Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

Asana: A seat for our minds

Asana: A seat for our minds Padmasana

By Frank Jesse

 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. 

The news went viral last year, which isn’t surprising; it’s an extraordinary idea when you think about it. 

It caught my attention because there is a strong relationship between yoga and sitting. The Sanskrit word, asana, means seat, for example.  

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Can yoga make you look younger?

Can yoga make you look younger?

Via Huffington Post

Yoga could be the next new ‘antioxidant’ says Marylin Wei, founder of yogahealthtoday.com. Antioxidants on the skin play a role in reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

The July 2015 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine study found 12 weeks of yoga raises the level of natural antioxidants in the body. The research showed evidence the immune system is strengthened too.

Antioxidants help the body eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are pollutants in the body that can be linked to heart disease and cancer.

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Iyengar’s daughter Geeta will build a new yoga institute in Bellur, India

Iyengar’s daughter Geeta will build a new yoga institute in Bellur, India

 

Via Pune Mirror

On the recent anniversary of Guruji Mr BKS Iyengar’s death his daughter Geeta announced a new school would be opened in his home town and birthplace in Bellur in Bangalore, India.

Iyengar’s first institute is in Pune, India. Mayuri Phadnis in the Pune Mirror reports: “The foundation stone of the building had already been laid in the yoga guru's presence in May last year. The institute in Bellur will be completed by the end of this year.”

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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...
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Discover the body, mind, union of yoga: Cinnamon Evans’ story

Discover the body, mind, union of yoga: Cinnamon Evans’ story

By Bridie Walsh

After 20 years of Iyengar practice, Cinnamon Evans finds yoga stills a ‘mindy noise’ – the mental chatter you have before you get to class.

Luck brought her to Maghie Mills Iyengar School in Brunswick . (Mills had studied alongside Griffins Hill’s Frank Jesse.) She was working at Melbourne’s environmental park CERES, in Brunswick East, where she’s been for 23 years. She’s now CEO.

She still laughs about the first time she twisted her words when speaking with her partner. Mindy noise became their inside joke. But the mental emotional wellbeing, stress management, and meditation have uncovered another treasure: the idea of union.

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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...
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Beat the winter chill with my spicy chickpea soup

Beat the winter chill with my spicy chickpea soup

By Jane Gibb

Nothing beats a hearty soup in winter for dinner or lunch.  My spicy chickpea is very simple to cook and it will keep you deliciously full.

You might be surprised to learn that Australia is the second largest producer of chickpeas in the world. So you are guaranteed to find local Aussie produce for this dish.

Chickpeas are good for us and tasty as well. They are a great source of protein and dietary fibre. They are a good source of manganese and iron – both essential for healthy bodies. Plus they have low GI – great for stabilising blood sugar levels. Chickpeas get the healthy heart tick as they lower bad cholesterol.

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Yoga helps you sleep

Yoga helps you sleep
Via Psychology Today An eight-week evaluation of 20 people’s sleep habits showed that yoga can improve aspects of sleep. It’s good news for people who suffer chronic insomnia. Clinical psychologist and sleep specialist Michael Breus reported on the research by Harvard Medical School that investigated how daily yoga affects the quality and quantity of sleep. The preliminary study results showed improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, the amount of time it takes to get to sleep and the wake time after sleep onset. Insomnia is not only a symptom of other illnesses (cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression) it can be a related cause. “Insomnia is associated with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems,” reports Breus. “Insomnia is also associated with inflammation in the body, which is itself a risk factor for heart problems and other serious illnesses.” The analysis evaluated participant’s sleep diaries to find...
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Yogis take on The Grampians’ biggest event: The Serra Terror 80km team challenge

Yogis take on The Grampians’ biggest event: The Serra Terror 80km team challenge

By Bridie Walsh

Senior Iyengar Yoga instructor Frank Jesse will tackle the 80km Serra Terror endurance event in The Grampians this June long weekend.

