I'm Maria Coleman - a Yoga Teacher, Mental Health and Positive Birth Advocate, Community Worker, Researcher, Artist, Musician and Writer. I'm also enthusiastic about culture, Gaeilge and holistic wellbeing. I have teaching experience  with art, music, technology and yoga in early years, special needs, child, teen and adult settings. I have a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) from LSAD and an M. Phil. in Music and Media Technology from Trinity College, with PhD research conducted at D.I.T. *

I'm a Hatha Yoga Teacher trained by Skyblue School of Yoga and also Prenatal / Birth /Postnatal Yoga Specialist, trained by YogaKidz, with both qualifications accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals. I work through my company Comhcheol Arts and Wellness, and Donegal Yoga Retreats. Yoga plays an important role in my life, and has done for over a decade. I used yoga techniques and hypnobirthing to birth my two children and this has lead to me becoming the Co. Donegal representative for the international Positive Birth Movement. 

I am passionate about mental health advocacy and have recently co-founded (with Linda Uí Ghallachóir) a wellness initiative based in the West Donegal Gaeltacht called 'Lámha - Life Affirming Mental Health Action', which runs regular community events. Linda and I have formulated and deliver the 'Beoga Teen Wellness Programme' through schools in Co. Donegal.
I also volunteer as a presenter of the wonderful Donegal Mind Wellness Stress Control course.

My community work is often voluntary (eg. LÁMHA, Donegal Mind Wellness, The Positive Birth Movement, Maghery Women's Week 2016, Maghery Toddler Play Group, Rosses Community Health Forum) but I have also been employed in the community development sector. In Ionad Naomh Pádraig, Dobhar, I worked as 'Oifigeach Ceoil agus Cultútha' (Music and Cultural Officer), which involved running a recording studio and video editing suite.  (Link here to YouTube channel with some videos I made while there.)
I coordinated the Ionad an Mhachaire / Donegal Ulster Scots cross-community project 'East Meets West Donegal' in 2013, which was funded by the International Fund for Ireland. It involved concerts, a conference, a storytelling retreat, map and brochure publications and various other cultural exchanges. In 2013, I  traveled to the Balkans on a peace study trip with Donegal County Council.
A social enterprise cooperatve is also in the pipeline as of summer 2018.

*My PhD research within the School of Art, Design and Printing at DIT led to a chapter about my work being published in a Palgrave Macmillan book called 'The Performing Subject in the Space of Technology' (2015). The work involved me designing an interactive multimedia system called the BRS (Body Response System), which reacts to physical movement with audio and video responses. I used the system to collaborate with performers and audiences to make improvised, live art works. In 2012, a paper I published in Crossings eJournal of Art and Technology won the ARTStap Title Award for arts research. My research has also been presented in 'Peripheries' (Gorey School of Art) at The Science Gallery (D.A.T.A) and at conferences in Trinity College, Derry and Chichester. 

As an artist my work has been supported by Donegal Co. Co., Dublin City Council and Limerick City Council, and in 2010 I won the 'arts@DIT Award'. I've  programmed performances in places such as 'Project Brand New', the LAB and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. As a musician, I perform and write with 'Wee Small Gods', and formerly 'Fracas' and have supported acts like Jerry Fish, Kila and Dervish.

Aside from research, I have had articles published in the Visual Artists Newsletter and also through The Donegal Women's Network in the Donegal Democrat. I am a citizen journalist on the European Ladder Project. (Articles here). I also presented on 'Yoga and the Vagus Nerve' at the first 'Let's Talk Autism' conference in 2018.

As well as my current yoga teaching work, previous teaching experience has included Music Teacher at St. Paul's Special School, Beaumont (children on the autistic spectrum), Art Teacher at St. Laurence's Special School, Finglas (children in the prison system), and Digital Design Tutor (Adult) through the VEC. I design posters, brochures, make websites and videos for businesses and community groups and have been teaching on the government 'Digital Skills for Citizens' course since autumn 2017 and this has naturally led to the formulation of courses bringing much needed internet safety skills to parents and teens.

Drawing on a wealth of diverse experience and expertise, my new business involves yoga classes, workshops  and retreats with a creative and playful edge. This work is grounded by skills in event management, graphic design, video making, music recording, performance, and designing interactive technologies . If your community group, school or business would like to collaborate on any projects that looks to blend arts and wellness contact me at Comhcheol Arts and Wellness and we can innovate together!