This week I wanted to interview another guest for the blog, following on from the fabulous chats I had with Lea of Can Eat Attitude about gluten earlier this year.
The event combines all the aspects that make Yoga Sound System events so special: yoga, live DJ and dinner, with everything I love about a Health Bloggers Community event: meeting new people, discovering new brands and sharing tips and experiences on blogging. Oh and there's three course supper. What's not to love?!
If you want to join us the event will take place on Friday 26th January 2018 at Good To Go, 3 Mercer Street, Dublin 2. For the full information and to get your tickets, hit the button below:
Yoga Sound System (YSS) was founded in 2017 by Rachael O'Hegarty and DJ and personal trainer Ronan Mahon to bring the dance-floor to your yoga mat.
To tell us more about the concept and her own journey, I asked Rachael a few questions about where she's come from and what brought her to setting up YSS earlier this year.
For more questions with Rachael you should also check out her interview over on the Health Bloggers Community Magazine, including her book and blogger recommendations.
Thanks so much for joining us Rachael! First us, please tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your background and what brought you to start thinking about healthy living?
I did my undergrad in Cell and Molecular Biology, I taught science in the UAE for a few years and completed a post grad diploma in Event Management when I moved home. I’ve played sports for the most part of my life, from Basketball, Tennis, Hockey, GAA to Touch Rugby, and would consider myself quite a sociable person. I am active, love the outdoors and fascinated by life. It is in this past year that I have delved deeper into the meaning of ‘healthy’, working on becoming more mindful and socially conscious.
What inspired you to start Yoga Sound System?
Yoga Sound System provides a space for people to grow, have fun, socialise and communicate.
I got into yoga just over a year ago and it has taken me on an incredible journey. I remember feeling intimidated going into yoga studios at first ‘cause everyone appeared to look like they knew what they were doing. I was also going along to events where one would imagine like-minded people would attend, however, at these and even after yoga classes I noticed people were reluctant to mingle.
I understand it is daunting to go up to someone you don’t know, however, once you get over the fear and do, possibilities can start to open up.
My 2016 new years resolution was to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and I’m still going with it!
Music is also a big part of Yoga Sound System. Music, a melody of sound vibrations, is a powerful thing. It can recall memories, stir emotion and create healing. I love music and when I teamed up with a DJ, we wanted to match the yoga to music, to allow the music help one through the more challenging poses.
I wanted to do something that would encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new in an informal, fun, environment. At YSS people can expect events that cultivate well being and community through music, movement, and food.
The Flourishing Pantry is all about food, and we've all got a relationship with it. What does food mean to you?
There’s a lot more to food than just the action of eating it. People can get creative with recipes and presentation, it brings people together as a social event (hence why we incorporated it into YSS).
People bring food as an offering of celebration or condolence, social evenings are planned around restaurants, potluck dinners, etc. food is a communal activity.
Then there’s the experience that goes with eating. Try experiencing one square of your favourite chocolate…..hold it in your palm and let your taste buds excite with what's to come. Place it in your mouth and allow your senses take over. Let it melt, don't chew. Mindfully experience eating this square of chocolate. See how long it lasts melting in your mouth.
The first time I tried this I threw the piece of chocolate straight into my mouth without even realising what I had done! I suddenly became aware of what had happened and took it out before I chewed. There was a guy behind me who saw the whole thing and was giggling with me once I’d realised how oblivious I was to eating.
I totally did that too the first time I was taught about 'mindful' eating!
Has food always had an important part of your life? What was your relationship with food like growing up?
Food has had a few meanings for me over the years, I’ve always loved my food, even as a baby.
When I was younger and playing sports I didn’t have to think much of it. Mum always had healthy lunches made for school and home cooked meals for dinner after sports. I was very active, ate as much as my brothers and never had to worry about putting on weight.
As the years went on at college, living abroad, socialising, taking up the gym and weight training, I’ve had a varied relationship with food.
Learning to cook for myself, trying new cuisines (Italian used be my fave, now middle eastern would be my cuisine of choice!), getting better with spicy food, becoming curious about the origin of our foods and their effects on our bodies has been a tasty experience.
My relationship has gone from not having to worry about what I eat, to becoming complacent to realising I can’t eat what I want anymore, right through to trying to eat as many chicken breasts as possible to hit my protein target, to emotional eating to trying to facilitate my body in reaching a state of homeostasis aka food for nourishment.
With the way society has gone I think people have forgotten the underlying reason to eat. I’m still exploring that healthy balance for me.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth and I think I have a separate stomach compartment to facilitate that, no matter how full I’d always have dessert...although now once it’s plant based!
Speaking of which! I know you’ve been exploring going vegan recently. How are you finding it? What has motivated you to move towards a more plant based diet?
Realising my relationship with food had started to become less healthy I began to educate myself on food and nutrition - safe to say it is a minefield out there! Which also doesn’t help with one's relationship with food.
Exactly the reason I started writing The Flourishing Pantry! It's scary the amount of information out there and when you're not an expert, it's hard to decipher what's fact and what's fiction.
There is a lot to be said about the word vegan - I think it has got some negative connotations associated to it, and also, for me, I understand vegan to be a way of life, eliminating all animal products from your lifestyle (clothes and products etc.).
I have joined some great vegan groups - Dublin Vegan Group being one. They hold nutritional information evenings for vegans and those in the process of transitioning. They very much encourage vegan and non vegan people at their events. It is a community of inclusion.
I also enjoy watching documentaries, doing a lot of reading and looking at research into the correlation of foods and disease.
I am mostly plant based, not being too strict when it comes to social events. I will choose plant based when I can. I feel there is a big movement coming towards veganism and restaurants are going to have to start catering for the demand, it has slowly started which is amazing!
It is easy when I am prepared and organised (as is everything!). I am enjoying new recipes, getting creative with meals and discovering new foods. What is challenging is social events and will power.
Ultimately, it is health reasons, environmental impact and wanting to lead a more socially conscious life hat has motivated me towards veganism. I just try to do my best.
And finally, if I can ask: what is your favourite recipe from The Flourishing Pantry?
100% the vegan spiral tart! Firstly, the picture is AMAZING! It almost looks fake! The colours are gorgeous and the ingredients - so tasty!! I must invite you to an autumn food party next time ;) Not sure I could recreate it but perhaps there’s a winter challenge for me!
Yes!! You should totally give it a go, it's not as hard as it looks!
Thank you so much for being my guest on The Flourishing Pantry this week Rachael, it's been great to get to know you better.
Thanks for the questions Vicky, it was definitely an interesting and insightful task for myself too :) x
Remember If you want to join us for the Yoga Sound System x Health Bloggers Community January Supper Club you can get the full information and purchase your tickets by hitting the button below. We really look forward to seeing you there!