Fried tofu salad

Posted on   January 16th, 2016 by  admin

 

As the summer continues to heat up, this tofu salad recipe is a sure winner with everyone.

You can add and experiment but the basic recipe is quick and easy.

300 g firm tofu

60g plain (all-purpose) flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon  sesame seeds

125 ml peanut oil

2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled and diced

4 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced on the diagonal

2 ripe roma or cherry tomatoes, diced

1 handful coriander leaves

20 mint leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons kecap manis

Sit the tofu on paper towels for 30 minutes to soak up any excess liquid.

Put the flour in a hot frying pan over high heat and toast it, stirring, for  2 & half minutes, or until it turns golden brown.  Tip the toasted flour into a large bowl and allow to cool, then stir in the sea salt and sesame seeds.  Cut the tofu into 12 slices about 5mm thick and toss them in the toasted flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu over medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown  - you may need to do this in two batches.  Leave to drain on paper towels, then cut each tofu slice into three triangles or slices whichever you prefer.  Gently toss the tofu in a bowl with cucumber, spring onion, tomato, coriander and mint.  Season to taste with sea salt.

In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice and kecap manis.  Drizzle over the salad and toss once again before serving

Enjoy!

 


Yoga for happiness – part 2

Posted on   January 15th, 2016 by  admin

Happiness is an inside job” – William Arthur Ward

Do we rely in others for our happiness? Do we blame others for our limited beliefs?  Happiness is found in right thought,  right word and right deed in relationship with others.  According to Patanjali, there are four powerful attitudes for cultivating happiness as well as reducing suffering:

Maitri:  friendliness and happiness to the virtuous

Karuna: compassion to the sorrowful

Mudita: rejoicing with the happy

Upeksanam: equanimity or indifference to the errors of others

These attitudes can prevent negative thoughts forming and avoids taking things personally.   Yogananda says, “Joy awakens compassion in the heart.  It makes one long to infuse divine bliss into those who are weeping in sorrow.”  Keep positive prana moving throughout the community by restraining and avoiding toxic conversation and gossip about others and yourself.  This spreads happiness and honours everyone to be their best.

Aim for purity

Sattvic living is a joyful state that denounces impurities.  When you try to force this state, it is no longer sattic.  Sattva is gentle, relaxed discipline, practised in a loving, unattached way.  Bring yoga incrementally into your life to gently shift your state of being towards aligning with joy.  This is ahimsa, the nonviolent path, and is far more honest and uplifiting then beating yourself into submission.  The sutras explain.  ” When nonviolence in speech, thought and action is established, your aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in your presence.”  The quest for yogic happiness is merely revealing the joy within by coaxing your being into the safety of relaxed effort, applying discipline for positivity in your life and removing fear.  Then you find the joyful state of who you already are.

Eat consciously

The food you eat effects your state of happiness. Eat little. Learn prakriti, your individual Ayurvedic constitution, and eat accordingly of seasonal, local and sattvic, pure food to nourish you with prana.  Eat what you need with joy and gratitude.   This contributes to your nourishment in happiness and prepares you for samadhi.

Find your community

Satsanga is the company of like minded others committed to finding sat, the real and true.  Sanga refers to association, joining, and promotes destruction of delusion.  Find an uplifting community to join.  Attend yoga classes, workshops or retreats to build your community of like minded others on the same path.

Practice yoga nidra

A sankalpa is a resolve you make during yoga nidra to bring divine happiness to your life.  The deep relaxation of this lying down guided visualisation process is trans-formative for the habit of happiness and letting go of suffering.

Meditate for happiness

Meditate with joyful intention and allow the experience of simply sitting for meditation to uplift you.  If you can’t still your mind that’s OK.  Swami Shankarananda in ‘Happy for No Good Reason’ suggests you “have the meditation you are having” and to “be with the emotion you are having”.  Even if you feel angry, Shankarananda advises to sit with the negative emotion while calming the mind and focusing internally.  Once awareness develops and you can find peace at your centre, the intensity of the negative emotion will subside through the meditation process.

