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My thoughts on the passing of BKS Iyengar, founder of the Iyengar School of yoga

My thoughts on the passing of BKS Iyengar, founder of the Iyengar School of yoga

By Frank Jesse

When someone we feel very close to passes away it is often very hard to accept, no matter how well we are prepared.

When Guruji* left his body at the age of 95 I think all in the Iyengar community were in shock. We had hoped and expected that he would live on a few more years and still impart more wisdom for us tob2ap3_thumbnail_BKS-Iyengar-1.jpg absorb and ponder on. We had, almost unwittingly, elevated him to an almost godlike status, but what we loved most about Guruji were his real human qualities.

Guruji totally disdained the idea of being thought of anything but an ordinary man. He was that, but one with an extraordinary insight into our human nature and a thorough understanding of the body and mind gained through his dedicated and uninterrupted daily practice of yoga. 

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In my darker moments, Mr Iyengar's light still shines

In my darker moments, Mr Iyengar's light still shines

By Kath Walters

I had a few dark moments last week but, strangely, when I heard that Mr BKS Iyengar had died, I viewed my own difficulties differently all of a sudden.

Of course, I was sad at the loss of such a soul. However, he’s a soul who has left an incredible legacy of change. Mr Iyengar inspired a tidal wave of interest and practice of yoga across the world. He changed millions of people, from those like me, who have gone a short way along to yoga path, to people like Frank Jesse and Jane Gibb who have applied yoga deeply in their lives and shared the practice of Iyengar yoga with thousands of others.

How Iyengar achieve all this? By simply doing the best that he could in his chosen endeavour, and communicating the insights he gained in the process with anyone who would listen. His commitment and perseverance and willingness to teach made him a leader. But he was simply one person, doing his own thing.

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Millet porridge SUPER super-food

Millet porridge SUPER super-food

By Jane Gibb

Millet is an ancient grain that is often overlooked today – we feed it to birds! But this gluten free and ancient grain is creamy and delicious, and available all year around.

It also contains some essential nutrients including copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium that are so important for the health of our bones, skin and blood.

So many people have enjoyed sharing my millet porridge at Griffins Hill. The original recipe comes from Tony Chiodo’s book Feel Good Food, which is full of healthy, easy-to-follow recipes.

Here is my version of millet porridge, slightly adapted from Tony’s.

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Wednesday night yoga class

Wednesday night yoga class

By Colin Agar

So how is everyone…..everybody well?

(haven’t started yet so pretty hard to tell)

 

Standing poses, forward bends then hand stands for tonight,

(thankfully no backbends, the abs are really tight)

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Still busy

Still busy

By Kimina Lyall

I once heard a saying by a Buddhist teacher. It may have been the Dalai Lama, or another wise person. Asked how long one should meditate for each day, he replied: “Thirty minutes. Unless you are very busy. In which case, one hour.”

I wish I could say I followed that advice, in meditation or yoga or any other form of self-care. But I don’t. For me, busy begets busy. Right now I have rather a lot on, what with commitments to work, study, friendship, volunteering … and the list goes on. I’ve shaken up my life over the past couple of years, and the pieces as still falling back into place. I tend to bounce from deadline to deadline, scrambling to find time to squeeze everything I want to do in.

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The art of relaxation (and why we have lost it)

The art of relaxation (and why we have lost it)

By Kath Walters

Somewhere along the journey to the fast-paced world we now live in, we started to associate using time wisely with just being busy.

However, researchers are starting to discover that all work and no play is worse for “Jack” than making him “a dull boy” (as the old saying goes); it makes Jack despressed, forgetful and prone to getting ill!

According to research at the University of Washington: “Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages. It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function. On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.”

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Why I live in The Grampians: my afternoon walk

Why I live in The Grampians: my afternoon walk

By Jane Gibb 

My walk begins by climbing over a fence. Having grown up in mountain country near Mansfield, I graduated in climbing over fences at a young age; with honours! I choose a point where the ground is elevated. On tiptoes, my feet can touch the ground on both sides of the fence. With a stretch, I step over the fence.

Crossing a field, keeping the steep fall of the escarpment on my left, I pass a mob of kangaroos grazing on the hillside. This mob has begun to recognise me on my regular ramblings, so instead of fleeing they lazily stand tall to watch me.

