Karani

Vaparita Karani – legs up wall pose

This is a deeply relaxing and rejuvenating pose. Place your mat with the short end at the wall.  Sit with your right hip up against the wall.  Inhale and swing your legs up the wall and your upper body on to the mat.  Rest your arms by your sides with your palms up.  You could experiment with placing a bolster or folded blanket under your hips as a support to lift them up.  Place an eye bag or similar over  your eyes and rest for up to 10 minutes.

An adapted version of this would be to lie on the floor bend your knees and place your lower legs on the seat of the sofa. You might even get a bit of Harry Potter in too!


Ard Nahoo Yoga School Savasana

Savasana – the Corpse Pose

This is simply a supported lying pose. Lie on your back with your bolster under your knees and a small folded blanket under your head.  Have you feet outer hip width apart and abandon your legs.  Have you arms about 6-8 inches from your side with your palms facing up. Cover yourself if needed and place an eyebag over your eyes. Stay for 5 – 15 minutes.

Simple mantra meditation – allow your inner gaze to look towards your heart centre in your chest.   Keep your awareness at your heart and stay soft in your body and your mind. Breathe in softly to your heart and as you breathe out silently say ‘I am grateful for ……’ Fill in the word that is most appropriate to how you are feeling today.  Gratitude opens us up to all the blessings in our lives and is truly empowering and transformative.

Recipe: North African Squash & Chickpea Stew

Here’s a great dish that we serve on our retreats and it always goes down well  With so much focus on the menu for the ‘main event’ it’s always nice to have a few other ideas for veggie feasts lined up. This  fantastic dish is also simple to make. It’s a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book “River Cottage Veg everyday”.

Here’s how to make it …


  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • 100g of red lentils
  • 400g tin of chickpeas – drained
  • 8 saffron strands – toasted and crushed
  • 500mls roasted tomato sauce
  • A handful of parsley
  • A large bunch of coriander
  • 300g of squash
  • 1.2 ltrs of vegetable stock
  • 50g vermicelli or small pasta

In 8 easy steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onions and sauté until golden brown, then turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, celery, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, and continue to sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the lentils, chickpeas, saffron, tomato sauce, parsley and half the coriander, then cook on a low heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Peel the squash, get rid of any seeds and cut into chunky cubes. Add it to the pan with the vegetable stock and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta and simmer until cooked.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve, adding the rest of the coriander leaves to each portion as a garnish.

New season of Teacher Training, Yoga Retreats and happenings

Ard Nahoo Yoga School (Leitrim) is delighted to announce details of the fourth year of Yoga Teacher Training commencing this Spring in Dromahair, County Leitrim.

Yoga Teacher Training is perfect for those with a passion for yoga, who are looking to take their lives in a new direction. It’s a popular choice of career for those who are starting a new chapter following retirement or redundancy, or those with their own yoga practice.

In 2015, Ard Nahoo will provide a new residential 200 hour programme, the first of its kind in Ireland. Another new course is the 300 hour post grad teacher training as well as the usual yoga retreats and the second Ard Nahoo Yoga Festival.

Ard Nahoo is a registered yoga school with Yoga Alliance UK and US, international associations representing yoga teachers and schools worldwide. Located on the west coast of Ireland, Ard Nahoo is accessible by road or air via Knock Airport. It is the only rural yoga school of its kind delivering teacher training, workshops and hosting the world’s top class yoga teachers throughout the year.

Yoga Class at Ard Nahoo Yoga StudioArd Nahoo’s Yoga School courses are alignment based hatha yoga teacher trainings, and the only centre in Ireland with a focus on Anusara Yoga.

On satisfactory completion of either course, students will be fully qualified as an internationally recognised yoga teacher and eligible to register with Yoga Alliance as a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher)

Located just outside the Leitrim village of Dromahair and overlooking Lough Nahoo, Ard Nahoo celebrates its 14th birthday in 2015. Heralded as One of the Top Ten Retreats Worldwide by The Guardian Newspaper, the centre was the first business in Ireland to be awarded the EU Eco Label for tourist accommodation, the EU Flower, and means that the centre is one of the most environmentally friendly ‘green’ businesses in the country.

Run by Noeleen Tyrrell Ard Nahoo provides yoga teacher training, eco retreats, therapeutic treatments and an alternative way to explore the beauty of the Northwest of Ireland.