When you still feel unhappy

Take solace in an uplifting yoga practice and do whatever you can to nurture your spirit to make it easy to choose happiness.  If you can’t feel happy, monitor your self-talk, be gentle on yourself so you can keep moving forward in a positive way.  Seek the guidance and support of a skilled yoga teacher you resonate with.

Make joyful intentions

Bring joyful intentions to your day, your interactions, your work, your practice, your life.  Before dawn, if possible contemplate the day ahead and connect with the sacred quietude of daybreak, expressing gratitude for life and your day’s tasks.  Bring joy to the responsibilities of the day and gratitude for joyful awareness.  Breathe and relax.   In the evening, review the day’s events and contemplate where you could have chosen happiness in your day with kindness.  Celebrate the happiness you achieved without attachment to it.  Prioritize relaxation and freeing the mind from constant thinking.  Include a restorative pose prior to bed such as viparita karani, (legs up the wall).

Enjoy each day, one day at a time. Walk on the beach, swim when you can and be gentle on yourself. This too shall pass as life is ever evolving and changing.

Namaste

 

 


Yoga for happiness – part 1

Posted on   January 14th, 2016 by  admin

“Lasting happiness isn’t something you can find through external achievements.  You need to look within to find your bliss – and yoga can be a marvellous tool for discovering it” – Kylie Terraluna

“The quest for human happiness is like looking around for a candle while sitting out of doors in the sun” – Paramahansa Yogananda

Everyone wants to be happy, but what did happiness mean to the ancient yogis? Could you have lost your way on the path to true happiness in this time-pressured, materialistic society?

The Oxford Dictionary uses synonyms for happiness like contentment, pleasure, joy, well-being, delight, rapture and bliss.  The ancient yogis would agree: this is the state of happiness and, yes, it’s flourishing.  The difference lies in translation for living.  Ecstatic bliss in yoga in samadhi, a heightened experience of oneness, an unexplainable, divine joy that comes from the expansive connection to all.  Yogananda says it’s “like millions of earthly joys crushed into one”.

The depths of happiness cannot be found in focusing on the pursuit of outer achievements only, like career, travel, possessions and relationship.  It is found through practices that lead you inward towards your centre. Inner bliss and connection of a deeply spiritual nature cannot be achieved with rigidity, demand, excess, suppression or rejection of passions.  The happy path of yoga is selfless, filled with joyful intention, applied wisdom and right understanding.  Yoga is meant to be liberating, not forced.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the ancient authoritative test on yoga, highly values detachment and renunciation (vairagya): a committment to practice (abhyasa): avoidance of attachment, addiction and aversion; cessation of desires; and remaining even-minded toward pleasure and pain.  Let’s not misinterpret this: it is still a happy path and occurs slowly over time.

How to be a happy yogi

Patanjali considers avidya, ignorance or lack of spiritual knowledge, as the root source of all unhappiness and sorrow.  A yogi acquires discriminative wisdom and spiritual knowledge, drawing on the niyama (rule) of isvara pranidhana: surrendering your efforts to oneness or God to live a happy life.  You detach from the outcomes when you feel divinely supported for your efforts and release them without judgement or condemnation.   Aparigraha – non-grasping, non greed and non-coveting – leads you to contentment and self-acceptance.  You can let go of grasping when you feel good about yourself, resulting from your practice bathing you in peace, even amid adversity.  The surrender has a yielding quality and bypasses the ego.  You realise you are already divine.  Once firmly established and consistently practiced, this relief, peace and happiness leads to samadhi.  After a long time, liberation and bliss are graced upon you and maintained through the practice of yoga.

Study the self

With svadhyaya, the study of the self and yogic scriptures, it may be unclear whether your desires are spiritually right for you and connected to your dharma, your life’s path.  You don’t need to feel guilty or bad about your desires; instead, try to aim them towards fulfilling our life’s purpose.

