Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

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

Meet Tiger Lily, an Eastern Grey Kangaroo, who made Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat her home

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It's time for morning oats. Our resident kangaroo, who we call Tiger Lily, is waiting on the lawn outside the yoga studio for her breakfast treat.

It's a peaceful scene to wake up to–this relaxed little kangaroo lounging on the lawn with the mountains behind her. I say 'little' because Tiger Lily is a small Eastern Grey Kangaroo, who has lived at our home here at Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat since she was about eight months old.

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Awesome Tofu Burgers

Tofu-Burgers-with-chutney

One of the great things about this recipe is that you get to feel the texture by hand shaping the burgers. Over time I seem to have developed a little ritual when forming the burgers. Place a large tablespoon of the mix into your hands and press gently between cupped hands, slowly pass from hand to hand taking a moment to pause and reflect. 

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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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Yoga master, T.K.V Desikachar, dies at 78

Yoga master, T.K.V Desikachar, dies at 78

“However powerful and disturbing something may appear to be, it is our reaction to it that determines its effects.”

T.K.V Desikachar

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya Venkata Desikachar, a revered yoga teacher and son of the “Father of Modern Yoga”, Sri Krishnamacharya, died Monday on August 8th, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

As a boy, Desikichar, who was born in 1938 in Mysore, was not enthusiastic about following in his father’s footsteps. Legend has it that his father once chased Desikachar up a tree because he refused to do his daily practice. As a young man, he was determined to pursue a career as an engineer. However, in 1961 at the age of 23, he relented and became one of his father’s most devoted followers. 

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Why this doctor practices yoga for 20 minutes every day (and how you can too)

Why this doctor practices yoga for 20 minutes every day (and how you can too)

By Bridie Walsh

Do you follow your own good advice? If you don’t, you’re not alone. General practitioner and psychotherapist, Dr Cathy Fraser, recommended yoga to her patients and yet never found a time to do it herself. Everything changed 18 years ago after a life-changing event. Now she can boast about strong bones and a calm and focused mind.

“It was a particularly stressful time,” says Dr Fraser. “I left my marriage and was living alone when I started regular yoga classes and I haven’t stopped since.”

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Wednesday night yoga class

Wednesday night yoga class

By Colin Agar

So how is everyone…..everybody well?

(haven’t started yet so pretty hard to tell)

 

Standing poses, forward bends then hand stands for tonight,

(thankfully no backbends, the abs are really tight)

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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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