Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

A blog about Iyengar yoga, organic food, and cooking.

Discovering our true nature 
through mindful yoga practice

Padmasana---Mount-Abrupt-min

We all have our favourite yoga poses, don't we? But how many of us make a favourite of a particularly challenging posture, one that makes us feel uncomfortable, uncertain and, well, not very good at yoga?Making friends with the postures that are difficult for us to do is an integral part of yoga because it delivers us straight to the heart of the r...

Continue reading
2645 Hits
0 Comments

Yoga asanas -- Starting a home practice -- a step along your Yoga Sadhana (yoga path)

Adho-Mukha-Svanasana

By Frank Jesse Over 1700 years ago, the ancient Indian sage, Patanjali, listed the obstacles or impediments to developing a regular yoga practice in the yoga sutras, sutra 1.28: "disease, inertia, doubt, heedlessness, laziness, indiscipline of the senses, erroneous views, lack of perseverance and backsliding." Not much has changed. For a beginner s...

Continue reading
1340 Hits
0 Comments

Why every yogi must take care of the environment By Frank Jesse

19-01-03_GH_314_HR

Like most people, I became a yoga teacher because I love the practice. I love its impact on my physical and mental health and the way it benefits my students. I still love that. However, I have become more and more aware of the need to include care of the environment in the way we manage our retreat here at Griffins Hill. We have always done that, ...

Continue reading
5799 Hits
1 Comment

Exploring the other side of yourself with backbends By Frank Jesse

Frank-Jesse- King Pigeon Pose Frank Jesse : Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

As a group of poses, backbends seem to stir strong emotions. Some people absolutely love them. For others, a class focusing on backbends triggers fear and uncertainty. With preparation and guidance, backbends are uplifting and energising. They give us back the energy we put into them, leaving us feeling invigorated and happy. " ….. emotionally ther...

Continue reading
6885 Hits
1 Comment

A hidden problem: Men’s pelvic floor

180418_GHretreat_94_20180904-022946_1

Women often report pelvic floor problems after childbirth. But men have a pelvic floor too (of course) and sometimes it needs special attention in yoga.   My friend John, a regular guest at Griffins Hill, was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after his Easter holidays a year or two ago. John's a private person, but he kindly agreed for me...

Continue reading
12235 Hits
1 Comment

The tricky question of the shoulder blades

Shoulder-blades

A question that regularly comes up in class regards where to position the shoulder blades when the arms are raised over the head. Students are often unclear what to do with their shoulder blades and mistakenly believe that they should pull them down to free up the neck. As a teacher, I observe that the common instruction to pull the shoulder blades...

Continue reading
14763 Hits
0 Comments

Asana: A seat for our minds

Frank-Jesse-in-Padmasan_20160815-004125_1

In 2015, the net was abuzz with the news: sitting too much is as bad for our health as smoking. A study conducted at Queen’s University Belfast and published last year found prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and early death. 

Continue reading
8494 Hits
0 Comments

Standing up for Tadasana

Tadasana Mountain pose

"Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit," wrote B.K.S Iyengar in his interpretation of the yoga sutras (Sthiram sukham asanam—Yoga Sutras II:46)  Tadasana is a posture that encourages us to be steady, and to learn and experience these qualities.  The value of neutral Our society values speed – we are engaged, in the fast lane, in gear.  In Tadasana our body brought into a neutral position, not moving, not overdoing but engaged and lifted to its full height.  Remarkably, however, I have found few students can perceive their own misalignment in Tadasana. Until they use a wall to build their awareness of standing straight, they slump, tilt or bend backwards when they assume this basic posture.  Tadasana reveals to us the value of understanding neutrality.  Can a mountain balance on a pinhead?  A mountain has a strong, solid base. We would never climb a mountain...

Continue reading
10652 Hits
0 Comments

Hello Happy Hips

Hello Happy Hips

By Frank Jesse Let me start with an upfront declaration – you are not about to read “9 Poses Your Hips Need Now” or “The 5 best  poses to open up tight hips”. In fact, when my students suggest to me that I need to teach “a whole class on hips”, I am completely perplexed. Why? Because every class I teach is a whole class on hips! Hips are right there in the middle of our bodies; every pose, from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) to Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), is a hip pose. Of course, I understand what people mean when they ask me for a class dedicated to hips – they are thinking of leg stretches, cross legs, Padmasama (Lotus), Supta Padangustasana (reclining big toe pose),Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) and Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II). Many people believe that they have stiff hips and that their hips restrict them from making progress...

Continue reading
8664 Hits
0 Comments

Practicing yoga through the blues

Practicing yoga through the blues

It’s when the chips are down – emotionally or physically – that we can truly start to understand all that Iyengar yoga has to offer.

Practicing yoga when we feel exhilarated, relaxed and on top of life’s demands is a great feeling. It enhances all that is good in our lives.

Continue reading
16814 Hits
0 Comments

Yoga props an Iyengar yoga inovation

alt=

It’s not surprising that Iyengar yoga is known for its use of props such as blankets, block and bolsters. Using such props was one of many innovations Mr Iyengar bought to yoga practice. Using props is intrinsic to this system of yoga. However, the reasons for their use are often misunderstood.

Continue reading
18754 Hits
3 Comments

Yoga minister appointed in India

Yoga minister appointed in India

India now has a yoga minister, thanks to Narendra Modi the countries’ Prime Minister.

The Hindu nationalist, vegetarian and long-time yoga practitioner, Modi has appointed the new minister to promote Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and homeopathy in his portfolio. He has also asked the United Nations to consider creating an international yoga day reports ABC News.

EU President Herman Von Rompuy supports Modi’s initiative for a Yoga Day. There are 50 countries, including China, Canada and the United States, who have signed a draft resolution for Yoga Day pencilled in for June 21.

In September, during a Prime Ministerial visit to India, Modi presented Tony Abbot with a book on yoga.

Continue reading
6201 Hits
0 Comments

Dunkeld Memorial Hall: new life

Dunkeld Memorial Hall: new life

By Bridie Walsh

Dunkeld Memorial Hall has been brought back to life as a community centre. Six years in the making, with a sub-committee under the Public Lands Council forming in 2008 for the crown-held property redevelopment, just opened Sunday, 2 November 2014 to celebrate the building completion.

Originally built in the late 1800s, the hall served as a library and a mechanics’ institute. In the ’50s and ’60s the centre had a stage, kitchen and supper room added. When the historic façade was replaced by a typical ’60s brick wall, many in the community were horrified.“That’s how it remained for the next 40-plus years,” says Mary-Ann Brown, chairperson of the Dunkeld Community Centre Committee. “About 10 years ago an off-and-on-again discussion about a multi-purpose facility in Dunkeld began.”

Continue reading
6213 Hits
1 Comment

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.

Continue reading
8262 Hits
2 Comments

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.

Continue reading
9655 Hits
0 Comments