Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

A blog about Iyengar yoga, organic food, and cooking.
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Iyengar Yoga: Beyond the physical

Iyengar Yoga: Beyond the physical

By Frank Jesse

Iyengar yoga is very much a physical practice, and Mr Iyengar was sometimes accused of his approach to yoga being “only physical”. Critics of Mr Iyengar wanted him to include more meditation.

I believe it is important to address this question, as did Mr Iyengar, and to look more deeply into the possibilities and limitations, if any, of the practice of Iyengar yoga.

Mr Iyengar was very clear that in his view: yoga is meditation, he says, if we apply ourselves correctly. In other words, the spiritual side of yoga is inseparable from the physical postures.

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Does yoga keep you fit?

Does yoga keep you fit?

 

By Alisa Bauman

When it came to the fitness benefits yoga can or can’t provide, yoga teacher John Schumacher had heard it all. A student of B. K. S. Iyengar for 20 years and founder of the Unity Woods studios in the Washington, D.C. area, Schumacher was convinced yoga provides a complete fitness regime. But many people, even some of his own students, disagreed. Yoga might be good for flexibility or relaxation, they’d say, but to be truly fit, you had to combine it with an activity like running or weight lifting.

Schumacher just didn’t buy it.

He knew three decades of yoga practice—and only yoga practice—had kept him fit. He didn’t need to power walk. He didn’t need to lift weights. His fitness formula consisted of daily asanas (poses) and pranayama (breath work). That’s all he needed.

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Viparita Dandasana: inverted staff pose

Viparita Dandasana: inverted staff pose

By frank Jesse

Some poses, such as Viparita Dandasana (inverted staff pose), can seem very hard to achieve. This week, Franks shows you how to take it step by step, starting with a supported version until you have the strength and flexibility to achieve the full pose.

The goal of yoga is not beyond anyone’s reach.

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How to spend less time getting your 10 serves of veggies every day

How to spend less time getting your 10 serves of veggies every day

By Jane Gibb

 

Ten serves, you ask? Yes, the rule of thumb on vegetables is changing. According to recent research by the Harvard School of Public Health, the indicators now suggest that we need to consume around nine serves (we just rounded it up for convenience) of fruit and veggies a day, with more veggies than fruit. (There’s a growing body of research to suggest that one piece of fruit a day is better for us than more). All up, that’s about five cups of veggies.

Of course, the question is how? 

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The Dunkeld bakery gets so Frenchy, so chic

The Dunkeld bakery gets so Frenchy, so chic

By Bridie Lee Walsh

 

A taste of France has arrived at Dunkeld Old Bakery thanks to new managers, Romain Cabrol and Sauvanne Bosson. Their French breads and pastries, such as baguette and chocolate croissants, are a hit with locals and visitors alike.b2ap3_thumbnail_10672063_833401270043334_6903166762983535002_n.jpg“Everything is handmade and baked every morning,” says Bosson, who is from the small village of Magescq near the Basque region in Southern France. “That’s what makes the difference.”

The French couple, who backpacked around Australia together three years ago, took over the bakery in March 2014 and have established a small, tasty menu of traditional French fare, plus some Aussie favourites like sour dough bread.

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Friends of “Off The Rails” get it back on track

Friends of “Off The Rails” get it back on track

By Kath Walters

Dunkeld’s Railway Station will once again become a meeting place, but this time in a whole new guise. 

The lovely old building, neglected for years after trains to Dunkeld stopped running, was revived in 2007 by a group of local artists and used for studios and a gallery called Off The Rails. 

When the building was declared uninhabitable in 2011, this energetic community project came to an end. 

But Dunkeld sculptor, Trevor Flinn, is working with a bunch of local artists and community members to revive the much-loved artists’ space.

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Strength and flexibility: Are Pilates and Yoga comparable

Strength and flexibility: Are Pilates and Yoga comparable

By Frank Jesse

Many people ask me about the practice of Pilates, whether it is compatible or comparable with Iyengar yoga, and does yoga build core strength, a buzz word that now seems to pervade the fitness industry.

Pilates is a physical fitness system, developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. He created it to help soldiers injured in the First World War to regain their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising key muscles.