Practice contentment

Santosha means contentment without excess. It involves accepting your life and enjoying simple pleasures.  Contentment reduces the grasping attachment and aversion cycle.  Combined with satya, truthfulness, santosha gives you courage to change a difficult or unhealthy situation in your life, leading to greater harmony and tranquility.

Practice cleanliness

Practice sauca or cleanliness for your body and mind.  Cleanse your mind of negative thoughts and reactions and cleanse your body for healing so you can meditate without pain. When you feel far from happy within, be honest with yourself and practice isvara pranidhana again ( surrender your efforts to oneness or god) and continue on the path forward.

 

 


Yoga for summer

Posted on   January 13th, 2016 by  admin

 

What’s not to love about summer?

 It’s a holiday season in which you get to spend more time with friends and family.  It’s a time for travel and exploration and the days are longer and warmer, meaning you can head outdoors to relax by the pool, go to the beach and enjoy a BBQ and a drink or two during the balmy nights.

Despite the many positive attributes associated with summer, according to yoga and Ayurveda it is also a time when the fire element in your body, or pitta as it’s known, is at its highest. Pitta is associated with hot, intense sharp and forceful  qualities – much like the sensory experience of the summer season itself. Pitta is not a bad thing but it is important to balance it out so you can stay calm and cool during summer.

Feeling hot??

As pitta is a fiery element, during summer a pitta imbalance might manifest in the form of rashes and inflammation of the skin, ulcers, heartburn, odorous sweating, insomnia, irritability, impatience and anger. Pitta governs digestion and the metabolism so there is a high chance fire may flare up in the small intestine and the stomach, leading to a range of different complaints.

Although you might associate summer with being relaxed and chilled, increased fire or pita can make us feel angry, aggressive, demanding and pushy.  Just think of how irritable and whingey some people get when the temperature reaches a certain point. Summer can make us hot and bothered for a reason.

As you can see the degree of a pitta imbalance, or any doshic imbalance for that matter, can vary significantly.  Severe cases may require you to consult a practitioner. However, for those just feeling overheated and agitated, yoga offers some easy practices to help you cool down.

Keeping your cool

 As summer days are typically sticky and hot, you must cultivate the opposite environment inside the body to balance yourself out. Pitta is driven predominantly by the solar force. As summer itself already embodies this element you must try to quell the pitta inside you; the last thing you want to do is meet the hot, fiery external environment with a similar internal disposition.  A way you can counter the summer weather and a fiery nature to create a lunar current within your body.  This means adopting practices that are cooling and will calm your system and increase your energy levels so you can truly enjoy summer.

In this day and age we are fortunate enough to be able to simply flick on a switch for a fan or air-conditioner to immediately cool down.  However, for a holistic approach, we have to go deeper to achieve the best results.  Ancient yogis created their own cooling practices to help balance their pitta levels.

Cooling foods  

A few things to remember when it comes to summer eating.  Ayurveda speaks of the six rasas or types of taste.  These include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, hot and astringent.  The rasas relates to the perception of food on the taste buds as well as the final reaction in the stomach. Sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and best when it comes to summer eating and balancing pitta.  Greens such as rocket, radicchio and mint make a great summer salads and perfectly fit into the acceptable rasas for summer.

Foods that create heat in the body should be avoided, including garlic, onions and spicy and sour tastes.    Keep things light and cool and avoid heavy foods. Try out foods that you don’t need to cook for very long and even things you don’t have to heat at all before eating.  Take advantage of seasonal summer produce and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables with high water content.  These might include melons, apples, pears, berries, cucumbers and leafy greens. These are light, nutritious and easy to digest.  Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Fresh juices and coconut water are also beneficial and avoid caffeine.  Try using coriander, mint, fennel, cumin cardamom and anise also to help cool pitta.

Pranayama exercises should also be integrated into your summer practice  which will help reduce the body temperature and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to induce muscle relaxation.

