The Many Faces of Yoga: Rosie McMahon

One of the great things about practicing yoga is the community that you find around you. I loved getting to know Rosie since coming back to Ireland and it was a delight to chat with her over coffee and lunch (thanks to Sweet ‘n’ Green in Ennis.)

Rosie spoke about her journey with healing from a trauma in her early 20’s, overcoming depression, sharing yoga with the community in Ennis and Clare and why she loves jumping into the freezing cold Atlantic ocean!

How did you come to yoga?

In my twenties I had a traumatic event where I tragically lost the father of my child. I was left as a single mother at 23.

I went through a year of denial, anger etc. and was escaping the pain in anyway that I could

At the end of that year I figured it was time to heal and I started the journey inwards – through alternative medicine and practices and returning to adult education. From a very young age there was always an openness to the alternative approach.

There was a knowing there.


Where did yoga come in with this process of healing?

When this tragedy happened in my life, I knew I had to start to exercise my body and my mind to heal. I used meditation for my mind and I would explore different practices from reading books. I came across a flip book about yoga and learned the sun salutation sequence.

I always used that sequence and saw that it was making me come back to myself, to feel more grounded, shaking off all that wasn’t mine and I could see that there was something more to this practice of yoga. At that time I was unaware of the history and depth of it all.

Where did your practice begin?

I took a class in Kinvara, it was the only class in Clare at the time and so I traveled the 45 minutes every Monday night for a Satyananada class – which I absolutely loved.


We spoke about the benefits of practice for your mental health, can you talk about that?

After about 4 years of being on my own with my daughter Abi, working though my stuff and the trauma of what had happened, as well as healing, I met Micheal. We went on to marry and have three kids together.

During my teens I had extreme lows, I didn’t know what it was at the time but it was a journey down a darker and darker rabbit hole – and I know now that this was depression.

That came back after having my other three kids as post natal depression. I started to go into these dark spaces again, crying for no reason. I told my nurse I had depression, and once I admitted it my shoulders dropped – with a sense of relief.

This helped me to decide to try the natural route to come out of this space – I took things like St.John’s Wort, started walking and exercising. This prompted me onto running, setting goals and running 5km & 10km and the Dublin City Marathon. Claire, a local girl involved in athletics, and I set up a running group and it became really successful with lots of people attending. That was like an outlet for me to get away from my everyday life – two evenings a week for myself and to meet up with others.


Is this what started your fitness studies?

Yes, I was asked to do boot camp and exercise classes, which pushed me forward to explore exercise and fitness. I went on to study a FETAC fitness course and then at age 37 I went to university in limerick as a mature student and qualified with an Honours degree in Exercise and Health Fitness.

Going back to education has been a life saver for me also, continuously learning and trying new things.

Yoga kept popping back up in my mind as something I would like to study deeper, so I went on to do a 9 months course with Green Lotus Yoga school in Cork , followed by a kids yoga teacher training course, as well as Yin and restorative yoga courses and I continue to study to this day.


What style of yoga do you practice?

I have always mixed up the styles I have practiced but I enjoy the flow and change of Vinyasa style yoga. It suits my creative personality. All my classes are different and I like that – because life is all about change.

Especially when you are a mother, it is hard to find time to practice and sometimes the practice may be in the kitchen or just walking in the woods – always changing.

Delicious lunch while chatting with Rosie at Sweet n Green Cafe.


How has yoga helped you in life?

When I look back at patterns I had developed that were not serving my truth and to now see now how much you can undo those patterns
that don’t necessarily serve you , has had a huge impact on my life.

Yoga really does connect the mind and the body. I was a very mind person – up in my head all of the time, so the practice brings me back down to the sensations in my body. I feel it has helped me shed away many layers, that I may not have seen on my own but were there as a shield.

I feel a lot more open in my heart, more freer and trusting .


“I feel it has helped me shed away many layers, that I may not have seen on my own but were there as a protection. “


Have you noticed it has impacted or benefitted other people or parts of your life?

Yes. it has had a ripple effect on my family. My husband now meditates every morning and that is amazing. To undesrstand that you don’t have to live in the busy mind, that you can stop for 5 minutes and quieten the monkey mind and use little techniques to stay present throughout the day; such as body scanning, breathing. The power of our breath is incredible, that pause between breaths is our moment of solitude.

No one can take that from you.


How have you found the journey as a yoga teacher?

I have been teaching for five years now. It has changed so much from when I started out just doing it a couple of days a week to it now being a full time role.

When you make it your ‘business‘, it changes. It makes you grow.

I have made an incredible amount of friends in the past five years. You start to connect with similar people. You get confidence – even though I was still nervous a few days ago before offering one of my regular yoga classes; after five  years teaching – I was still shaking before the class.