Noeleen Tyrrell (SYT, ERYT200, RCST) is the Director of Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat & Yoga School and she has been offering yoNoeleen Tyrrell - Ard Nahooga classes, retreats and teachers trainings for the past 15 years.

Noeleens classes are inclusive and therapeutic with a great element of fun. Her teaching is very intuitive and each student is invited to bring their practice to a healing zone where they can witness the life changing transformation that the practice offers.

She is one of the few registered Senior Yoga teachers in Ireland and is one of two Anusara Inspired teachers in the country. She is also a Registered Craniosacral therapist and massage therapist with an in depth ‘hands on’ knowledge of the body which informs her teaching. She has been practicing yoga for almost half her life and is happily married with two sons.

Event Calendar:

7th Feb: Anusara Yoga & Detox Day Retreat at Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat €90pp

Join us for some great yoga, cleansing and lots of fun.  Includes 2 hour morning practice, delicious nourishing juices and smoothies, hot tub and sauna session, Guided walk and early evening restorative yoga session.

Call 071 9134339 or email,


6th– 8th Feb: Anusara Yoga and Detox Retreat at Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat, €310pps

We invite you to connect to and clean out your body and mind with a weekend detox at Ard Nahoo.  Take time to eat well, exercise and enjoy nature on this transformational couple of days.

Includes a day long juice/green smoothie cleanse. [BOOK HERE]


6th – 8th March: Anusara Yoga Weekend with Noeleen in Montreux Switzerland

Anusara Yoga & The Dance of Breath and Body – an exploration of the breath via the body and the body via the breath.  Go deeper into your practice and increase your awareness of the connection between the quality of your breath and optimal health. All are welcome.

Qualifies as continuing profession development hours (CPD hours) for YAUK
Contact Julie at for further details and bookin
Or Call 071 9134339 or email,

24th – 26th April: Yoga and Relaxation Retreat

We have been offering this programme for over 10 years and look forward to it every time. It is a great weekend of yoga, delicious healthy (and a bit naughty) food and good fun in interesting company.   Give yourself the gift of relaxation and contemplation while recharging your batteries.

Call or email to book 071 9134939 or

25th April – Anusara Yoga Day Retreat

Join us for some great yoga, great food, great company and lots of fun.  Includes 2 hour morning practice, delicious vegetarian brunch, hot tub and sauna session, Guided walk and early evening restorative yoga session.

Call 071 9134339 or email,


30th May: Ard Nahoo Yoga Festival

Yippee, its festival time again. We had such great feedback from everyone who attended last year so we have to do it all again.

Cost: €95 day only ticket – €100 extra for accommodation to stay for the weekend (limited hostel style accommodation spaces available.)

Following the success of the 1st Ard Nahoo Yoga Festival we will endeavour to bring you once again the best of Irish and international teachers, workshops, talks, chanting, great food, lots of fun and a warm loving atmosphere.

May 20th – 24th 2015 –Advanced Teacher Training Course (300 hours)
Module 1 – Anatomy of Movement & Injury Prevention
Noeleen will be joined by certified Anusara Teacher Lucas Benet ERYT500

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our 300 hour advanced teacher training programme. This had been a long time in the pipeline and we are finalising further dates with faculty members and will be in a position to announce all module dates and syllabus very soon.

Please contact us for further information and application form

June 29th – July 17th: 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Residential Intensive

This is a one of its kind programme in Ireland where you can immerse in the study of yoga in a purpose built yoga retreat centre. Open to experienced yogis who want to take their practice on to the next level or those who want to teach professionally. Take yourself away from everyday responsibilities and focus on studying the path of yoga. The course is Yoga Alliance registered. Call or email for an application form.

Cost: €3,800 (includes all tuition, teacher training manual, shared accommodation and all meals) ** Early bird price €3420 up until March 31st 2015.

Yoga: An Overview

Noeleen Picture Pose

At its truest, most authentic level, yoga is a spiritual practice. The word yoga can be interpreted as ‘union’ or ‘to yoke’. This infers the coming together of two or more things on many levels. You could think of it as a union of body and mind, breath and being, heart and soul, inner and outer consciousness and more besides. In classical yoga terms, it is the coming together of the individual consciousness and the Absolute Consciousness, or, in other words, God.

