Where we live

How to Put on a Yoga Retreat: Part One

How to Put on a Yoga Retreat: Part One

Falls Forest Retreat
So, you think you want to give a yoga retreat?
Putting on a retreat is a matter of having all the right ingredients and then just following the recipe.
The first crucial stage is having a vision – the intention for what you want to accomplish. This can be as simple as wanting to get students together in a natural setting to deepen their experience of yoga.
My intention for holding the recent retreat at Falls Forest was to support Dr. Mary White in showcasing her stunning property at Johns River, New South Wales. […]

Yoga Retreats, Now and Then

Yoga Retreats, Now and Then

On the cusp of the Falls Forest 3-day yoga retreat which begins tomorrow, I can’t help but think of the many wonderful times over the years we enjoyed at Camp Berringa, in the lower Blue Mountains. Pleasurable times, but transformative, too.
Yogis who understand what yoga is all about will book into one or more retreats a year to experience the magical conjunction of our body/minds in Nature.
Being in a natural setting is restful in and of itself. The combination of yoga and a gentle environment renews that part of us that is bone-tired. […]

Our Incredible Shrinking Beach

Our Incredible Shrinking Beach

On my return from holidays, I was quite shocked to hear that our closest beach had lost about a half kilometer of it’s length as a result of recent flooding and storms. That’s a big chunk.
The area concerned is at the mouth of the Manning River, but the dunes all along in a southerly direction to Old Bar Beach are seriously eroded too.
A sad part of our loss is the potential encroachment of the sea on the little tern breeding ground. […]

The Year of the Mother

I’ve seen, over this year, the passing of many of my friends’ mothers, including my husband’s.
No matter what the relationship to one’s mother, her death seems to exert a powerful sorting process on the psyches of her progeny. Even my mother-in-law’s death in the USA this year seemed to have a gravitational pull back to Australia, dragging up an assortment of feelings related to my family.
Yesterday I heard of the recent death of the mother of a colleague. She was of a very advanced age and died peacefully, but I still felt sad. […]

Giants

Giants

Over the last few days I’ve seen a lot of extraordinarily big trees, from Vancouver Island to our current location in far north coast California.
We’ve driven through forests and walked under towering canopies – today absorbing the mighty presence of California redwoods (sequoia sempervivens), which are said to be the tallest living things on the planet at 300-350 feet tall and 16-18 feet across. Some specimens have been recorded at 360 feet.
These measurements don’t really tell the story; what’s more important is the feeling that the trees evoke, such as, awe. […]

Self-reflection

Self-reflection

There are some coastlines and beaches in the world that would give Australian seaside paradises a run for their money, and this spot that I’m looking out at as I write to you would be one. For sure.

Up until yesterday I’d never really heard of and definitely not seen the Central Coast of Oregon (USA). […]

Privileged

Privileged

I’m on the opposite side of the continent from the battered U.S. Eastern seaboard, afflicted as it has been by Hurricane Irene. I’ve been sheltered for the last two days in the Olympic Wilderness area of Washington State.
My awareness has been opening to include the destruction, even death, on the East coast, even as I take in the awesome magnificence of where I am at the moment.
As a launching pad for appreciating the one-million acre Olympic National Park, I am lodged at rustic Kalaloch with it’s expansive sandy, log-jammed beach. There have been so many first sightings. […]

Good-byes

Good-byes

Have you got the habit of saying proper good-byes?
My sister passed away 13 years ago. I knew when I left her at her home in Ohio as I returned to Australia that I would never see her again. Everything I had to say I had said in words and embraces over the two terminal months I spent with her. I guess that’s what I call a proper farewell. Emptying out of all the things you want your loved one to receive from you because you may not have that next chance.
Humans are funny creatures, rather deluded really. […]

Is Dolphin Watching Considered Yoga?

Is Dolphin Watching Considered Yoga?