I just love what I do.

I don’t see it as going to work, I love that I feel like I am somehow serving the community. I have seen incredible changes in people. I have taken people to Morocco last year for my first ever retreat and to Inis Boffin. Three of my students are going on to attend teacher trainings. that makes me proud.

I like to remind people that the world isn’t going to fall apart if they take a few days out to just reset.

” The power of our breath and that pause between breaths – is our moment of solitude. No one can take that from you. “

You also teach kids and teenagers. Have you noticed a benefit with them?

Yes I teach yoga in schools, it is very rewarding and enriching to see a group of 30 kids in front of you meditating. When they get it and just drop into it, it is incredible.

We are doing a Mind Body Soul program for 10 weeks here in Ennis with teenagers (and people 60 years and older –
I had an 81 year young woman in my over 60s class and she rocked up on her mat every week and loved it. ).

I did acro and partner yoga with the teenagers and it brought such an element of fun and laughter to the group . I reminded my class to enjoy their practice, to find the joy in it – it can be a hard slog but finding the joy in it rather than thinking of it is as being a chore.

I had an 81 year young woman in my over 60s class and she rocked up on her mat every week and loved it.

To also remember that a yoga practice isn’t just on the mat, it is off the mat – it continues when you go home and close the door, and to keep having that integrity when no one is looking.


Ms. Rosie doing her ocean dip thing.

” When you are immersed in cold water, your mind can’t really be anywhere else- except right there in the sensation.in the present moment. “


I see you are a fan of swimming in the ocean all year round and the Wim Hof method?

Yes, I have a cold shower everyday as I have heard and read a lot about the benefits of cold water for the body and the mind. I’ve studied the win hof method and it makes sense to me.

Recently I did my first wim hoff workshop with Michelle at the Cliffs of Moher Retreat Centre where we practiced breathing techniques and were immersed in an ice bath. I was buzzing for the day!

You are stepping out of your comfort zone – the place where you learn- not just sitting around in 21 degrees, warm and comfortable all the time.

We are this human species and are so domesticated and conditioned to be in comfort as are our movement patterns – but when you go into the sea you have to move with the waves. I find it also helps with negativity in the mind or murky thoughts!

When you are immersed in cold water, your mind can’t really be anywhere else- except right there in the sensation.in the present moment.

I’ve connected with so many like minded people who also take to plunge into the sea. we call ourselves #risefierce

I love the comradery with my fellow sea swimmers, its is pure magic. A bond for life!

” To also remember that a yoga practice isn’t just on the mat, it is off the mat – it continues when you go home and close the door, to continue having integrity when no one is looking. “

Have you any final thoughts to share about yoga or your practice?

I would just like to say that if you are starting out on a yoga journey – listen to your truth and your own path and follow that. Enjoy!

Rosie teaches weekly classes in Ennis, runs workshops and retreats in Ireland and beyond.

You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram or check out her website.

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In the Clare area? It is fabulous – Check out my Travel Guides too:

Travel Guide: Ennis, Co.Clare

Travel Guide: Ennistymon, Co.Clare

Travel Guide: Doolin, Co.Clare

Travel Guide: Co.Clare, Ireland

Read some more of the other faces of yoga I have had the pleasure to chat with:

The Many Faces of Yoga: Dan Morgan

The Many Faces of Yoga: Hamish Hendry

The Many Faces of Yoga: Baiba Sustere

The Many Faces of Yoga : Aisling Reidy

The Many Faces of Yoga : Leonor Rodriguez

The Many Faces of Yoga : Ronah Corcoran

The Many Faces of Yoga : Joseph Mathers

The Many Faces of Yoga : Luke Jordan

The Many Faces of Yoga : Greg Nardi

The Many Faces of Yoga: Almudena Carrascosa

The Many Faces of Yoga : Marit Skogli h

The Many Faces of Yoga : Daniela Leinenweiber

The Many Faces of Yoga : Elissavet Pantazi

The Many Faces of Yoga : Katerina Tahautdinova

The Many Faces of Yoga :Francois Bernard

The Many Faces of Yoga : Laura McNutt

The Many Faces of Yoga : Cristina Repas

The Many Faces of Yoga : Achim Klindworth

The Many Faces of Yoga : Yogeswari

The Many Faces of Yoga : Tony Foran

The Many Faces of Yoga : Perrine Du Chaffaut

The Many Faces of Yoga : Martyna Eder

The Many Faces of Yoga : Thais Rodriguez

The Many Faces of Yoga: Rose Hill

The Many Faces of Yoga : Maria Russell

The Many Faces of Yoga : Lindsay Merlihan

The Many Faces of Yoga : Mary Judge

The Many Faces of Yoga : Sandra Hayes

The Many Faces of Yoga : Ciara Connelly