The Yogi That Hit The Road
Sibylle Dallman is a popular yoga teacher whose classes have attracted a huge following in the yoga community in Dublin, blending a strong and dynamic practice with lots of encouragement, inspiration and motivation.
Recently herself, her partner Jody and French bulldog Oscar sold their apartment and hit the road in a camper to explore other shores. Fear not, however, you can still experience some Sibylle magic at her upcoming Dublin workshops, and her retreats in Bali and Essouira.
Etain Finn sat down with Sibylle, before her next adventure on the road, to ask her some questions about her yoga journey, her philosophy and her upcoming projects.
When did you first start yoga?
About 15 years ago, when I first moved to Dublin. I grew up in rural Germany and I was always outdoors and active, but there were no yoga classes available, so I promised myself I would explore it when I moved to a city. I was always interested in the psychology of sport and confidence, which drew me to yoga.
My initial training was a hatha yoga training with Marie Quail in Northern Ireland, but I have studied since in New York, London, Berlin and Frankfurt. I have trained in Jivamukti yoga which is a faster, flowing style and explored also Anusara yoga, which focuses on alignment. It’s important to appreciate both aspects, as if you don’t focus on alignment, the flow can get messy.
I’m currently studying Katonah Yoga with Abbie Galvin, which is a strong alignment focussed practice, which is influenced by Taoism and integrates Kundalini yoga principles. It concentrates on the organs and how we live in our bodies. It looks advanced but the beauty of the practice is that people of all levels can practice it together and be equally challenged in different ways.
How would you define your own style of yoga?
Everything I teach ripples out from my own practice. My classes are based on my own experiences and practice and I can stand behind them. I like to focus on conscious embodiment and a flowing practice, with an emphasis on detailed alignment.
I view yoga as a tool for social change, and yoga teachers as social activists in their areas. They can equip students, one person at a time, with the tools to bring harmony in to their life, to tune into the workings of their own minds and bodies, and be peaceful and kind, and this ripples out also.
Have you any spiritual beliefs?
Ultimately I believe that the goal of all yoga is kindness, forgiveness and peace. I am influenced by aspects of traditional yoga and my Katonah training at the moment. But I’m not dogmatic, I think when you start to move, breathe and feel, the spiritual benefits come naturally.
Is there one yoga book you’d recommend?
Five years ago, I would have given a different answer, In the past, a friend suggested I go on a book buying breather, but now I think….. ditch the books for personal experiences you can draw from. With modern city living, we’re wired to overload ourselves with information, and we can learn a lot from just stripping things back and tuning into our intuition.
What does your daily practice look like when you’re on the road?
My spiritual practice is every moment, but my physical practice varies with the weather. Space is confined indoors, although I can do a forward fold! I like to practice twice a day outdoors, I have a slow grounding morning practice, moving into the body. In the afternoon, depending on what’s been going on that day, I like to start with a flowing practice and then move into pranayama breathwork and meditation, I’ve found that the afternoon is the best time of the day for me to meditate.
Do you do any other type of exercise other than yoga?
Our whole lifestyle is very active, we’re both keen snowboarders and like to spend the beginning of the year in the snow in Lake Tahoe. We’re also enjoying getting into surfing at the moment. I like moving, but activities you can experience rather than measure, like snowboarding and surfing. When you finish a day on the board, you don’t think about how much ground you’ve covered, you just know you’ve had a great day.
What has been your favourite location on your current travels?
When we were in Ericeira in Portugal, recently we had a wonderful experience with a sunrise surf lesson. Our teacher was a man in his late sixties, and you could see the aliveness in his eyes. He was very traditional and didn’t speak a lot, but when he did it was always a potent reflection, on both surfing and life. “Not every big wave is always the best wave”.
Do you have a philosophy that you live by?
Early in our relationship, myself and Jody discussed this and agreed that we would spend our time with the people we love and doing the things we love. I think this changes us for the better. I also like to keep my curiosity alive.
You will be running your fourth teacher training next year, how can students know when they’re ready to make the leap to the next stage?
I think the most important thing to have is a passion and curiosity around all aspects of yoga. Regarding the physical practice, I think that students who have been practising long enough to have experience plateaus in their practice or injuries that have kept them off the mat, but have retained their enthusiasm are ready. Yoga can bring up a lot of things physically and emotionally so it’s important to have moved beyond the initial novelty when you’re considering undertaking your teacher training.
And what can people expect from one of your retreats?
The intention I have on a retreat is to take create an environment where people can come and step away from the daily rush and reconnect to their intuition. Some people just want time out, some people want to reset, they might realise they want to take their work, or another aspect in a different direction. Everyone has the capacity to answer this for themselves, but it’s important to have the space to reconnect.
What you can expect is no dogma, a lot of compassion, a lot of laughs and a dynamic yoga practice.
How do you practice self-care?
By spending time with my dog Oscar, with my man, and staying curious. The main thing I’ve learned is to simplify and how happiness now is living simpler, having less and seeing more.
You can find details of Sibylle’s upcoming workshops and retreats on her website www.sibylledallman.com, on her Instagram @sibylledallman, and you can follow herself, Jody and Oscar’s travels on www.othershores.life