Sarah Shannon Yoga





How I found what I was searching for


I have always loved a good festival. For me, festivals are a time to be completely present in the place that you are in. Usually a field. A place to immerse yourself in something that you are really interested in.

A time to be outside, sitting on the grass surrounded by people there for the same reason. It’s about connecting with the people and the things around you. It is a blissful and simple escape from modern hectic living.

And WellFest was all of these things; it was an amazing experience teaching yoga in the WellYoga tent on Saturday and Sunday. I am unbelievably lucky to call this my work. I never imagined a year ago that it would be possible to find a job that I feel so satisfied and fulfilled by.  

I handed in my notice in work one year ago. With no idea what I was going to do next; but I was trying to figure it out. I had a belief (not sure what it was based on) that everything was going to work out fine. I made an agreement with myself to make a move knowing that it might take years to find what I really wanted to do with my life. I decided I was willing to put in the years and start again.

My plan was just to step off the path I was walking down, a career in law that I did not want; and take a step at the very beginning of a road that I actually wanted to walk down for the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure what that road was going to be called, but I had begun to work out what I wanted it to look and feel like.

Writing in my journal daily helped me figure it out. It helped me work out what I want. I’m a woman who changes her mind frequently and with incredible ease, wants an improbable diverse range of things from life and I have an unwavering ability to convince myself of anything.

I had lots of interesting ideas of what I wanted my life to look like. Living in a camper van travelling the world with a husband, two young children and a dog. Like the earthy families you see on Instagram. Idealistic I know. Travelling solo across the world as a hard hitting journalist. Moving to West Cork to write a book and grow my own vegetables to sell in a local market. Retreating for a few years to an ashram in Asia. Living in Africa as an aid worker.

These are just a very small sample of what sometimes I imagine my life could look like. It can be mind boggling and tiring to sift through the various flights of fancy to actually work out what I want. I needed a system to work through the chaos and find out what I was actually searching for.

I drew a chart. I wrote “dream job” in the middle and began to fill the page with words that represented the qualities of how I wanted this future life and work to feel like. Through this method I learnt that what I really wanted from the life in a camper van or travelling the world, was the feeling of freedom. To be master of my own life. Free to go wherever I wanted. So I wrote down freedom in big capital letters. And highlighted it.

The move to West Cork idea was an urge to connect with nature and to do physical work. Away from an office and computers. So I put down “hands on work”, “out in nature”.

The humanitarian work idea; I can definitely say was hatched after watching the film Beyond Borders one night. Inspired by Angelina and Clive Owen, I was ready to head off to East Africa. I let this idea fester for a while; I let the romanticism settle and then looked behind it.

I realised what I wanted was to help people in some way and interact with people on a very basic human level. I love being around people and wanted to be dealing and someway helping people throughout my day.

Law could have offered me most of these things, well not the out in nature part; but it couldn't give me the final part of the spider diagram. The thing I was looking for most. Passion and joy in the work that I do.

I wanted to work at something that aligned with my soul. Yes I wrote those words down. I felt completely out of sync when I was working at something that I was not interested or passionate about. I wrote down this Gandhi quote on the page, as a life goal inspiration:

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” - Gandhi

The chart let me work out what I wanted my life and work to feel like. I wanted work and a lifestyle that offered me freedom; work that allowed me to connect to and maybe help people. I wanted to do physical work out in nature as much as possible. I didn’t know that this was leading me to yoga.

I followed my interest and was drawn to work that offered these qualities. This is how I found yoga. This is how I found work that lights me up and lifts my spirit. The process taught me this valuable lesson. If we want to find a right fit, first work out how we want something to feel.

Whether it’s a new home, a relationship, or a new job. Work out what qualities we want it to have. How we want it to make us feel. And let life and the Universe do the selecting for us. It has a plan and is much better with the finer details.    

Photographs by Ben O’Beirne @theoutrageousben

WellFest is a health, fitness and wellness festival on each year in May on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. I guided an Express Full Body Flow and Satisfy My Soul Reggae Yoga at this years event.