Summer yoga practice

Asana practice in summer is not about pushing yourself to extremes to get the perfect beach body. Traditional, Ayurveda recommends lightening the workout load in the summer as pushing yourself beyond your capacity will build heat in the body an that means excess pitta.  Summer is therefore a great time to change your focus from intense exercise to concentrating on the intricacies of your movements, muscles, alignment and breath.  A restorative, calming yoga practice is ideal for this time of year.

Keep in mind that according to Ayurveda it’s also best to exercise in the early morning or, if that’s not possible, in the evening at sunset.  Exercising in the middle of the day should be avoided as this is the hottest time of day and exposure to the sun should be limited.   Forward bends, twists and mild back bends all stimulate the abdomen, a major pitta centre, and help cool the body.  Remember to be careful with inversions, arm balances and other practices such as khapalbati breathing that build heat in the body.  These poses can still be practiced, but go easy on them and try to counter them with cooling poses.

As summer literally warms us up, our bodies are already more flexible and pliable before we even begin our practice.  This means we have a chance to go deeper into asanas but it also presents a chance to exercise restraint and slow down.Its important to strike that balance.

Keep this in mind when approaching your mat this summer.

Namaste

 


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Posted on   November 26th, 2015 by  admin

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a text which was written around 200AD by the Indian sage Patanjali.  YOGA  means Union and through this union he wrote about a system of philosophies and practices, the foundations of which form the eight limbs of yoga, the core of yoga practice.

It was through this text  that he presented the world with an integrative step-by-step  system of ashtanga, or eight limbs, directing practitioners of yoga to work towards achieving the union of the body, breath, mind and spirit.

The eight limbs of yoga, comprise moral disciplines and personal observances (YAMAS and NIYAMAS), postures (ASANAS), breath work (PRANAYAMA), ability to turn inward (PRAYHAYARA), concentration (DHARANA), meditation (DHYANA)and the state of fulfillment and blissful absorption ( SAMADHI) – the ultimate goal of yoga.

YAMAS

Yamas relate to the relationships you have with yourself and others, and are defined as moral disciplines by which the society should live by. There are five Yamas that teach us to live in harmony and peace with yourself and the external world.

  •  AHIMSA : Non Harming

Ahimsa is the central principle of the eight-limbed path of yoga and is defined by “not causing pain” to all beings.  As Patanjali explains, it means not engaging in violence towards others, neither in action nor speech, as well as not causing physical, emotional or psychological harm to yourself and others.  Ahimsa encompasses the judgement’ s and destructive comments you make towards yourself. Practice of Ahimsa in modern life encourages you to contemplate any aspects of violence you may cause.  It requires compassion, courage and a commitment to making mindful choices in your life daily, be it the way you conduct self-talk, the food you choose to eat, entertainment you favour, transportation you use or social and political causes you support.

  • SATYA  : Truthfulness

In the second Yama, Satya, Patanjali instructs to be committed to truthfulness in thoughts, words and actions.  Sincerity and integrity of speech lies at the heart of Satya.  Truthful, communication and honesty in action form a solid base of any relationship. As Bhavana Ram puts it, truthfulness is “instinctual knowing within us”.  Practicing Satya is not always easy but, by being mindful of your thoughts and speech you can develop a deeper connection to your inner voice as well as the ability to recognise delusion and to follow your truth in the relationships you have with others and yourself, the friendships you form, your career and the lifestyle choices you make.

  • ASTEYA : Non Stealing

Practice of Asteya is defined by not taking anything that has not been freely given to you.  That doesn’t only include theft of physical objects, it also involves greed, depriving your friends or family members of time and energy, over consumption of natural resources and not sharing the possessions you no longer use with those in need.

  • BRAHMACHARYA : Appropriate use of vital/sexual energy

Brahmacharya is the most misunderstood of the yamas, as it is often translated as ‘celibacy’. In the broad sense it means control of the senses or indriyas.  Yoga advocates restraining from indulging in sensual gratification. One of the many reasons is that practicing the higher levels of Ashtanga  yoga (the eight limbs) – Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, requires an incredible amount of energy and prana. The more people gratify their senses the less energy they have and the less ability they have to meditate on the absolute.

