Following on from the 1st blog where the newly purchased land as site for this new dedicated space, which had to be sold after planning permission was turned down! The search was on again, several more sites were in the running but eventually the existing site was found. The group of enthusiastic trustees overseeing this ambitious project were Julia Cotter, Janny Wieler, Sue Stevens (King), Marianne Gabriel, Tony Cohu and Charlie Stevens. Charlie was that first Yoga teacher who went on to train many more new yoga trainee teachers to become qualified Yoga Teachers. You could almost consider this the origins of the current boom that manifests so many new yoga teachers now.
The up coming Yoga festival has several of the next generation trained by Charlie on the festival collective and teaching at this new Yoga Festival. When the seven of us got together to run this new Yoga festival, that is now just days away! We all agreed resoundingly on one thing which was that it had to take place at An Sanctoir. You could not if you tried find any better setting for it. I like to think this coming together of Yoga forms and the love of this place, has provided for all who attend
in some ways a perfect world, it may well be that this festival could offer a whole new energy and vitality to the place.
The beauty and uniqueness of An Sanctoir lies in the fact that it is not led managed or controlled by any one person and it never has been. This may seem normal for a non profit charity but it isn’t, most organisations have a paid or unpaid leader of some sort. The good side is it’s free to become many things and the flip side is to become none. I have in my short 6 years here, been exposed to the pulling and pushing that can lead from ripples to waves, but somehow it always lands again to take a more settled and evolving pathway. The biggest concern to many that love it is that it is shared with more people than it is at the moment, that many more can get the benefit of a residency or workshop in such a powerful place, I’m sure others like the seclusion of it. None the less it is and always was meant to be for all with no pressure to conform to any kind of belief.
Please read the original article written by the trustees as it describes this really well. Lets see if the 'West Cork Yoga Festival celebrating Yoga and Life' can offer more opportunities to achieve this objective. Our intention is to celebrate and support An Sanctoir.
Tony Cohu was the architect who drew up the plans for An Sanctoir as it stands. Many of his buildings now stand in west cork and some bear a resemblance to this style of architecture unique to him. All will agree the An Sanctoir Yoga Hall is really something very special not only for its beauty and tranquillity that lends itself perfectly to yoga practice and now many other types of practice, but also for the way it came about how the vision and tenacity of those trustees and others around at the time supporting them, in many ways moved mountains. For those days the amount raised was considerable. Charlie remembers bazaars in the community hall, donations from many
individuals and yoga workshops in Cork city just to raise money. The group also managed to get core funding from the West Cork Enterprise Boardon the basis they would find fifty per cent match funding and this was gained from the local bank as a loan. These finances needed to be repaid in full amounting to 100 thousand, a large sum to find back then. These loans were paid back in part and then taken on by generous donators who were able to carry the loan for a longer period. The down side is that some of these good folk are still owed their money today.
The original plans included another smaller octagonal building separate and above the existing one that could house a proper kitchen a library and also a building in the ‘bowl field’ would accommodate 12 people. The usual costs and problems with builders meant that proceedings had to stop at the first buildling as budgets were superceeded.
The opening ceremony of An Sanctoir sounds like a very special one for those 200 people who attended. There was a shamanic fiddle player, Chloe Goodchild sang, They chanted and folks gave talks, all this when the floor had only been varnished the night before. The floor then was even more precious than it is now. Flood damage took away the original intricately finished one When the original floor was layed the trustees at the time had a ceremony and buried their prayers in the ground. I have to say, as a practitioner, the building and particularly the ground to me always offers the most wonderful support, really enabling the practice to go deep, maybe its just the building or view or maybe its helped along by these prayers or intentions.
The original trustees remember a dip pool in the river in the large field that offered a great swim but now sadly overgrown, close to where the current sculpture tail has its wish line, a place where you hang your wishes on the washing line. Perhaps the original swim pool could be unearthed for the next West Cork Yoga Festival! Give us plenty of notice if you would like to see this happen next year.
This first wave of trustees were likley to have been tinged with burn out after this huge undertaking and some moved on shortly after with others keeping a strong connection with the place but with more distance. It was during the building of the centre that the original idea for it to be a dedicated yoga centre was broadened to include other modalities relating to healing,personal development, expression, spirituality amongst others. The ones talked of the most seemed to include, five rhythms, re-birthing, art classes, and many others including weekly classes of tai chi and others. This not only reflected the growing interests of those involved but the need for the centre to raise cash to pay of the debts.
An Sanctoir today has been greatly helped along by the dedication and offerings of many trustees, volunteers and donators to get to where it is. Many have sought to support the land the building and the practices that are housed here. Its quite staggering the generosity of so many that have helped the place along and the sharing and special moments here will stay in the memories of those who were lucky enough to be there even in turbulent times. Folks remember the first wedding in 1996, an amazing place for a wedding, I’m lucky enough to have attended another An Sanctoir wedding a few years ago and get the impression it was equally as spectacular as that first one sounded.
For those of you who are coming to the First West Cork Yoga festival this year, we hope its history in the making and we hope to honour those who came before by putting this place on the map. A place like An Sanctoir is unique, really special, you have to see for yourself if you haven’t already, just walking there as you can now ,for the first time in many years the paths are cleared the trail is amazing and newly decorated with sculptures by local artist Wendy Waggit. We are lucky to have a space like this please feel it is yours to share as this was always the intention.
The land has housed and sanctoir has supported a Steiner based kindergarten that is loved by those who are lucky enough to access to it.
Some of the many memorable moments and lasting memories at an sanctoir include frog fares, barefoot boogies, sweat lodge, wakes, kids camps, Easter adventures, Luka bloom gig, and many many more more more !
If you have any memories to share about An Sanctoir or even thoughts on how to make improvements you can share here or on An Sanctoir’s own website