Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

Exploring the other side of yourself with backbends By Frank Jesse

Frank-Jesse- King Pigeon Pose Frank Jesse : Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
As a group of poses, backbends seem to stir strong emotions. Some people absolutely love them. For others, a class focusing on backbends triggers fear and uncertainty. With preparation and guidance, backbends are uplifting and energising. They give us back the energy we put into them, leaving us feeling invigorated and happy. " ….. emotionally ther...
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A hidden problem: Men’s pelvic floor

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Women often report pelvic floor problems after childbirth. But men have a pelvic floor too (of course) and sometimes it needs special attention in yoga.

 

My friend John, a regular guest at Griffins Hill, was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after his Easter holidays a year or two ago. John's a private person, but he kindly agreed for me to write about his experience so he could help other men who might be suffering in silence and might be inspired by his recovery.

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The tricky question of the shoulder blades

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The tricky question of the shoulder blades By Frank Jesse

A question that regularly comes up in class regards where to position the shoulder blades when the arms are raised over the head.
Students are often unclear what to do with their shoulder blades and mistakenly believe that they should pull them down to free up the neck. 

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Asana: A seat for our minds

Asana: A seat for our minds Padmasana

By Frank Jesse

 Last year, the net was abuzz with the news: sitting too much is as bad for our health as smoking. A study conducted at Queen’s University Belfast and published last year found prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and an early death. 

The news went viral last year, which isn’t surprising; it’s an extraordinary idea when you think about it. 

It caught my attention because there is strong relationship between yoga and sitting. The Sanskrit word, asana, means seat, for example.  

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Standing up for Tadasana

Standing up for Tadasana
"Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit," wrote B.K.S Iyengar in his interpretation of the yoga sutras (Sthiram sukham asanam—Yoga Sutras II:46)  Tadasana is a posture that encourages us to be steady, and to learn and experience these qualities.  The value of neutral Our society values speed – we are engaged, in the fast lane, in gear.  In Tadasana our body brought into a neutral position, not moving, not overdoing but engaged and lifted to its full height.  Remarkably, however, I have found few students can perceive their own misalignment in Tadasana. Until they use a wall to build their awareness of standing straight, they slump, tilt or bend backwards when they assume this basic posture.  Tadasana reveals to us the value of understanding neutrality.  Can a mountain balance on a pinhead?  A mountain has a strong, solid base. We would never climb a...
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Hello Happy Hips

Hello Happy Hips
  By Frank Jesse Let me start with an upfront declaration – you are not about to read “ 9 Poses Your Hips Need Now ” or “ The 5 best  poses to open up tight hips ”. In fact, when my students suggest to me that I need to teach “a whole class on hips”, I am completely perplexed. Why? Because every class I teach is a whole class on hips! Hips are right there in the middle of our bodies; every pose, from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) to Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), is a hip pose. Of course, I understand what people mean when they ask me for a class dedicated to hips – they are thinking of leg stretches, cross legs, Padmasama (Lotus), Supta Padangustasana (reclining big toe pose),Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) and Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II). Many people believe that they have stiff hips and that their...
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Yoga props an Iyengar yoga inovation

Yoga props an Iyengar yoga inovation

By Frank Jesse

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.

Some students, especially those used to flowing styles of yoga, believe that props are hindrance to their practices. However Mr Iyengar developed their use to help studentsb2ap3_thumbnail_Yoga-props-blocks-chair-blankets-foam-pad-sandbags-benches-and-ropes.jpg move more carefully into the pose without undue risk.

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Family of four make Dunkeld tree-change to run The General Store

Family of four make Dunkeld tree-change to run The General Store

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. 

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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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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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My thoughts on the passing of BKS Iyengar, founder of the Iyengar School of yoga

My thoughts on the passing of BKS Iyengar, founder of the Iyengar School of yoga

By Frank Jesse

When someone we feel very close to passes away it is often very hard to accept, no matter how well we are prepared.

When Guruji* left his body at the age of 95 I think all in the Iyengar community were in shock. We had hoped and expected that he would live on a few more years and still impart more wisdom for us tob2ap3_thumbnail_BKS-Iyengar-1.jpg absorb and ponder on. We had, almost unwittingly, elevated him to an almost godlike status, but what we loved most about Guruji were his real human qualities.

Guruji totally disdained the idea of being thought of anything but an ordinary man. He was that, but one with an extraordinary insight into our human nature and a thorough understanding of the body and mind gained through his dedicated and uninterrupted daily practice of yoga. 

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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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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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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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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...
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