  • APARIGRAHA : Non-greed/non hoarding

Modern society measures wealth by its financial success, possessions and social status.  While material possessions can be enjoyed, Aparigraha teaches not to be defined by them and  not to accumulate what is not necessary.  Deeper application of Aparigraha involves generosity by sharing and giving away the things you do not need, not overusing the world’s resources and practising gratitude for the abundance you already have in your life.

NIYAMAS

There are five niyamas, or personal observances, which are directed inward and encourage yoga practitioners to take good care of their bodies and minds.

  • SAUCA : cleanliness

Sauca implies purification of the body, speech, mind and surroundings. Cleanliness of the body involves hygiene and a diet of pure, natural foods free of additives, preservatives and toxins. Purity of speech includes abstention from harsh language, gossip and judgements. Cleanliness of the mind is achieved by cultivating positive, kind thoughts, surrounding yourself with inspiring people and choosing forms of entertainment to nourish your mind.  In relation to your surroundings or practice, sauca involves maintaining a tidy, uncluttered home that brings more peace and order to your life.

  • SANTOSHA : contentment

Santosha is the ability to be content, at  peace and gratetful for what you already have, refraining from greed and desire. It is the practice of patience, acceptance of reality for what it is and abstention from anger and frustration.

  • TAPAS :  self-discipline , disciplined use of our energy

Self discipline that leads to an internal fire. Willingness to work in the area that you have enthusiasm for and to develop discipline and the desire to learn. A good way to practice Tapas is to do one thing you do not want to do, do it everyday and one thing that you really want to do, don’t do it. Practice this and it will develop a lot of control over your mind and you will see that it will help you achieve success in all areas of your life.

  • SVADHYAYA : self study

Svadhyaya comprises the study of the self, self- enquiry, as well as the study of the relevant scriptures. Study of yogic scriptures activates your reflective skills, enhancing your development as a yoga practitioner, where the process of self-enquiry invites you to face yourself by revealing your inner nature.

  • ISVARA PRANIDHANA : devotion to a higher source.

Often translated as “devotion to God” this niyama causes confusion in the minds of some beginner yogis. Yoga is a practice that in no way advises which spiritual ideal or form you should follow, align with and surrender to (pranidhana).  Thus, the higher source (isvara) should be looked at as your personal choice of and connection to the divine, whether it is formless – as cosmic consciousness, emptiness, ultimate reality or higher intelligence – or has a form – such as Buddha’s nature, the Christian God, Jesus, Krishna Tao or something else that resonates with you.  Surrendering to the higher source means to practice humility, and be present and mindful of the reality.  In daily life, isvara pranidhana can be applied by showing respect to those with greater knowledge than yours, releasing the ego-controlled reactivity,  recognising the divinity in all beings and taking time to sit in stillness to unclutter and quieten the mind and witness the silence within.

ASANAS – postures

Although Patanjali never mentioned the health benefits of the postures in his text, he emphasized the importance of asana, placing it third in his eight-limbed system of yoga.  Asana means “comfortable seat”implying that one can maintain that position with steadiness and ease and so prepare for prolonged periods of seated meditation, which can be achieved when the body is healthy, strong and free from toxins, tension, pain and stiffness. Asanas are thus essential to a modern-day yoga practitioner preparing form meditation.

PRANAYAMA – breath regulation.

Prana means “breath”, “vital energy”, “lifeforce”, while Ayama is translated as “extension”, “restraint”, “control”. Pranayama is the extension of life force which also includes the breathing exercises widely used by modern yogis.  Do you notice how your breathing becomes forced or choppy when you are angry, frustrated, nervous or agitated , and how calm, deep and smooth it feels when you are in a relaxed state?  Pranayama methods can relax your nervous system, calm the mind and reduce your stress levels and some can boost your energy levels and increase cognitive functioning. Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) is known to decrease blood pressure.

