Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

Nourish your body and spirit with a bowl of "Recovery Soup"

Nourish your body and spirit with a bowl of "Recovery Soup"

By Jane Gibb

Every so often, life really takes it out of you. There’s nothing that restores my spirits and my body as quickly as a bowl of soup.

This easy and aromatic lentil soup will warm and calm you, while giving you a shot of restoring protein and energy.

The secret to getting the most from this soup lies in how you make it.

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Let go, Let in

Let go, Let in

By Kimina Lyall

Have you ever noticed when you hold your breath it is always with the air in? Have you ever “held your breath” after your out breath? It is possible to do for a few seconds, but not without conscious awareness and focus. Inevitably, the body fights for life. Yet holding your breath in is as easy as … well, breathing. For me, the practice is almost automatic. I especially do it when I am stressed, anxious, or stepping out of my comfort zone—in almost every difficult asana (and life situation), in other words.

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Sold out: 2014 BKS Iyengar Yoga Convention

Sold out: 2014 BKS Iyengar Yoga Convention

The 2014 National BKS Iyengar Yoga Convention, from 5 – 7 September in Melbourne, is sold out!

With 13 of Australia’s 27 Senior Iyengar Teachers offering classes as part of the program – including Griffins Hill’s Frank Jesse – convention tickets got snapped up months ahead of the event.

The convention is put on by the BKS Iyengar Yoga Association of Australia, the official accreditation body for Iyengar yoga teachers.

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Yoga retreat Dunkeld; a poem for you

Yoga retreat Dunkeld; a poem for you

By Cecilia Morris

Yoga Retreat Dunkeld

sky cups bare and pointed mountains

sun sups on earth

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The Piccaninny Mountain devastated by out-of-control burn-off: It’s time the community had a say

The Piccaninny Mountain devastated by out-of-control burn-off: It’s time the community had a say

 

By Jane Gibb

I had a terrible day recently that turned into a terrible week. A so-called “fuel reduction burn” got out of control right next to our retreat here at Griffins Hill, devastating the bush – and me, for a while.

My frustration with this totally ineffective, disproven strategy to protect the nearby town of Dunkeld from bush fire left me completely depleted at first. (It might have also been the smoke that choked our home for several days!)

But I’m not going to lie down and take it.

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Orient to the journey

Orient to the journey

Orient to the journey ...

The other day I found myself you-tubing instructions for learning how to free handstand. On the one hand, it was astounding that I was even thinking a free handstand would be within reach for me. On closer inspection, it demonstrated that I had lost the yoga plot.

Let me rewind for a bit. When I first started practicing yoga, I had little ambition for my own physicality, preferring to reside almost exclusively in my busy mind. It was a little over ten years ago, I was living a crazy life as a foreign correspondent based in Bangkok, driven by deadlines, competition and sheer determination to succeed. 

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Taking yoga on the journey of life

Taking yoga on the journey of life

Jenny Green, 71, is just weeks away from embarking on a 270km walk along the hills of Massif Central in southern France – named the Robert Louis Stephenson trail after the author who walked it in 1878.

A daily practice of yoga asana and strength-building exercises is part of Green’ preparation for her big walk. “I am going to the gym to build strength, and I tend to finish my gym session with yoga,” Green says. “I think flexibility is a really important part of the walking process.

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Two little-known veggies I love, and why I buy Quinoa from Tasmania

Two little-known veggies I love, and why I buy Quinoa from Tasmania

One of my favourite herbs is the celery plant (Apium Graveolens).

Celery plant is a flowering biennial plant that pre-dates the commonly available cultivated stringless celery varieties.

It makes my life happier in two ways: firstly, I avoid buying commercially produced vegetable stock, which I hate; and secondly I do not have to buy plastic-wrapped celery from the supermarket! In Griffins Hill garden, our celery is a striking plant growing about one metre high with large incised leaves similar to Italian parsley and thick green stems that are somewhat thinner that those of the supermarket varieties

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How long is the ideal yoga retreat

How long is the ideal yoga retreat

How long is the ideal yoga retreat: Two days, five days or seven days?

 

By Frank Jesse 

 

A yoga retreat is a very different experience to yoga classes – even regular ones – both for students and for me as a teacher. 

 

On retreat, students are freed from the distractions of their daily lives. They forget about home, and work. They miss their families, of course, but they can simply focus on themselves while they are here, sharing meals and conversation with the other people on retreat and enjoying the Southern Grampians and organic gardens that surround us.

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Yoga therapist Father Joe Pereira workshop and talk at Clifton Hill Yoga Studio

Yoga therapist Father Joe Pereira workshop and talk at Clifton Hill Yoga Studio

 

Yoga therapist Father Joe Pereira workshop and talk at Clifton Hill Yoga Studio

On April 4-6th, the renowned yoga therapist and addiction recovery specialist, Father Joe Pereira, will give a talk and hold a weekend workshop.

Father Joe, the founder of the Kripa Centres, is a senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher and Catholic Archdiocesan Priest of Mumbai, India. Ordained in 1967, Father Joe started Iyengar Yoga in 1968, and became a certified Iyengar yoga teacher in 1975. He returns to Pune for intensive studies in yoga therapy with BKS Iyengar every year.

Friday evening talk: April 4

Father Joe will give a talk on Friday evening, 4 April between 7:30 – 9:30pm. There’s no need to book for this event.

Yoga workshops: April 5-6

Nothing can replace the presence, the voice, the assurance of one who has walked the path and can show us the way. In this workshop Father Joe will encourage you to develop your own wisdom and practice.

Booking are essential for the yoga weekend – which is $150 for both Saturday and Sunday and $100 for one day only. The timetable is as follows: 

  • Saturday & Sunday 9 – 12noon Asana
  • Saturday & Sunday 1 – 3pm Pranayama

All proceeds raised from the yoga workshop and the evening lecture goes to the Kripa Foundation

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How yoga helps leaders stay on top

How yoga helps leaders stay on top

By Kath Walters

When Chloe Munro walks into the Canberra headquarters of the Clean Energy Regulator she wants to fill its floors with positive energy.

As chief executive, she believes part of her role is to set a high level of energy for her 350 staff to follow – and keep it there.

For the past year, however, that’s been a big ask. Last year, Munro was diagnosed with breast cancer and her treatment involved surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Remarkably, however, Munro managed to keep performing in her full-time leadership role throughout most of the treatment. “I powered through surgery and eight rounds of chemo and it was only right at the very end that the cumulative effects caught up with me,” she says.

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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...
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Between yoga poses

Between yoga poses
  By Frank Jesse 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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