The yogi practices regularly, over a period of time, in order to attain enlightenment or, in the sacred language of Sanskrit, the state of Samadhi. There are many paths the yogi can take to reach self-realisation. These include, for example, Jnana yoga, which is the study of sacred scriptures, Karma yoga, the yoga of service and Bhakti yoga, a devotional practice.

However, the most common practice in the west is that of Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga

This includes the physical practice of postures, or asanas, that we associate with the typical yoga classes that can be found in almost every town in modern Ireland. On a physical level, the benefits of hatha yoga are huge. Practising makes the body strong, supple, healthy and well balanced. It promotes good lymph and blood circulation; it can regulate hormone production which in turn leads to optimal functioning of other physiological symptoms.

Also importantly, through breath work (pranayama) the central nervous system is toned and calmed, and this is why yoga is so often recommended for those suffering stress or anxiety.

Yoga History

Yoga comes from ancient India, and its roots can be traced back five thousand years, to what is known as the Vedic period. In the beginning, it was an oral tradition, with teachings being passed on and preserved from guru or teacher to student. It is only as the Vedic period progresses that we see the first written scriptures. Texts from this period are called the Vedas. The oldest Vedic text is the Rig Veda and Upanishads, and these teachings are still studied today by yogis all over the world.

The Mahabharata, with over a thousand verses, is the world’s longest epic. This is dated somewhere between 9th and 4th century BCE. Contained within this epic is the very important and well known text, the Bhagavad Gita. There are many references to yoga in the Gita.

Patanjali – The Father of Modern Yoga

Probably the most famous text associated with modern yoga is the yoga sutras of Patanjali, which is dated somewhere between 400BCE and 200AD. In the Sutras he created a handbook, where he clearly maps out the path to enlightenment, and most yoga teachers and students will have a copy of this book on their shelves today. Amongst many other things, he talks of the 8 limbs of yogaor Astanga Yoga, including…

  • The Yamas (the ethics of how we conduct ourselves in the world)
  • The Niyamas (the ethics of how we conduct ourselves when no one is looking)
  • Asana (the physical practice)
  • Pranayama (breath control)
  • Pratyahara (the withdrawal of the senses)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samhadi (bliss or enlightenment)

Yoga in the Modern World

The guru Krishnamacharya (1888 – 1989) developed the yoga practice as we know it today. He had three famous students, who went on to develop their own schools of yoga, one of whom was BKS Iyengar, his brother in law, who was largely responsible for bringing yoga to the West. The other two students were Pattabi Jois, who developed Ashtanga yoga and Krishnamacharya’s own son, Desikachar, who continues on his father’s teachings to this day.

All of the yoga schools you may have heard of (Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara etc) are all forms of Hatha yoga. What makes one school different from another is the method they use to practice, and the attitude or philosophy behind that method. Iyengar yoga has a strong focus on alignment, and innovatively uses props such as blocks, ropes and belts to help all body types practice and stay in poses for a long time. Mr Iyengar is still alive and practicing in his nineties, and his infamous book ‘Light on Yoga’ is used in almost all yoga teacher trainings around the world.

Ashtanga yogis have a very athletic practice, and move in and out of poses with the breath. This creates heat so that impurities are burnt, and muscles gain great flexibility.

Anusara Yoga which I am most qualified to comment on is one of the new schools of yoga to emerge over the last thirty years. There is a strong focus on alignment, and poses are both held for some time as in Iyengar yoga, and flow (move in and out with the breath) as in Ashtanga yoga. What marks this system as different to the others is the emphasis in the teachings on our innate worthiness and perfection. This stems from a more evolved yoga philosophy, arising around 1000 years after Patanjali’s classical yoga. This evolved system is called Tantra, and is based in a non-duel philosophy which tells us that there is only one Absolute Consciousness, and that Consciousness lives inside you as you.

This method is so empowering and uplifting, and is my chosen path as a yogi.

Yoga off the Mat

It is important to say that yoga is not just practiced on a mat. As a yogi, I aspire to live by the teachings and ethics in all aspects of my life. The modern Tantric scholar, Dr Douglas Brookes, reminds us “that life is a gift and not a problem to be solved.”  If we can remember this as we go about our daily lives; getting on the bus, dealing with a cross child, a grumpy shop assistant, it radically changes and brightens our attitude. We simply have to look at the wonder of creation; it is always present, and always waiting to be seen.

