Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

Why Christina McCallum takes her family on a yoga retreat

Why Christina McCallum takes her family on a yoga retreat

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. 

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My five favourite kitchen implements

My five favourite kitchen implements

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:

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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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Find your boundaries

Find your boundaries

By Kimina Lyall

 

Last time I wrote this blog, I added an afterword, and then deleted it. The blog was about finding stillness in asanas, and I extrapolated from that to wondering if I could find stillness in my busyness. Looking back, the blog, as my life, was more about the busyness than the stillness, but we can only yearn for our own success. The unpublished postscript went something like this:

 

Afterword, six hours later: When I got up from writing this blog, I found myself in acute back pain that has since increased. I’ve had to abandon all plans for the rest of the day, and possibly the next few. A message from the universe? 

 

That was ten weeks ago.  As it turned out, an inflamed L5 disc has significantly changed my plans for most days since. Don’t get me wrong, this was no permanent injury (I hope). A couple of housebound weeks, take it easy, get some treatment and I’d be back. 

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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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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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Five ways to wake up your winter garden

Five ways to wake up your winter garden

 

By Jane Gibb

 

With the excitement that spring has arrived and the garden is beginning to bloom, it’s easy to forget to stop and take a look at what’s really going on. 

Yet, that’s just what you should be doing to make the most of the early warmth and to wake up your garden. I have five tips to show you how.

  1. 1. Remove spent leaves 

Take a closer look at the plants that die back over winter. Remove any dead leaves that may still be attached. Strawberries in particular need attention. Clean dead foliage from the base of the strawberry plant because this is the hiding place for snails and slugs and with warm weather on the way they’ll soon be feasting on the new growth.

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The mystery of yoga and the spirit of cooking

The mystery of yoga and the spirit of cooking

By Jane Gibb

We began our most recent five-day retreat just as we heard the news that Mr Iyengar had passed away.

As we gathered to commence, it occurred to me that people from all over the world were doing the same thing: practicing yoga and reflecting on the life and legacy of Mr Iyengar.

Iyengar yoga keeps me going on so many levels. All the extremes of my emotions and cravings are levelled out and my body is free of aches and pains. I have the energy and spirit to work long days. And, despite my age, I can still garden all day and do strong physical work. 

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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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In my darker moments, Mr Iyengar's light still shines

In my darker moments, Mr Iyengar's light still shines

By Kath Walters

I had a few dark moments last week but, strangely, when I heard that Mr BKS Iyengar had died, I viewed my own difficulties differently all of a sudden.

Of course, I was sad at the loss of such a soul. However, he’s a soul who has left an incredible legacy of change. Mr Iyengar inspired a tidal wave of interest and practice of yoga across the world. He changed millions of people, from those like me, who have gone a short way along to yoga path, to people like Frank Jesse and Jane Gibb who have applied yoga deeply in their lives and shared the practice of Iyengar yoga with thousands of others.

How Iyengar achieve all this? By simply doing the best that he could in his chosen endeavour, and communicating the insights he gained in the process with anyone who would listen. His commitment and perseverance and willingness to teach made him a leader. But he was simply one person, doing his own thing.

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