By Ann Marie McVeigh
Flag yoga is a unique small space custom built at our property on Flagstaff Road (hence the name). We operate weekly hot yoga classes. Ranging from my personal favourite of a Vinyasa flow to a yin class which is a fabulous restorative form of yoga. Future plans involve exclusive teen and children’s classes and children’s camps during holidays and various events throughout the year.
I’m Ann Marie. As a person, I am into every type of sport going. From GAA to Netball/ Basketball to Tennis to Golf to any type of fitness class. You name it, I’m there. Exercise in general makes me feel good plus when I was younger it was the only thing that gave me some self-belief. Roll on 20 years later, I am firstly a mother of two young boys and also my love of sports has allowed me to be fortunate enough to be a PE teacher and have travelled the world doing so. During a stint in America playing football back in 2010 I over indulged and came back with a view to start running. So I ran, few 5/10k’s, two half marathons and a marathon. Numerous injuries later (I literally couldn’t walk) someone suggested yoga to me and I laughed. “No thanks” I said.
They said “no- hot yoga!!” You sweat loads, stretch the muscles better, amazing for recovery and you feel like you’re getting a work out, it’s unreal you should definitely try it. I thought about it and just went for it. Straight away I was addicted. I didn’t know the moves, the words they were using and thought I’d pass out with the heat but I stuck to it (Rome wasn’t built in a day) and after previously having 12 months of physio and numerous trips to various professionals, my injuries- in particular my hips got a new lease of life. I could go back playing football and I felt the best I ever had. TRUTH!! So I would say I was more into the physical aspect of yoga.
In 2017, during a small break from teaching I completed an Ashtanga teacher training in Thailand. It was then I understood the benefits of everything surrounding yoga, the breathing techniques, the meditative side, I even discovered yin (everyone needs some Yin now and again!!) and of course an in-depth study into the anatomy and the physical aspect of yoga. Since then I have completed a yin teacher training, children and teen course and a yoga nidra course.
As a family we moved back to Newry during lockdown late 2020. We always thought about changing our downstairs into a gym so that happened straight away. I was actively looking for a premises for a hot yoga studio but finally settled on changing the gym into the studio. The vibe is dark and comfy, welcoming and fun. A zen environment where you can switch off.
What do we provide?
I provide services to suit everyone. From my weekly classes to a one off session. All classes are for beginners; however, some are more suited than others. I always say keep an open mind and go with the flow- literally!!
Sports team, groups of friends/ family or an individual who prefers lone sessions are all welcome to enquire about private sessions here at Flag Yoga. I have experience with all ages, from recovering injuries/ surgeries (consultation required), students looking for exam relief to sports clubs and hen parties looking for a little bit of variety to their weekend. Sessions are available as a once off or a block booking. The studio can be hot or non hot, that is up to you.
Yoga can be daunting. Is it for you? Is it not for you? Either or, we believe yoga belongs in everyone’s lives. Everything can be modified in a yoga practise. We all didn’t get up and just decide to walk from birth, we naturally walked or got prompts to walk. Therefore, yoga needs a little chance. I have so many people say I am no good at yoga. There’s no good or bad at yoga. Some people say “this is too advanced”. Yes, it’s true, you may be putting your body into shapes that it has never done before, the body and mind need time to adjust but believe me you will get there! Modifications are key!!
The one fact remains- you are there on the mat, taking some time out, relieving your body of the stresses and normality of life which is the most important. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do the posture. What matters most is being there. Everyone gets something different from a class, from a full body stretch, a detox, that overall zen feeling or a complete switch off. I’d had people come in and fall asleep or just take some time out on the mat. If that’s what you need, do it! I hope that everyone feels that they can be completely themselves within my studio and that they feel most welcome.
Am I a full time yogi? No! Reality is life doesn’t allow me to be. But opening up this little gem has allowed me to find another new lease of life. Something I can call my own. Something I worked hard to achieve- I will not forget painting at 2am in the morning and getting up a few hours later to babies and heading off for a full day of teaching but it was worth it. Of course, it won’t be all plain sailing in this little world of business but I will learn and it will definitely teach me to become more resilient. Years of getting turned away for a yoga premises, lockdown, having babies, moving countries and houses put a little stop to my yoga world but now I’m back and loving each and every minute.