Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

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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Beat the winter chill with my spicy chickpea soup

Beat the winter chill with my spicy chickpea soup

By Jane Gibb

Nothing beats a hearty soup in winter for dinner or lunch.  My spicy chickpea is very simple to cook and it will keep you deliciously full.

You might be surprised to learn that Australia is the second largest producer of chickpeas in the world. So you are guaranteed to find local Aussie produce for this dish.

Chickpeas are good for us and tasty as well. They are a great source of protein and dietary fibre. They are a good source of manganese and iron – both essential for healthy bodies. Plus they have low GI – great for stabilising blood sugar levels. Chickpeas get the healthy heart tick as they lower bad cholesterol.

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Yoga helps you sleep

Yoga helps you sleep
Via Psychology Today An eight-week evaluation of 20 people’s sleep habits showed that yoga can improve aspects of sleep. It’s good news for people who suffer chronic insomnia. Clinical psychologist and sleep specialist Michael Breus reported on the research by Harvard Medical School that investigated how daily yoga affects the quality and quantity of sleep. The preliminary study results showed improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, the amount of time it takes to get to sleep and the wake time after sleep onset. Insomnia is not only a symptom of other illnesses (cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression) it can be a related cause. “Insomnia is associated with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems,” reports Breus. “Insomnia is also associated with inflammation in the body, which is itself a risk factor for heart problems and other serious illnesses.” The analysis evaluated participant’s sleep diaries to...
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Yogis take on The Grampians’ biggest event: The Serra Terror 80km team challenge

Yogis take on The Grampians’ biggest event: The Serra Terror 80km team challenge

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.

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Is Yoga Evil

Is Yoga Evil

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”.

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New research proves yoga reduces the perception of pain

New research proves yoga reduces the perception of pain

 

Via gizmag.com

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.

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Shifting balance

Shifting balance

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.

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What the carrot crisis taught us: How to preserve an oversupply of vegetables

What the carrot crisis taught us: How to preserve an oversupply of vegetables

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 carrotsClara goes on holiday 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?

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Free yoga for India’s civil servants

Free yoga for India’s civil servants

 

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.

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The tomatoes are telling me something

The tomatoes are telling me something

 

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.

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Three essential yoga texts (and two really handy ones)

Three essential yoga texts (and two really handy ones)

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. 

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The healing power of nature: Dunkeld’s award-winning Bush Kinder program

The healing power of nature: Dunkeld’s award-winning Bush Kinder program

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. 

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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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Break your busy day with these smart phone meditation and relaxation apps

Break your busy day with these smart phone meditation and relaxation apps

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. 

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