Monday 9 December 2019

'To be able to sit in stillness is an art' - Pilates and Yoga evangelists Annie Kirwan and Lee Tracey

Karl Henry with this week's guests, Annie Kirwan and Lee Tracey
Karl Henry with this week's guests, Annie Kirwan and Lee Tracey
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Annie Kirwan and Lee Tracey never intended to be Pilates and Yoga instructors.

The two women and business partners began their lives on very different career routes.

Lee worked in the financial sector and spent most of her days behind a desk, mulling over spreadsheets. Annie studied science in college and intended to work in a lab.

But for both women- something just wasn't right.

!I got a job in science, and on my first day I was holding a pipet and had a flash," she said.

Annie suddenly saw her life stretch out ahead of her and panicked. She realised a career in science was not what she wanted.

She had done a Pilates course and decided to start teaching. "I was so nervous teaching my first class. My whole body was shaking. But everything made sense after that class."

Lee worked in finance and first took a yoga class because she heard Madonna was a fan.

Almost instantly she was hooked. As she continued to practise she realised that she wanted yoga to be more than a hobby.

"At that time I was working in finance and I had been in it for a good few years," Lee told Karl Henry on the Real Health Podcast.

"There was this feeling go malaise or lethargy or not living my life to its full potential. There was dissatisfaction. I think we all push those feelings into the background .... but when I sat in meditation something just wasn't myright."

Lee left her job, and moved abroad to train as a yoga teacher. When she returned to Dublin she had a 'what have I done' moment, but said her parents reassured her she was doing the right thing.

Over the past seven years, both Annie and Lee built up their respective reputations as being highly skilled Pilates and Yoga practitioners. The two women shared a similar fitness ethos and decided to establish their own business Reformation last year.

Annie focuses on Pilates while Lee teaches Yoga. Many people are alittle haky about what separates Pilates from yoga, but according to Lee the difference is significant.

"In yoga you want to be connected to the earth and grounded in a reality, the world we live in is very loud and distracting," she said.

"When i went through that transformative stage of your life i had lost my essence and who I was."

Pilates on the other hand is about precision. Or as Annie puts it, "Pilates is a life changing full body movement working on breath and mindfullness'.

Both of the practises focus on restoration - both of the body and the mind.

And in today's society both Lee and Annie think that is of paramount importance.

i"[Today's society] is unsustainable, you will break or be damaged," Lee said.

"These practises are a way of bringing us back to our essence and allow us to reconnect with who we really are.

"To be able to sit in stillness is an art - because of phones and technology we have lost [that ability]. Pilates and yoga are like a reset button."

For more episodes and information from the Real Health podcast you can also go to: https://www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast/

The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry in association with Laya Healthcare.

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