Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

Lift your heart up

Lift your heart up

 By Kimina Lyall 

I hate backbends. They make me anxious. I feel like I can’t breathe, and that something bad is going to happen while I am completely vulnerable and unable to quickly move out of the way. So for many years I have done what any sensible person would do faced with that scenario: grimaced through them in class and avoided them altogether in private practice.

Forward bends, on the other hand, are my friend. I love stretching my body out along my legs, and feel completely at peace and ease in any of the standing poses that involve hanging over my hips.

My favouring can be traced back to my pre-teen life as an aspiring ballerina. In ballet, forward bends are prized, almost as much (but not quite) as turnouts (rotating the leg from the hips to make the knee and foot turn outward).

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose

By Frank Jesse Adho Mukha Svanasana is an incredibly versatile asana. Not only is it an important pose in its own right, it can be used throughout a sequence to link poses or as a preparatory pose. Adho means down, Mukha is face and Svana is dog. The name Adho Mukha Svanasana arises from the pose’s similarity to a dog stretching to wake itself up after a nap. We generally do downward facing dog before inversions because the pose helps prepare the shoulders and arms. As a semi - inversion, the pose also prepares the mind and nervous system for full inversions like Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand), Pinca Mayurasana (forearm balance) and Salamba Sirsasana (headstand). Downward facing dog pose provides some of the benefits of a full inversion. Because the head is lower than the heart the brain is flushed with fresh oxygenated blood, reducing mental fatigue. Adho Mukha Svanasana also releases...

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Between Asanas (yoga poses)

Between Asanas (yoga poses)

By Frank Jesse Asanas (Yoga poses) began centuries ago as a practice to prepare the mind and body for meditation. Keeping this in mind can help yoga students to overcome a common problem in the early years of their practice – maintaining focus during the transition in and out of yoga asanas. When we start yoga, many of us are unused to focusing on anything for a long period of time – we face many distractions in our day-to-day lives.  Even keeping ourselves focused during a yoga pose can be difficult. However, the teacher’s instructions and the challenge of aligning the body in unfamiliar ways help keep us in the present moment. The instant the teacher says ‘release’, however, students tend to collapse both physically and mentally – the action is over, and so we slump back into our usual distracted state! But yoga is both action and reflection; without reflection,...

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The flexible farmer

The flexible farmer

By Kath Walters Three years ago, sheep farmer Colin Agar started coming to yoga classes. The family has owned a property near Penshurst, about 30 kms from Dunkeld, for 150 years, which Colin runs with his two brothers, his daughter, his niece and her husband Colin was starting to feel the tough, physical work of sheep farming more and more.   The Agar’s run between 15,000 and 18,000 head of sheep. “The work fluctuates through the year from heavy to very light,” Colin says. “The heavy work is during the shearing, crutching and lamb “marking” times. By end of the day, you feel like you have been hit by a semi-trailer.” He felt so stiff and sore in the mornings, he was struggling to get dressed. “When you were 30 you didn’t notice the work,” he says. “But I was feeling stiff and my joints were starting to ache. I couldn’t...

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How I tricked myself into daily practice

How I tricked myself into daily practice

By Kimina Lyall What is it about home-alone yoga? I’m a grown-up, right? There are lots of things I can do every day, all by myself. I can eat. Shower. Brush my teeth. Check my emails. Even cuddle the friendly next door cat. These little daily tasks come easily, effortlessly almost, and I achieve them no matter what else is distracting me. But get on my yoga mat? Now there’s a tall order. It seems to be not an unusual one. Lots of my friends, who have been regularly attending yoga classes for many years, admit they still fail in their aim for daily practice. For me, there’s been the usual excuses: I’m so busy, I’m so tired, I wouldn’t know what to practice (after all, there’s so many asanas to choose from!), I don’t have all the props … Every now and then I have managed to get myself into...

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BKS Iyengar presented with high award by President of India

BKS Iyengar presented with high award by President of India

BKS Iyengar was recently honoured with the Padma Vibhushan award, the second highest civilian award given by the Republic of India. The award, which was presented by the Indian President, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, is awarded to recognize exceptional and distinguished service to the nation in any field, including government service. Mr Iyengar, who is 95, founded the Iyengar school of yoga that has millions of followers across the globe. He was once named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world. Mr Iyengar has received 20 awards, honours and titles over the decades, the first in 1948.   Join over 2,000 of your peers and get fortnightly articles delivered to your in box. Subscribe Here    

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The silver bullet: Taking ownership of your health

The silver bullet: Taking ownership of your health

0 0 1 487 2778 Griffins Hill Retreat 23 6 3259 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-IN JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:EN-IN;} Dr Greta Prozesky Even after 15 years as a general medical practitioner, it still amazes me that people seem so ready to give up “ownership” of their health. Patients are all too ready to believe and do whatever their doctor says, without question. Or, alternatively these days, they are too ready to demand that their doctor prescribe a pill and to believe that is all that is needed make them feel well. I have practiced medicine in several different countries, and this attitude seems to be very widespread and getting worse, rather than improving. My recipe for health is to breathe, smile, quieten your mind and move your...

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Immune boost: New research on the protective power of yoga

Immune boost: New research on the protective power of yoga

New research from the University of Oslo, Norway, has found that yoga is better for your immune system than simply walking or listening to relaxing music, both of which are powerfully beneficial. Three researchers, who published their findings on the international peer-reviewed science site, Plos One, noted that although the health benefits of yoga and mediation are quite well established scientifically, the reasons for them are largely unknown. This study found that yoga and related practices have an improved anti-oxidant status, and defense again the kinds of stress at a cellular level that lead to conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Astonishingly, although the 14 participants practiced yoga and breathing for just two hours a day for four consecutive days, that was enough to produce measurably better results compared to a control group who did a 60-minute walk, and then listened to relaxing music for an hour. You can read...

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