Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

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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Three essential yoga texts (and two really handy ones)

Three essential yoga texts (and two really handy ones)

By Kath Walters

1. Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar

BKS Iyengar’s first book, Light on Yoga, was published in 1966, but it was on being reprinted in 1977 that it caused a big sensation. 

By then, the West has begun its fascination with yoga (due to a large degree to Guruji’s visits to Europe) and had caught up with Guruji’s wisdom and insights.

Light on Yoga has been translated into 17 languages and sold three million copies. It is without doubt one of the most inspiring and profound books on yoga ever written. I regularly return to its pages. 

Frank Jesse followed the book’s 300-week program to develop and deepen his practice. 

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The healing power of nature: Dunkeld’s award-winning Bush Kinder program

The healing power of nature: Dunkeld’s award-winning Bush Kinder program

By Bridie Walsh

Once a fortnight, Dunkeld kindergarten teacher, Debbi Millard, and the other kinder staff take 20 four-year-olds to a location in the nearby Grampian ranges for a “bush experience”. 

“Nature is known to create a sense of calm,” says Millard, who is also a member of The Grampians Advisory Board, and an advocate of the Bush Kinder program. 

The three-hour session looks like child’s play, but it offers so much more. Starting at the base of Mount Piccaninny in the Southern Grampians, just a kilometre from Griffins Hill yoga retreat, the children climb trees, engage in dramatic play, discover nature and go on bush walks. 

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Yoga props an Iyengar yoga inovation

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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.

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Break your busy day with these smart phone meditation and relaxation apps

Break your busy day with these smart phone meditation and relaxation apps

By Bridie Walsh

Our connected and interconnected world of mobile technology can be a distraction, but guess what? Some distractions are good for you. 

Instead of ‘switching off’ from technology altogether, we’ve found some apps that can help you find ways to ‘switch off’ from the busyness and distractions of life whilst staying online. 

Find the mindfulness and get the relaxation your body and soul need with these five apps. 

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My five favourite kitchen implements

My five favourite kitchen implements

By Jane Gibb

 

Do you have kitchen implements you can’t live without? As a cook and a food lover I spend much of my time in the kitchen. My kitchen implements can be my best friend. Quite frankly I’m a little attached. 

 

The best utensils and equipment make cooking a joy. Personally, I love an artisan’s touch. So I search out implements that are the best in quality and design or handmade, where possible, locally produced and made with a ‘green consciousness’ in mind.

 

Here are my five favourites:

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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.

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Find your boundaries

Find your boundaries

By Kimina Lyall

 

Last time I wrote this blog, I added an afterword, and then deleted it. The blog was about finding stillness in asanas, and I extrapolated from that to wondering if I could find stillness in my busyness. Looking back, the blog, as my life, was more about the busyness than the stillness, but we can only yearn for our own success. The unpublished postscript went something like this:

 

Afterword, six hours later: When I got up from writing this blog, I found myself in acute back pain that has since increased. I’ve had to abandon all plans for the rest of the day, and possibly the next few. A message from the universe? 

 

That was ten weeks ago.  As it turned out, an inflamed L5 disc has significantly changed my plans for most days since. Don’t get me wrong, this was no permanent injury (I hope). A couple of housebound weeks, take it easy, get some treatment and I’d be back. 

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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.”

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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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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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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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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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