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About Us
Shirley Doolan Teacher I’m   Shirley,   a   semi-retired   former   Art   teacher,   mother   of   four   lovely sons   and   wife   to   a   very   understanding   and   endlessly   patient,   Steve.      I embarked   on   my   Art   teaching   career   at   the   Grange   School   in   sunny Runcorn   and   as   I   was   moving   back   to   the   North   from   Brighton, accommodation   in   Runcorn   Brookvale   came   with   the   post.      In   the late   70’s   Runcorn   was   just   emerging   and   to   be   in   a   New   Town,   with a   new   husband   and   a   new   job   was   a   bit   of   a   shock   to   the   system.     We   were   living   in   the   middle   of   nowhere,   teaching   was   harder   than   I expected,   especially   year   eights!!      Steve   and   I   were   getting   used   to living   with   each   other   and   we   needed   to   widen   our   experiences,   so we   decided   to   join   some   evening   classes.      He   chose   Shotokan   and   I headed   towards   a   Yoga   Adult   Education   class.      I   had   always   enjoyed sports,   but   as   with   most   people,   was   unsure   about   this   new   form   of exercise   where   you   laid   down   at   the   end   –   what   was   that   all   about?      I just   wanted   the   adrenaline   to   flow,   get   a   buzz   and   feel   like   I   had tired   myself   out.      What   I   expected   was   aerobics,   what   I   got   was   an experience which, over the last 40 years, has shaped my life. Over   the   next   few   years   I   moved   back   over   the   river   to   Tarbock,   left   the   Grange,   started   teaching   at   Widnes   Sixth   Form   College   and   had   my   first son.      I   continued   going   to   Yoga   classes   and   enjoyed   many   different   teachers,   workshops   and   yoga   retreats,   but   my   actual   teaching   journey   began in   1982   with   the   wonderful   Pam   and   Gordon   Smith.      Their   teacher   training   course   was   really   inspiring,   but   the   birth   of   my   second   son   meant   that   I had   to   put   it   on   hold   for   a   while.      Little   did   I   know   then   that   “while”   would   be   20   years!      I   did   however,   teach   yoga   to   my   students   at   Widnes   Sixth Form College on Wednesday afternoons and Yoga at Night School. The   BWY   Teacher   Training   course   with   Rosemary   Bennet   finally   happened   in   the   next   millennium   and   several   years   later,   a   Foundation   Course with   Marilyn   Heginbotham.      The   wrong   way   round   I   know,   but   it   gave   me   an   opportunity   to   learn,   work   and   spend   some   wonderful   yoga   time   with Stephen, my eldest son, who was just embarking on his journey to become a Yoga Teacher. Understanding   yoga,   beyond   just   the   physical   practise,   has   been   truly   inspirational   and   encouraged   me   to   do   a   training   course   for   teaching   yoga to   people   living   with   cancer.      Julie   Freiderberger   was   an   exacting   teacher,   but   one   that   truly   prepared   me   for   the   task.      The   armchair   yoga   group was   set   up   and   I   worked   from   a   prefab   hut   at   Whiston   Hospital   for   twelve   months   before   moving   into   the   lovely   new   Lilac   centre   in   St   Helens Hospital.  We now meet in St John’s Centre in St Helens every Tuesday. Yoga   has   brought   some   wonderful   friends   into   my   life,   whether   from   courses   I   have   attended   or   students   I   have   taught   and   thankfully,   still   teach.     I   love   my   Monday   groups,   who   have   been   with   me   for   more   years   than   I   dare   to   admit   –   we   are   like   a   happy   family,   and   I   hope   to   continue widening this friendship group with the new Thursday Hatha class. My   Yoga   practise   has   taken   many   forms   over   the   years,   beginning   with   Hatha,   including   a   bit   of   Yoga   Ballet,   moving   onto   Iyengar,   Ashtanga   and eventually   the   beautiful   Yin.   New   students   often   ask   what   type   of   yoga   I   teach.      I   find   this   hard   to   give   an   exact   answer   to,   as   I   believe   that   Yoga, like   Art   is   an   eclectic   experience.      I   am   constantly   learning   and   adapting   my   Yoga,   as   I   am   my   Art:   so,   just   as   I   try   to   keep   the   artist   side   of   me evolving   from   the   experiences   I   have   had,   to   make   “Shirley”   art,   I   would   like   to   think   that   my   Yoga   teaching   is   an   amalgamation   of   all   the teachings/workshops   and   classes   I   have   experienced   to   form   “Shirley   Yoga”   –   often   melding   into   “Smiley   Yoga”,   as   I   believe   Yoga   is   a   wonderfully uplifting and enjoyable experience. During   my   time   teaching   yoga   I   have   taught   in   school   halls,   village   halls,      gyms,   upstairs   in   pubs,   downstairs   in   pubs,   in   a   living   room,   prefab   and   a dance   studio   –   none   of   which   were   really   conducive   to   the   total   yoga   experience.      So,   to   have   the   fabulous   Yoga   Bank   to   share   yoga   in,   is   joy beyond words-it feels like my Yoga has finally come home.