PRATYAHARA : withdrawal of the senses

Pratyahara is the fifth limb of yoga, and a method of developing control over the senses and focus of the mind. this limb is a helpful tool for the modern-day yogi living in the fast – paced world of smartphones, media, loud music, fast food and traffic jams, anyone experiencing a sensory overload.  Cultivate positive thoughts and gratitude, and mindfully practising asana, breath awareness and self enquiry.

DHARANA : concentration

Dharana, refers to the ability to maintain single – pointed focus on the object of your choosing. Breath, a physical object, such as a flame or picture, repetition of a mantra or sounds. Practice of dharana, or concentration, is a preparation for the seventh limb of yoga, meditation.

DHYANA : meditation

Dyhana comes from the Sanskrit word dhyai, which means “contemplate” or “meditate”. Dhyana is a state the Patanjali describes as “continuous flow of cognition” and which can be understood and “effortless concentration on watching the mind”  It results from the fifth and six limbs: sense withdrawal and concentration.

SAMADHI : blissful absorption, enlightenment

Sanadhi, often translated as “enlightenment” is the highest of the limbs and the culmination of the practice of yoga. Samadhi is an ability to be wholly and fully absorbed in the present moment.  It is the state of pure awareness and oneness with the universe.

The eight limbs of yoga equip you with valuable, practical tools for living in harmony within society. Treating yourself and others with compassion and understanding, taking care of your body and mind. Remaining disciplined in your practice, withdrawing from the external stimuli and turning awareness inwards. Patanjali teaches that, through practising the eight-limbed path of yoga, you can purify  body and mind.

 

 

 


Orange, Carrot, Coriander Refresher

Posted on   November 24th, 2015 by  admin

Orange, Carrot and Coriander Refresher

3 Oranges (peeled or unpeeled)

2 Large Carrots (unpeeled)

1 Green Apple

2 Coriander sprigs with roots (washed)

 

Juice and enjoy a great summer cleansing refresher.

:)

 

 


Travel Tips

Posted on   February 22nd, 2015 by  admin

 

Yoga Travel Tips

The practice of yoga, developed in India thousands of years ago, aims to educate the body, mind and spirit. Today, this ancient system has become one of the most popular ways of getting fit and finding serenity in today’s hectic world. Through breathing techniques and perfecting a series of poses – known as asanas – students of yoga refresh both body and spirit. A yoga holiday provides the perfect environment to reconnect with yourself. Travel like a local, experience the local customs and environment or enjoy the peace and quiet.

As a guide a few tips are:

Keep it simple.  Pack light.   Embrace the yogic concept of ‘aparigraha’, non attachment.   Bring a water bottle and make sure that you have sufficient water to remain hydrated.   Find out well in advance about food and meal choices, especially if you have allergies or must eat certain food groups.   Take your own high energy snacks, power bars or treats.   Know well in advance of the weather and temperature changes in the area and take appropriate clothing.   Find out well in advance about your accommodations and what the room includes.   Avoid taking your phone and computer; instead take your yoga mat.   Don’t forget any prescription medication and take along bug repellent, after-bite and sunscreen if travelling to a tropical region and a small first aid kit.   Let the retreat leader or yoga teacher know of any previous or existing medical conditions or injuries.

Try not to go with any expectations, every retreat or yoga holiday is different, especially with new groups attending, dynamics and needs change. Usually you will be in for a great healing journey and a memorable experience.

Connect with other people and be open-hearted. Try to enjoy the local culture. Slow down. Embrace the freedom of a loose schedule. Find your sense of adventure and make an intention to fulfil a dream that’s always seemed to be just out of reach.

Lastly, decide what type of yoga holiday you are looking for as there are two different sort of yoga break: a yoga holiday and a yoga retreat. And although the two are linked the difference can be quite distinct.