I went to my first yoga class over 35 years ago, but started practicing seriously over 20 years ago when I was introduced to Iyengar yoga in San Francisco. In the intervening years, I continued to study and practice and explore various schools and types of yoga and philosophy. I did my first teacher training in 2002 and have since been a ‘yoga nomad’ with almost 1000 hours of study and trainings taken around the world with various teachers.

I have finally found my yoga home with Anusara Yoga and Tantric Philosophy. I love to share yoga with everyone, no matter what their health status, age, background, sex etc. Yoga is effective even if you never think about the philosophical aspects. If you go to a weekly yoga class, you will experience a feeling of centeredness, strength and connection to your body. As a teacher, I am amazed to watch people’s bodies transform over the course of time.  I can share the delight that students feel when they experience that change in themselves. This can be as simple as being able to touch their toes for the first time in years, or the ecstasy of going upside down for the first time.

If you would like to try yoga, then finding a good teacher is important. As well as having a firm understanding of alignmentso that they can teach in a safe and progressive wayyoga teachers need to have their own regular practice.  You should find out the teachers qualifications and experience to see if their teaching is suitable for you.  Most importantly you should ‘feel’ a connection you’re your teacher.  Other qualities to look for in a good teacher are compassion, honesty and an open heart and mind.

When you find a good teacher, and introduce yoga into your life, you will very quickly experience the transformational powers of this ancient, sacred and life-changing art form.

A Life in Salutations – What I have learned over 51 years

noeleen birthday photo

Well, I have just finished 51 Sun Salutes to celebrate my birthday. I did fifty last year to mark the big 5-0 so I seem to have started a tradition.  I practice most days in my new (well, newish) sun room.  Today however there was little sun and my beautiful view was tinted with grey hues and lots of Leitrim rain.  I didn’t let that dampen my resolve.


I decided to do 7 rounds at a time, as a way to keep me focused and keep the count. I paused after the first 14 rounds for a few breaths, and then after every 7 rounds up to the 49th salute.  During these pauses I began to contemplate the numbers and realised that I was counting out my life in breath and movement.


Aged 14

I was having what I can only describe as an idyllic ‘girlhood’ with all my friends. We were horse mad and would work in the local stables as a barter for riding lessons. We cycled, swam (I grew up by the sea), went to the Dandelion market, wore grandfather shirts and drainpipe jeans and really life couldn’t have been better.  Incidentally it was around this time that I tried my first yoga class.  My friend and I giggled our way through and thought it best not to go back.


Aged 21

I was living in Jersey in the Channel Islands and playing at being grown up. Living on my own, working, paying my way and of course playing hard too.  It was a pretty hedonistic lifestyle and I took to it like a duck to water.  I made some great lifelong friends but was glad when I eventually got off the Merry Go Round as my dad called it.


Aged 28

I met and married my gorgeous husband Brendan Murphy in San Francisco. This coupled with the decision to come back to Ireland after almost a decade plus the discovery of yoga a couple of years beforehand was a life changer.   San Francisco I still miss you!


Aged 35

My first son Daragh was born. Nothing prepared me for the awe inspiring, terrifying, empowering and exhausting role as mother.  Also, I was about to give birth to what seemed like my second kid a lot of the time – Ard Nahoo!

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Aged 42

My second actual son was born just before I was 40 and when he arrived he brought a lot of clarity, and made me reconsider where I was at with my family life and business life. By 42 I had made some very crucial business decisions that changed the quality of my life immensely.  As always in my life I found that when I had the courage to shut one door that no longer served me another door opened and showed a glimpse of possibilities for the future.  I decided to do more yoga teacher trainings and commit to life as a yogi.

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Aged 49

Oh dear, the shadow of 50 haunted this year! I really didn’t like the thought of it.  I would be eligible to join some Active Age groups and get Golden Year reductions in hotels, ugh!  As it happened, once the day was over and I mooched on into the year I started to feel happy about it.  I was fit and strong, happier than I have ever been and deeply supported by my family and friends.


Aged 51

The here and now. I sit on my yoga mat with the glow that comes from a deep practice and really I can’t think of any place I would rather be.  I practice the ‘So Hum’ mantra (I am that) and become the November sky, even if it’s grey and raining.  I am truly grateful.