Pilates has a focus on ‘the core’, which the Pilates Fitness Institute describes as the ‘powerhouse’ of your body. They describe the core as the area between your shoulders and your pelvis (without your arms and legs), encompassing all the muscles within this area. Specifically, Pilates exercises focus on the transverse abdominis (front and side stomach muscles), pelvic floor (controlling bladder and bowel) and multifidus muscles (back muscles).  

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Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

By Flora Lisica, The Conversation

It’s no secret that yoga can aid mental wellbeing. What is more, it can help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to new research.

Some of the most damaging consequences of seeing combat can happen in the mind. Of the 2.3m American veterans who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, up to 20% go on to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point. In a report published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs at least 22 American veterans take their lives every day.

The effects of PTSD can include intrusive memories, heightened anxiety and personality changes. Individuals can also experience hyper-arousal, where they are easily startled, feel “jumpy” and constantly on guard. Standard current treatment for PTSD generally involves prescriptions for antidepressants and psychotherapy, with mixed results.

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The laziest lunch takes (luxurious) time and preparation

The laziest lunch takes (luxurious) time and preparation

By Jane Gibb

There’s no better way to celebrate the awakening of spring and the beginning of the alfresco dining season than a lazy lunch. 

My morning ritual of sun salutations welcomes the day ahead. Following my asana practice is when I think about preparing my lazy lunch. 

Spring is truly a captivating time of the year at Griffins Hill. Brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky, sparkling trees and our grand mountains promise to smile on our dining table. This is what draws me outside into the garden.

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2014 Iyengar National Convention rocks it

2014 Iyengar National Convention rocks it

 

The sell-out National Iyengar Convention this September attracted 250 participants, plus teachers, including thirteen senior teachers attended who lead the event.

The convention started on Friday afternoon with classes, followed in the evening by an asana demonstration by seven junior intermediate teachers. 

On Saturday, after a day of pranayama (breathing practice) and asana (postures), the senior teacher paid tribute to the founder of Iyengar Yoga, BKS Iyengar, who recently died at the age of 96. Remarkably, Mr Iyengar continued his practice until close to his death.

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Five ways to wake up your winter garden

Five ways to wake up your winter garden

 

By Jane Gibb

 

With the excitement that spring has arrived and the garden is beginning to bloom, it’s easy to forget to stop and take a look at what’s really going on. 

Yet, that’s just what you should be doing to make the most of the early warmth and to wake up your garden. I have five tips to show you how.

  1. 1. Remove spent leaves 

Take a closer look at the plants that die back over winter. Remove any dead leaves that may still be attached. Strawberries in particular need attention. Clean dead foliage from the base of the strawberry plant because this is the hiding place for snails and slugs and with warm weather on the way they’ll soon be feasting on the new growth.

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How yoga makes me forget I have fibromyalgia

How yoga makes me forget I have fibromyalgia

By Bridie Walsh

Most of us opt into yoga for fun and general health; for Vicki Gordon it’s a lifeline. Yoga is helping her beat the unbearable pain of fibromyalgia. 

“Fibromyalgia is an inflammatory disease in the body where the joints [can be] inflamed,” Gordon explains. “It can be very painful. It disturbs sleep, waking many times a night. Then you’re fatigued.”

It’s been 13 years since Gordon was diagnosed with the central nervous system disorder and, to combat its effects, Gordon has implemented a daily yoga practice.

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The mystery of yoga and the spirit of cooking

The mystery of yoga and the spirit of cooking

By Jane Gibb

We began our most recent five-day retreat just as we heard the news that Mr Iyengar had passed away.

As we gathered to commence, it occurred to me that people from all over the world were doing the same thing: practicing yoga and reflecting on the life and legacy of Mr Iyengar.

Iyengar yoga keeps me going on so many levels. All the extremes of my emotions and cravings are levelled out and my body is free of aches and pains. I have the energy and spirit to work long days. And, despite my age, I can still garden all day and do strong physical work. 

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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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Song of the soul : I am neither ego nor reason

Song of the soul : I am neither ego nor reason

Song of the Soul, by Shankaracharya

I am neither ego nor reason, I am neither mind nor thought,
I cannot be heard nor cast into words, nor by smell nor sight ever
caught:
In light and wind I am not found, nor yet in earth and sky -
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no name, I have no life, I breathe no vital air,
No elements have molded me, no bodily sheath is my lair:
I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution -
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss in dissolution.

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