Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

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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The Dunkeld bakery gets so Frenchy, so chic

The Dunkeld bakery gets so Frenchy, so chic

By Bridie Lee Walsh

 

A taste of France has arrived at Dunkeld Old Bakery thanks to new managers, Romain Cabrol and Sauvanne Bosson. Their French breads and pastries, such as baguette and chocolate croissants, are a hit with locals and visitors alike.b2ap3_thumbnail_10672063_833401270043334_6903166762983535002_n.jpg“Everything is handmade and baked every morning,” says Bosson, who is from the small village of Magescq near the Basque region in Southern France. “That’s what makes the difference.”

The French couple, who backpacked around Australia together three years ago, took over the bakery in March 2014 and have established a small, tasty menu of traditional French fare, plus some Aussie favourites like sour dough bread.

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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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Song of the soul : I am neither ego nor reason

Song of the soul : I am neither ego nor reason

Song of the Soul, by Shankaracharya

I am neither ego nor reason, I am neither mind nor thought,
I cannot be heard nor cast into words, nor by smell nor sight ever
caught:
In light and wind I am not found, nor yet in earth and sky -
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no name, I have no life, I breathe no vital air,
No elements have molded me, no bodily sheath is my lair:
I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution -
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss in dissolution.

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Still busy

Still busy

By Kimina Lyall

I once heard a saying by a Buddhist teacher. It may have been the Dalai Lama, or another wise person. Asked how long one should meditate for each day, he replied: “Thirty minutes. Unless you are very busy. In which case, one hour.”

I wish I could say I followed that advice, in meditation or yoga or any other form of self-care. But I don’t. For me, busy begets busy. Right now I have rather a lot on, what with commitments to work, study, friendship, volunteering … and the list goes on. I’ve shaken up my life over the past couple of years, and the pieces as still falling back into place. I tend to bounce from deadline to deadline, scrambling to find time to squeeze everything I want to do in.

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Why I live in The Grampians: my afternoon walk

Why I live in The Grampians: my afternoon walk

By Jane Gibb 

My walk begins by climbing over a fence. Having grown up in mountain country near Mansfield, I graduated in climbing over fences at a young age; with honours! I choose a point where the ground is elevated. On tiptoes, my feet can touch the ground on both sides of the fence. With a stretch, I step over the fence.

Crossing a field, keeping the steep fall of the escarpment on my left, I pass a mob of kangaroos grazing on the hillside. This mob has begun to recognise me on my regular ramblings, so instead of fleeing they lazily stand tall to watch me.

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How I rescued this morning from my To-do list

How I rescued this morning from my To-do list

By Kath Walters

This morning, I rescued my first two hours from my relentless To-do list, kept them for myself and cherished them.

That’s a big change for me.

I’ve spent most of my adult life springing out of bed, slamming down some coffee, and launching into the To-do list.

Work is not the only thing on that list. There’s exercise, yoga, spiritual practices, relationships, reading newspapers and blogs, get-togethers, catch-ups, help-outs, chill-outs, films, reading and even TV.

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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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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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