Yes.
Well, I think so.
I am in paradise here at my friend Joyce’s home which faces the wide calm sweep of the Strait of Georgia.
This morning, I stumbled out to enjoy a waterview yoga practice, and saw pods of dolphins out at sea. They cavorted, careered, and carried on for about 30 minutes, until a cetacean-seeking boat interrupted their antics. […]

Good Grief

Good Grief

I was reminded  after class today of the importance of proper grieving by one of my yoga students. We were chatting about his dad’s immanent death and the bitter-sweet process that he and his whole family have been in of letting go.
Earlier this year, when Daniel went to his mother’s funeral in the U.S., I went through my own private grieving at home. Grief for my mother-in-law but also for losses within my own family.
Death unleashes the most powerful emotions, if we let it. […]

Be Careful What You Wish For

Be Careful What You Wish For

Like most people, we wanted real estate with a beautiful outlook. So, we had our home built on the top of a rise. We can see mountains to the west, wildlife in the forest, green pastures and distant water views.
What we also got as a result of being so elevated is full exposure to the blustery forty-five km/hr gusts of wind that have been drying out all of the flood plain (good), as well as the cute osteospermum we planted on Monday (bad).
I wouldn’t trade our bucolic outlook for the windless quiet of a sheltered dell. […]

I Heart Yoga Teaching

I Heart Yoga Teaching

I hold teaching to be a great pleasure and privilege. How I lucked into this profession has got to be by grace. I was a 35 year old, wondering what I would be when I grew up, and then I stumbled into a yoga teachers’ training.
Grace was there when I was able to apprentice with a very experienced teacher for several years. Afterwards, I flailed around for a while, attempting to find my own voice. […]

Tough Love

Tough Love

Tough love is an expression that goes back to the late 60’s, that was used for someone who would treat another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run.
My friend Peter who is visiting us on Mitchells Island at the moment has been using the phrase to describe a gardening technique that involves severe plant culling.
I’m not very good at getting rid of plants that seem to me to still have some life in them. […]

Everyday Miracles

Everyday Miracles

Mitchells Island, where I live, is tucked right into Nature’s lap. Because of the island being set down between the ocean, the Manning River and big old Scotts Creek, it’s both blessed and cursed. The floods two weeks ago wreaked havoc locally, not the least with the potholes left behind – big enough to drive your car into their jaws.
The lovely birds of our forests were enlivened and emboldened by sunny, warm days that followed the deluge, and on the hunt for food. […]

A Tidy Desk

I learned something a couple of years ago that I’ve applied pretty well since then: you will never finish everything you need to do.
I put this sort of learning in the category of Really Important Stuff We Should Have Learned in School. Like how to change the oil in your car (well maybe you did learn this but probably not at school). Or, how not to get in arguments with your significant other about differences in driving styles while confined to your car. […]

The Exciting Life of a Yoga Teacher on an Island

When we first bought our rural property, mid-north coast was in drought. Typically for Australia, that went on for a few years. Then, about the same time our builders broke ground for building our home, the drought broke too. How many “rain days” were there? Too many, but I still felt wistful enough about The Wet that I could still enjoy it.
La Nina settled in cozily for the long haul and at times she’s been a veritable pussy cat of a weather pattern. But not this week. […]

Big Wet

Big Wet

I’ve got to put my foot down with our choir director so we stop singing the “Rain Song”. It’s a great melody, and the lyrics are cleverly syncopated and percussive, like rain drops.
We’ve been singing the song weekly. Much more than rain drops have been drawn to our part of the world,  more of a deluge in the last while. […]

What does yoga have to do with digging a hole?

What does yoga have to do with digging a hole?

How hard can it be to dig a hole? Have you ever thought about where people would be without holes dug. Probably still living in caves.
It used to be you could just go ahead and wing it…digging your hole. Now you can do a Google Search and discover “How to Dig a Hole”. It takes 5 steps on wikiHow, as a matter of fact. The first important step is to locate your utility lines, and call your council if you don’t know where they are.*
Today I dug a hole in order to transplant a severely root-bound palm. […]

Stellar Summit

Stellar Summit

Today’s wake-up was at 5 am. Hey, we’re semi-retired, living in the country. Why would anyone wake up at that time if they didn’t have to? For an adventure, of course.
Way before sunrise, rugged up to the eyeballs, we headed out to the beach on Mitchells Island. Even as the car headed in that direction, we saw the objects of our expedition: the brilliant convergence of Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Mars in the northeastern sky.
You know how amazing Venus looks in the early morning. […]

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