Frank joins a team of eight named Dutch Courage. They are one of 46 teams including The Blister Sisters, Chasing the Dream, and No Man’s Feet who will take on the tough mountainous terrain. The event has attracted 300 people from around Australia.

“Applications closed early because we reached our cap,” says event organiser Keri Ross. The Serra Terror committee fielded enquiries from overseas, she says. The two-day event, now in its sixth year, is a fundraiser for the Dunkeld Community Centre.

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Is Yoga Evil

Is Yoga Evil

A landmark court ruling in California USA is set to reignite debate among Christian communities about whether yoga is leading Christians down the path of evil, according to a report in India news site, Matters India.

The Californian appeals court ruled that yoga is secular, and can be taught in schools, much to the consternation of Christian parents of a coastal beach city of Encinitas, in San Diego County,who brought the case that their kids’ yoga classes were promoting Hinduism and Buddhism.

Wading into the debate, Iyengar yoga teacher and Catholic priest, Father Joe Pereira, says the furore is the work of a small group of extreme fundamentalists, whom he describes as “God addicts”.

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New research proves yoga reduces the perception of pain

New research proves yoga reduces the perception of pain

 

Via gizmag.com

People who practice yoga have stronger and sturdier brain networks according to new research by Maastricht University in the Netherlands. This contributes to better managing the sensation of pain, says PhD student Tim Gard.

“Yoga and meditation can positively influence our brains and our psyches, and thus can lead to increased wellbeing,” he says.

An fMRI scan was used to measure the test and control groups who were administered an electric shock on the forearm to cause pain. The pain perception of mindfulness and yoga practitioners was reduced by 22 percent and their anticipatory anxiety was reduced by 29 percent during a mindful state compared to the control group, who were equally healthy but did not practice yoga or meditation.

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Shifting balance

Shifting balance

By Kimina Lyall

I think “work-life balance” is a strange term. For starters, it implies we are not living at work. Secondly, it suggests that balance is an ultimate goal (of what – life or work?). Thirdly, it implies that one requires an equal amount of work and life in order to get that balance. Presumably under this formula one must “work” half the time? Does that include sleep? Or is sleep outside of life, too? How much time must one spend calculating if the balance is right?

I’m being silly, I know. It’s just a term. It means different things to different people. But I do know that for me, balance is far from restful. In fact, as most of my yoga practice has taught me, balance is bloody hard work. In all its yoga forms – be it on arms, legs, or pelvis – balance is ever-elusive and often momentary.

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What the carrot crisis taught us: How to preserve an oversupply of vegetables

What the carrot crisis taught us: How to preserve an oversupply of vegetables

By Jane Gibb

There was a carrot crisis earlier this year at Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat. Clara, our resident Cardigan corgi, joined us for an overnight holiday in Melbourne, which meant she was absent from her vegetable garden minding duties.

Of course the wallabies, as smart as they are, took full advantage of the unguarded garden. In just one night they ate all the greens from the carrots. By this stage the carrots were almost fully developed so we had no choice but to harvest them. Bucket loads of carrotsClara goes on holiday were gathered and washed by Mayuka the diligent WWOOFer (willing worker on an organic farm).

The question was: what do we do with all these carrots?

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Free yoga for India’s civil servants

Free yoga for India’s civil servants

 

From April 1, India’s three million civil servants will be offered free daily yoga classes in an effort to transform the work culture of long lunches and arriving late to work.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took office in May last year, is an avid yoga practitioner, a teetotaller and a vegetarian. He credits his strict for his ability to work long hours on just four or five hours’ sleep.

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The tomatoes are telling me something

The tomatoes are telling me something

 

By Jane Gibb

Tomatoes are the base ingredient for dishes from many different cultures including my favourite – Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.

Here at Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat, we grow a large crop of tomatoes each summer, bottle them and store them in our cellar for winter use.

Tomatoes grown in organic soil have noticeably superior flavour to those grown in glasshouses. They are even better still if you grow your own – the shorter the distance from the garden to the table, the more flavoursome your tomatoes will be.

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