Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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 carrots 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Bridie Walsh
New owners of the Dunkeld General Store, Melissa and Adrian Field, opted for a tree-change when they moved from seaside Jan Juc to Dunkeld in January this year. Locally sourced produce and your everyday grocery needs are available for purchase with the addition of brewed coffeeon the new coffee machine.
“We wanted to give the community and tourists a little hub where they can find almost anything and everything they need,” says Melissa Field, who stocks Schultz organic milk and yoghurt (Timboon), Istra Meats (Daylesford) and Melbourne-based Philippa’s bakery produce.
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.
By Bridie Walsh
The Blackwood-tree-lined driveway of Griffins Hill is a welcome sight for published poet and avid photographer, Christina McCallum, who visits the retreat at least twice a year. “It’s a place that allows all sorts of space. Creating space is something Frank talks about a lot,” she says.
Hidden scars, new starts
The rocky outcrop on Mt Sturgeon particularly fascinates Christina. It’s the subject of a poem she is working on.
“It has an abruptly rising escarpment,” she says. “I can see it from the bedroom I stay in. It’s like a scar.”
Some years ago, after heavy rain there was a landslide at Mt Sturgeon. “I was shocked that such a solid mountain lost a part of itself.”
The incident parallels her life.
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:
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.