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How I rescued this morning from my To-do list

How I rescued this morning from my To-do list

By Kath Walters

This morning, I rescued my first two hours from my relentless To-do list, kept them for myself and cherished them.

That’s a big change for me.

I’ve spent most of my adult life springing out of bed, slamming down some coffee, and launching into the To-do list.

Work is not the only thing on that list. There’s exercise, yoga, spiritual practices, relationships, reading newspapers and blogs, get-togethers, catch-ups, help-outs, chill-outs, films, reading and even TV.

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Savasana: a much misunderstood yoga pose

Savasana: a much misunderstood yoga pose

By Frank Jesse

 

Savasana (corpse pose) is a much misunderstood yoga pose. It is usually the last pose in our Iyengar yoga practice or class and, while many students look forward to lying down and relaxing their muscles in Savasana, especially after a demanding asana session, others don’t understand its purpose. Some prefer to skip Savasana, or make it as short as possible. 

While Savasana requires no physical effort it can be one of the most difficult yoga poses to master. Students will find that they either fall asleep, go into a dreamy state or otherwise find their mind thinking and planning for such mundane things as the grocery shopping, or worrying about work.

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We are all doing time: Sam Settle, director of Prison Phoenix Trust, brings yoga into prisons

We are all doing time: Sam Settle, director of Prison Phoenix Trust, brings yoga into prisons

By Kath Walters

When Sam Settle met and married a British woman, he needed to find a new occupation.

He had just spent three years as a Buddhist monk and development worker in Thailand. “That helped me tremendously and was a great experience,” Settle says. “In fact, that is a massive understatement! I came to understand the power of the mind, and my own mind in particular, and the power and mystery here in our hearts and minds.”

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Nourish your body and spirit with a bowl of "Recovery Soup"

Nourish your body and spirit with a bowl of "Recovery Soup"

By Jane Gibb

Every so often, life really takes it out of you. There’s nothing that restores my spirits and my body as quickly as a bowl of soup.

This easy and aromatic lentil soup will warm and calm you, while giving you a shot of restoring protein and energy.

The secret to getting the most from this soup lies in how you make it.

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Let go, Let in

Let go, Let in

By Kimina Lyall

Have you ever noticed when you hold your breath it is always with the air in? Have you ever “held your breath” after your out breath? It is possible to do for a few seconds, but not without conscious awareness and focus. Inevitably, the body fights for life. Yet holding your breath in is as easy as … well, breathing. For me, the practice is almost automatic. I especially do it when I am stressed, anxious, or stepping out of my comfort zone—in almost every difficult asana (and life situation), in other words.

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Featured

The philosophy and practice of working from the base in Iyengar yoga

The philosophy and practice of working from the base in Iyengar yoga

By Frank Jesse

Iyengar yoga is a practice that will help “ground”you, physically, emotionally and mentally. One of the ways that we achieve that sense of being grounded -- slowing down, being more focused, and becoming more aware of what is most important to us on a day-to-day level –is to return constantly to working from the base of our pose.

The base of a yoga asana changes according to the pose. In Tadasana (mountain pose), the base is your feet. In Sirsasana (headstand), it is the head, forearms and wrists. In Savasana (corpse pose), it’s a bit less clear because the whole body is on the ground, but we can focus on the parts that are touching our mat to align ourselves correctly.

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Sold out: 2014 BKS Iyengar Yoga Convention

Sold out: 2014 BKS Iyengar Yoga Convention

The 2014 National BKS Iyengar Yoga Convention, from 5 – 7 September in Melbourne, is sold out!

With 13 of Australia’s 27 Senior Iyengar Teachers offering classes as part of the program – including Griffins Hill’s Frank Jesse – convention tickets got snapped up months ahead of the event.

The convention is put on by the BKS Iyengar Yoga Association of Australia, the official accreditation body for Iyengar yoga teachers.

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The Piccaninny Mountain devastated by out-of-control burn-off: It’s time the community had a say

The Piccaninny Mountain devastated by out-of-control burn-off: It’s time the community had a say

 

By Jane Gibb

I had a terrible day recently that turned into a terrible week. A so-called “fuel reduction burn” got out of control right next to our retreat here at Griffins Hill, devastating the bush – and me, for a while.

My frustration with this totally ineffective, disproven strategy to protect the nearby town of Dunkeld from bush fire left me completely depleted at first. (It might have also been the smoke that choked our home for several days!)

But I’m not going to lie down and take it.

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