The positive influence of Yoga in living a more sustainable life

 We are delighted to introduce to you, Susan Gray. She is a Galway native and has lived in Connemara for many years, raising her family and working as a Satyananda Yoga Instructor from her popular practice based in Letterfrack. Susan’s silky voice is a gift for guided meditation called Yoga Nidra which she also teaches in Clifden.  She is an Ohh! By Gum supporter and endeavours, like many of us, to lead a ‘sustainable’ life.

Yoga essentially means "that which brings you to reality." In very simple words, giving care to your body, mind and breath is yoga. This means that the centuries-old practice which originated in India includes yoga postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayamas) and meditation. There are many different schools of practice, and since the 70’s has become world-wide healthy living phenomenon.


I first met Susan 12 or more years ago, when I first attended one of her yoga classes in Letterfrack.  She is a perfect embodiment of grace, kindness and consciousness which I clearly see in her role as teacher and as a mother too.   Her outlook on life is infectious and I am learning so much about myself and tuning into the world around me by attending her Yoga classes.   Susan has a real sense of being grounded and at the same time being lots of fun!  I love when she comes and visits us in the shop because we have fun trying new pieces and I like to see if she picks out the particular ones that I have bought with her in mind.  I think it’s wonderful we have some one of her talents locally.  Our community gains so much from people who bring something back from far flung places and infuse us with new understanding and practices for better living’  - Sharon, Founder of Ohh! By Gum

I was born and raised in Galway. When I was young I had the opportunity to travel a lot with my family - and later as an adult, I travelled a lot with friends. I worked in my own business in Galway City for many years. I started attending a regular yoga class in Galway in 1991.

I had a desire to Scuba Dive and with a trip to Israel planned - I decided to get certified as a Scuba diver in Ireland before travelling. Hence Scuba diving at Scubadive West in Connemara! Where there I met my future husband and have lived ever since!

Susan's View from her back door


I was attending regular Yoga classes in Galway City which I found hugely beneficial while running my own business in the city. A friend in London had just qualified and suggested the teacher training to me. The very next day I bumped into my Yoga teacher in Galway, she put me on the right track. Two and a half years later I was fully qualified in the Satyananda tradition of Yoga. The hardest but best thing I could have done. Satyananda Yoga is very much in touch with the ancient tradition of Yoga.

I keep improving my knowledge by attending Ashrams in India and Greece and by taking new certification courses here in Ireland. I am really looking forward to a Prana Vidya course in March. Prana Vidya is an advanced yogic practice distilled from the classical traditions and developed in the Satyananda Yoga system. It involves a deep exploration of prana , the life force, though meditation   


The view from Susan's backdoor  

Sustainable living is important to me. We are squandering the planets finite resources to fuel a disposable economy. We are all doing it every day.  I am constantly making small changes and educating my children to live more in harmony with nature. Single use disposable water bottles are gone from our house! We each have stainless steel or copper drinking bottles. A weekly treat for me is a coffee to go in Galway or Clifden. So my ‘keep cup’ is essential to bring along and get filled. Some Cafes give you 10 cent off the price of your coffee when you bring your own cup! Drive the car less often, walk whenever possible. Car pool - ‘don’t make unnecessary journeys!’

Everything about where I live, here in Connemara affects my outlook. The energy from the sea, the stability of the mountains, the clean air, the freshness - a bit too much rain though! The variety helps me to see the beauty and colour.  It’s a reminder that each day is unique and precious.

I buy from small, owner operator stores as much as possible. My husband and I each run a small business and we know the difference it makes when people choose local.

I don’t have a need for a huge wardrobe but when I buy.  I look for organic, sustainable clothing. I am lucky to have such a beautiful selection available on my doorstep in Clifden. 

                                       Susan's Buddha Garden at home


The obvious benefits of Yoga are physical - flexibility, bone density, muscle strength, protection from injury, and increased energy levels. The less obvious benefits are subtle and really important - Yoga and Meditation with a suitably qualified instructor will give you the tools to cope with life on a day to day basis on every level, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Meditation is a powerful tonic for the world we live in today. It gives us the opportunity to clear the mind of noise and clutter.

Yoga makes us aware, you start by attending yoga class and, over time the benefits filter into daily life.

When you first start out with Yoga, the most important thing is not to have any expectations.

When you need it Yoga will find you!

Trust a Yoga programme that retains the ancient practices. Be patient, listen to your body, be aware of your noisy mind. 


Susan is wearing the Thought Delphy Top and Jay leggings  


We like to keep it a bit fun at Ohh! By Gum so we have to ask…..

Name one thing you are good at, one thing you could be better at, and one aspiration.


I am a good minder, good at creating a safe space for my students, I suppose it’s just a continuation (hopefully!) of being a good mom. I enjoy providing healthy and nutritious food, no packets! Which, to my detriment often involves spending two hours prepping a meal but it’s worth it.

I could be better at social media and technology - not good at all! This interview is a big step! I don’t feel comfortable putting myself out there.

I would like to continue to live a healthy, happy, active yogic lifestyle. Trying not to engage in the disposable culture, do I need a new phone? No.  I’ll hold onto it for another year.

I bought a ‘keep cup’ for my takeaway coffee. I want to eliminate single use plastic from my life. We really have a long way to go, but we can do our bit from home. Composting, recycling and reducing clutter.


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