Yoga holidays usually take place in holiday settings and place an emphasis on both ‘yoga’ and ‘holiday’. So as well as daily classes you might be surfing, diving, skiing, or just relaxing in the sun. The amount of yoga each day varies – from 90 minutes upwards. Mostly the yoga is asana (or physical practice) although you might also learn a bit of pranayama (breathing techniques) and/or meditation. Yoga holidays are generally run by individual teachers, studio owners, accommodation owners or speciality agencies. A yoga retreat, on the other hand, places almost all the emphasis on yoga. As well as asana there might be philosophy lectures, a particular diet, chanting, as well as plenty of pranayama and meditation. Generally retreats are just that: a retreat from the outside world to concentrate purely on yoga.

Retreats tend to be run by established organisations, teachers or specialist retreat venues.

Our final suggestion is to make the most of every moment and have a great yoga holiday!

www.travelyoga.com.au

 

 


Mindfulness Retreat -Yoga in Fiji

Posted on   February 4th, 2015 by  admin

A carpet of joy: Mindfulness retreat in October

Joy, laughter, peace….a carpet on which to sit and approach mindfulness. It is NOT a dull and serious business but one imbued with happiness and lightness of spirit. And that’s the approach of Nik Welsh and Mark Baxter  in their Mindfulness retreat in October 3-10.

‘Mindfulness’ has been a slow growing practice around the traps of better living for a few years now – and in the last 18 months seems to have reached a critical point where it’s on everyone’s lips. When they approached us at Daku Resort / Yoga in Fiji to host the retreat, they said they wanted to construct the sort of retreat they had always dreamed of. What had they dreamed of?

“We wanted to let people learn about mindfulness but at the same time be full of the joy it can deliver,” explained Mark. “Mindfulness can sound pretty heavy, and sure, it can deal with some serious and difficult issues, but it is also a tool for release and happiness. We really wanted  people to have fun and dive into the joy of life during our retreat.”

We were delighted as this is very much in tune with the sort of experience we know about in Fiji.  For starters, Fiji itself is a place of laughter and warmth – and between us, we’ve put together a programme of workshops and good times – sunrise meditations, a plunge into a waterfall, a hike through the rainforest behind Daku Resort, discussions on living, snorkeling on the glorious reefs, yoga in the beautiful yoga shala at Daku. The product of this collaboration- come and join us!

http://www.travelyoga.com.au/index.php?page=traveldestinationsdetails&pid=73&ty=search

The Mindfulness course itself is based on the well established and highly respected Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course – you can read about it in depth at http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/. But if you want the condensed version, here’s a quick taster:

MINDFULNESS IS AN INNATE HUMAN ABILITY

The hectic pace of modern life can easily take us away from who we are and what we love. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what is happening right now, wherever you go or whatever you do, it’s about being “all there” in body and in mind. It is already within us, an innate quality of mind that, when cultivated, can awaken each of us to true health and happiness.

 

MINDFULNESS IS A PRACTICE

You can increase your own innate mindfulness by learning and practicing a variety of techniques that enhance your inner strength.  Training in mindfulness is like training a muscle, training our attention to be where we want it to be. The practice improves our ability to notice, observe, and experience bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings on purpose in each moment – even when they may be difficult or challenging.

 

EVERYONE CAN DEVELOP MINDFULNESS

Whether it is the stress of daily life, the feeling that something is missing, or the challenges of a physical or psychological condition, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has helped thousands of people like you to live fuller, richer, and more empowered lives.  It reduces our tendency to rush through life on autopilot, improving our ability to act with awareness and attention, allowing us to choose how we respond in each moment.

 

More than three decades of research has found that the majority of people who complete the course report:

  • Increased energy and enthusiasm for life
  • A lasting ability to cope more effectively with stressful situations
  • Major improvement in anxiety, depression,  sleep disturbances, relationships and productivity
  • Lasting decreases in difficult physical and psychological symptoms
  • Reductions in pain levels with an enhanced ability to cope with enduring pain

 

“Why meditate? Because of the risk that your whole life could go by and you would miss it - because you were absorbed in what you thought you needed to be doing …”Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn - Author and Founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

 

There is plenty of research on the benefits of mindfulness meditation.  If you are interested, a good place to start is http://www.openground.com.au/where-does-it-come-from.html


The Yoga Barn Ubud Bali

Posted on   January 18th, 2015 by  admin

      

 

If you haven’t booked into a scheduled yoga retreat and you are travelling solo to Ubud in Bali, then the Yoga Barn is your first stop.  Here you can find solidarity with like minded people. The Yoga Barn is a haven. A place to spend a whole day if you want.

