Yogies ready to descend on Boyne Valley for first Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival

Cathy Pearson, Irish film-maker and expert yoga teacher, has organised the first Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival this summer, Here, she tells Gail Bell why yoga should be lifestyle choice and not just a class fitted into your busy schedule

Cathy Pearson, organiser of Ireland's first woodland yoga festival

:: How did you get into yoga and what was the idea behind the festival?

I have been practising yoga for 25 years or more and now spend half the year living and teaching in Thailand and Bali where yoga is more a lifestyle choice than a weekly class in a studio. I wanted to bring all the amazing people who I've been working with together, so yoga teachers and enthusiasts could share healing, wisdom and nature in Ireland’s mythically rich valley, Brú na Bóinne. Also, as a film-maker, I know the logistics of the production end of things and how to bring an event like this together.

:: Are there any similarities between your life in Dublin and Bali?

Well, when I live in Ireland, I have quite an urban lifestyle and when I'm in Bali and Thailand, I'm basically living in the jungle, so it's quite different on that level. But, the storytelling aspect and spiritual traditions through myths, fables and folklore is quite similar. In terms of yoga, the goal is just the same – reconnecting with ourselves and with the peace, love and wisdom that comes from inside us all.

:: What benefits has yoga brought into your own life?

Peace of mind and a strong, healthy body.

:: What can people expect?

An immersive experience of yoga, Celtic wisdom, healing arts and nature. There are 25 workshops, seminars and classes each day, so there's something to suit everyone. Like a music festival, you will need your wellies and sunscreen, but unlike a music festival, you will be in bed by 10pm. It's a healthy, lifestyle event with vegan food and it's alcohol-free.

:: Is Ireland ready for a woodland yoga festival?

Absolutely; there is such a growth in yoga because people need it more than ever today. There is tremendous support from Northern Ireland – one of our teachers, Emma Warmington, is from the north, as are most of our volunteers and 50 per cent of the festival crew. It's going to be a lot of fun.

:: The Celtic Woodland Yoga Festival, Townley Hall, Boyne Valley, July 19-22. Tickets and details at

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