7 Questions with Emma S…
21st September 2018
Ems - many thanks for doing this! First up, what are you doing here?
Most of the time I'm working on a dream to create retreat experiences that inspire connection, growth, wellness, rejuvenation and gratitude. I feel now more than ever it’s essential for our health and happiness to escape the stresses of everyday life whenever we can and I want to offer people a space to slow down and find some quiet in nature, with time to breathe deeply, relax, soak in their surroundings, and enjoy the present moment. Designing experiences that reflect this intention is deeply rewarding but consumes most of my time here!
You worked in Irish pubs around Europe before teaching yoga - what do you miss about that?
I don't miss a whole lot about it to be honest! I'm much happier living the slow island life in the sunshine! Living mostly barefoot and immersed in nature is my ideal lifestyle, so I certainly don't miss the late nights , or the city life! I did meet some of my favourite people during that time and I miss them very much!
Do you think you're in any way shaped by the (relatively) nomadic life you now have, or is it more the other way around?
The brilliant part of breaking free from the constraints of a “normal life” is that it gives me the freedom to become who I want to be. I don't have the expectations of people, society or even myself limiting what I'm able to be, achieve or choose to do in my life. I have redefined myself and started from scratch with every new location, taking the best of the people, cultures and countries I've experienced in order to build myself and the life I want. Because of that, I've definitely become much more adventurous in trying new things, I'm a bigger risk- taker, and far more confident in my own abilities.
Living in an environment of constant change where situations can be quite challenging at times has given me the opportunity to truly be free in who I am and the life I live. By not having a home in the traditional sense, and the basic understanding that nothing is mine and everything is temporary – I have certainly become more robust and accept the hardships of life with a lot more ease.
Where's better (for you) India or Sri Lanka?
I love the laid back island vibe in Sri Lanka. It feels a lot more calm and soothing than India, and as its possible to travel from one end of the country to the other in a matter of hours, you can experience climates, land, and geography completely different from one another in a short amount of time.
Finding a quiet isolated strip of beach is not too hard and with rolling greenery and cascading waterfalls the interior landscape is equally as stunning as the golden coast. The smiles and hospitality of the Sri Lankans can't be beaten and then there's the food! Once I tried my first rice and curry - there was no going back!
What retreat/Ashram experience has had the most impact on you?
In 2013 I took a 6 month trip to India where I was steeped in the wisdom of enlightened masters, awakened beings and spiritual leaders at Ammas ashram in Kerala and The Centre for The evolution Of consciousness in Auroville. Both ashram experiences had a powerful impact on me and I feel this is when yogic philosophy really took root in my practice.
My understanding of the teachings leads me back to simple truths – we are all connected - if we can be truly happy, kind, and good to ourselves, it will flow to others and change our present understanding and experience of the world! This is when I truly began to believe and experience that through the yoga practise we can transform ourselves and go beyond our current ego-centric state of being.
In your life as a yoga instructor/retreat planner, what (if anything) would you do differently if the clock turned back and you started it all again?
No regrets - I wouldnt change a thing :)
Does teaching help or hinder your own practice
Definitely helps! With hours of training, practicing, planning and sequencing, I've developed greater skill, insight and technical proficiency in my own practice. I am always learning and in order to deliver classes that feel sincere and connect to my students in a meaningful way I have had to delve deep into the philosophical underpinnings of the tradition.This perspective has enriched my own practice immeasurably!
Thank you Ems!