Classes start at 7 am and the schedule of classes run all day – every day until 9 pm. From all styles and traditions on offer with very experienced and helpful teachers.  Everyone is welcome, beginners to dedicated yogis.  With different shalas, platforms and  rooms holding multiple or back to back classes, meditation, Kirtan, Acro Yoga, Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyassa Yin Yoga, Pranayama Crystal Bowl and Tibetan Bowl mediation (just to name a few)  and special events.  Offering  two receptions – one main to greet you and answer your questions and one for yoga class bookings.

In the center of these two greeting places is the meeting place. The Garden Kafe. With healthy, wholesome, organic and Ayurvedic meals and amazing juices, smoothies and health shots.  There is no reason not to leave The Yoga Barn feeling a little healthier and more grounded.

Sitting in The Kafe I choose to write this blog the old fashioned way, with pen and paper and I notice all around me other yogis are mostly head down connecting with the outside world through smart phones. It seems the meeting place -like any other place – is safer with a smart phone in our hands.   It is safer it seems to not say hello to a fellow yogi but to connect with a device that wont take you out of your comfort zone.?  But here I am writing for a device that I hope all the people looking at their devices will read! So I guess I just have to accept that is how life is now,  even in the most yoga of all yoga places on offer in Ubud.  It is not all devices and heads down though, the brave have met a new friend or made a new connection or shared a story. They have grown through risk taking, pass the sugar please?

The Kafe shows me yet again how yoga has evolved and why we have The Yoga Barn and yoga retreats because so many different people, young and old are embracing yoga.  So as I say travelling alone is no problem. You can choose to just be among other yogis and practice side by side or you can put down the smart phone and say hello. You never know who you might meet.

My day at the yoga barn consisted of a Power Yoga class with an inspiring teacher Denise and then a very powerful meditation class.

The Power Yoga class was large. Around 100 people. Challenging but inspiring to watch so many yogis practice at different levels. It reminds me that everyone is different and every day in a yoga class in different.  It is invigorating to be in a large class but remember  to leave your ego at the front door and just do what you can for that day.  I love sharing the yoga experience with different nationalities, it is a great teacher of who you are.

The Yoga Barn – Ubud – Bali.   A yoga retreat on your own timetable.

www.travelyoga.com.au

 

 


Yoga & Mud Baths in Fiji

Posted on   December 27th, 2014 by  admin

   

A muddy lotus: Fiji mudbaths for the ultimate cleanse

 

Adriana Cortazzo’s recent yoga retreat in Fiji promised it would be “Expansive. Nurturing. Surprising.” One of the surprises was glorious mudbath .

Fiji has many hot thermal streams and pools, some rising as hot bubbling streams and others coming up beneath the earth and creating natural mud pools. During the week, the group luxuriated in an afternoon at one of these nearby pools.  It was utterly simple – no special seats, no showers- just the river to wash off in. And the setting was fabulous – massive bamboos, cascading vines, huge rain trees and the peace of rural Fiji.

The mud is full of slightly rough organic matter so it’s an ideal exfoliant, and as you dig your toes down deeper into the pool you feel the heat increase. The Fijians claim it has all sorts of health giving properties, soothing aching joints and delivering a feel of tranquility and relaxation – and certainly everyone felt pretty good afterwards.  – not least because everyone laughed so much and,  as everyone knows, laughter itself is a great healer.

Adriana returns to Fiji next October (Oct 31 – Nov 7) and the mudpool is a very firm part of the schedule.

Book now and dont miss out on this experience

http://www.travelyoga.com.au/index.php?page=traveldestinationsdetails&pid=73&ty=search

Delia Rothnie-Jones/Yoga In Fiji