Ríonach began practising yoga in Paris in 1997 at L’Ecole Francais du Yoga, where her primary teacher was Philippe de Fallois and the ethos of the school was to explore several different styles of yoga.
On her return to Ireland in 2000, Ríonach discovered Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, through her teacher, Marianne Jacuzzi. She developed a daily practice under Marianne’s guidance and subsequently trained to teach at Les Aisles du Yoga in Paris and with David Swenson in Edinburgh.
A certified (500hr) Senior Teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals, Ríonach is particularly inspired by her studies with Gregor Maehle and Monica Gauci, David Swenson, Guy Donahaye, Lino Miele and Richard Freeman. She regularly travels to expand her knowledge of yoga asana, meditation and pranayama practice, philosophy, theory, and adjustment technique, believing firmly in the adage that the teacher is always a student. Her style of teaching is non-dogmatic, and she encourages students to maintain an open mind as they develop their practice in a way that works for their unique body and stage of life. As a teacher of Ashtanga, Ríonach hopes to facilitate students to discover the life-long benefits and joy of this powerful and transformative practice.
My first yoga class was in 2005 in my local gym. As an avid gym bunny back then, I wasn’t sure what to expect from yoga. I even thought it might be a bit boring. Slowly and surely, however, I began to understand that yoga does more than just keep you physically fit and strong – it also has an extraordinary effect on the mind.
The lovely calm that I felt after a yoga class and the way my stress levels reduced was simply magical. Not to mention the whole body workout that was very challenging and also (to my surprise) very enjoyable. I tried many different styles of yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Bikram) in various studios in Dublin but hadn’t established a regular practice until in January 2010, when I signed up for an Ashtanga beginners’ course. I was instantly hooked! I just couldn’t wait to get back to the class each week so I also started to practise at home. Soon after, to my great delight, a beautiful yoga studio opened locally, in Greystones, offering led Ashtanga classes as well as a 6 day a week morning Mysore programme.
I have learned a lot from attending in-depth workshops and am forever grateful to have studied with teachers like Luke Jordan, Suzanne Brennan and world-class Ashtanga experts, David Swenson, Hamish Hendry, Manju Jois, David Williams, Guy Donahaye, Greg Nardi and Kathy Cooper.
But teaching yoga would probably have remained only a dream if it hadn’t been for the loving support of my own teacher, Rionach O’Flynn, who encouraged me to complete an authentic teacher-training course with renowned Ashtanga teacher, Brian Cooper, who has practised Ashtanga yoga for over 40 years. In 2012 I completed the Union Yoga RYT 200h Teacher Training course with Brian in the South of France. The greatest advice he gave me was to always be myself as a teacher and to remember that one’s own practice is the greatest teacher.
I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and the happiness that a regular yoga practice has brought me over the years.
We are delighted to have Marianne Jacuzzi join us to teach the History & Philosophy of Yoga module on our Teacher Training Course.
Discovering the Bhagavad Gita while still a schoolgirl in California, Marianne began meditating with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in San Francisco when she was sixteen. Later, she studied Indian Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz.
Her yoga practice began in the Sivananda tradition, with meditation, chanting and devotional practices as important as asana. After moving from California to Ireland in the early 90’s, she studied Iyengar Yoga with Elizabeth Connolly in Dublin, who introduced her to Ashtanga Yoga in the late 90’s. It was not long before the power of Ashtanga Yoga completely captivated her. For about eleven years, she maintained a strict daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga and travelled many times to Mysore to study directly with Pattabhi Jois.
But her personal practice began to evolve around 2009 to 2012, the combined richness of those three foundational schools, along with an internal transformation and a few extraordinary Indian masters—all coming together to give birth to her own fluid style of practice, which she developed and called Shakti Rasa. Shakti Rasa Yoga incorporates breath and meditation into powerful asana work that raises the frequency of the subtle energy body. Since her teaching has always flowed from her personal practice, she began offering classes in Shakti Rasa as well.
Having done teacher trainings in Sivananda, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama Yoga, she is Yoga Alliance certified at the highest level: E-RYT-500 and is also a Yoga Alliance continuing education provider: YACEP.
Alongside her daily practice of yoga, Marianne also continued her studies in Indian philosophy. With eminent yoga scholar Georg Feuerstein, she completed over 1000 hours of coursework in yoga philosophy. With Buddhist priest David Brazier, she studied Buddhist psychotherapy for over four years in the UK. She incorporates techniques of Zen therapy into her work with clients and continues to be inspired by this teaching.
I started yoga much younger than the average student. A single, experimental class at Greystones Yoga turned into a lifestyle for me from the age of just fifteen. The enthusiasm and dedication I received from both of my teachers, Ríonach and Ingrid, played a huge role in this. I quickly moved from drop-in classes to a monthly pass, and so it began! Eventually, I felt compelled to go deeper and do a teacher training. I really wanted to immerse myself fully in the yoga world and I saw my 200 hours training, which I completed in 2018, as the first step.
After my teacher training I wanted to continue to study and learn all that I could. I have completed workshops with Kathy Cooper, David Swenson, Kino McGregor and Ty Landrum, all amazing and inspiring Ashtanga teachers and practitioners.
Most recently I travelled to study with Mark Robberds for an 8 week intensive course, and I will be returning again this year. Mark introduced me to joint mobility (CARS) and controlled flexibility (FRC). I now include these exercises before my practice to improve my overall control of my body. I introduce some of these movements into my classes, while still maintaining the integrity of the Ashtanga Yoga method.
As part of my training with Mark, I studied yoga history and philosophy with Seth Powell, who is a PhD Candidate in South Asian Religions at Harvard University. His research focuses on Sanskrit yoga texts and the practice of modern transnational yoga. I travelled to Karnataka in India with Seth and a group of students, visiting all the sacred sites in that region and delving into the roots of the ancient practice of yoga.
Ashtanga can be unfairly accused of fixating on the external practice, but every time I step on my mat I discover again how untrue this is. As I move and breathe through the asana sequence, I slip easily into my internal space and my mind becomes still. I continue to become more resilient because of my practice; to learn every day and to integrate this knowledge into my classes.