Exciting news – we have a new page on our website!

On our fridge, and in more detail in my head, we have a To Do List. It’s not one of those boring ones about hoovering and chores though, but about all the places to go and things to do while we’re over here in Australia. We’ve added the new page to share it with you and you’re more than welcome to give us ideas too! I’ve also summarised what we have done so far with handy links in case you want to know about something in particular.

You can get to it by clicking the button under the main picture called To Do List (to the right of Home) or by clicking HERE.

My room (bottom right)

My room (bottom right)

I recently had a week off work, and Matt didn’t. I’d been working hard, so was keen to make the most of the time, but wanted to be a bit considerate and do something Matt wouldn’t be massively jealous of.

After some thinking I decided to go to Mangrove Ashram. An Ashram is a center of learning for Yoga. It is the largest one in the Southern Hemisphere, and just under 2 hours north of Sydney out in the bush. I booked in for 3 nights. I had a recommendation from a friend that it was good, so decided to be brave and get over my fears that it might be full of hippies! (Not that there is anything bad about hippies, I do have hippy tendencies…)

There is a daily program, with some variations each day. There is a fair bit of free time which I mainly spent reading an talking with other people. I also went on a bush walk up to the cliffs at the top of the Ashram which was good – nice and peaceful.  I arrived just before lunch on the first day and settled in. I soon got talking to people and met a lot of people to speak too on the second morning at the visitors meeting.

Two of the three mornings I managed to make it up for the 5.30am yoga class. I’m not a morning person so it was a big challenge for me, but it set me up really well for the day. You end up feeling very awake and refreshed. There was silence each night from 8.30/9pm when the evening activity finished until 7.30am after breakfast. I even managed that too!

One of the daily classes was Yoga Nidra which is Yoga for ultimate relaxation, and it is totally relaxing. So much so I had an embarrassing moment on the second day (after the 5.15am start). You do the class lying on the floor, covered with a blanked for warmth. I was listening, I was relaxing, it was going well. Then the teacher said ‘and now we’ll end with three Ohmmms together’. I thought, ‘Its a bit off doing Ohmms on the floor, but OK.’ We did them, I opened by eyes and then realized everyone else was sat up. I had fallen asleep! Oooops! I manged top stay awake the next day!

I did some volunteering slots in the kitchen to help out, and discussed some book readings at the morning meetings. We also watched a film called The Way about the Pilgrims Way in Spain/France which was good and another film all about Yoga.

The other bit I really enjoyed which surprised me a lot was the Kirtan and chanting. I’d never heard of Kirtan before – its basically singing hymns or mantras with a harmonium playing. Some of the teachers played and sang really really well. We did quite a few sessions of it and I really liked it. The first time I actually found it quite emotional and I don’t know why – allegedly because my heart was touched or opened according to the Yogis. Quite a few other people I spoke to said they were also reluctant initially but then really liked it.

The classes were all quite gentle and relaxing, nothing very strenuous. I did get some help to practice my head stands which was much appreciated. The food was very tasty – all vegetarian and mainly vegan too. One day we got chocolate cake for a birthday – yum! The whole place was just really relaxing. It did take me a little while to wind down after my hectic work and life, but after the first afternoon I was totally in the tempo of the place. The people were all really lovely and just the whole place had a really positive, caring amazing vibe. I came back feeling great!

I would definitely  go back, although with a limited amount of holiday and loads of places I want to explore then probably not for a while! It definitely made me want to do more yoga which I’m doing.

I was really pleased I tried something that I was initially a reluctant about. I had a really good time, ended up feeling great and learnt some more about myself – including finding out I like things which I hadn’t expected. Why don’t you try something new this month? You don’t know, you might like it!

Any questions or thoughts?

26. October 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Ramblings · Tags:
Entrance to Mantra Yoga

Entrance to Mantra Yoga

Since coming to Sydney I’ve been getting into yoga, so I thought i’d write a bit about it.

In the UK I was a member of the Horsham Leisure Centre and a fan of fitness classes, which I tried to go to a few times a week. Gyms I find super boring, I like to be fit and don’t get enough exercise without some sort of structured exercise. My favorite class was Body Combat – the music was good, it was high energy and I liked letting off some steam pretending to hit / kick whoever had recently irritated me!  I also enjoyed Body Balance, which they call a mix of yoga, tai chi and pilates. I have a dodgy back, so tried to go along to help strengthen that.

Here is Sydney we have a gym in the basement but its even more boring than a regular gym as there’s no screens or windows. Yoga seems quite big over here, and there is a center less than 10 minutes walk from our flat so I thought i’d give it a go. An intro two week pass for 5 classes was a bargainacious $20, so I couldn’t go wrong really. Since then i’;ve been going 2-3 times a week and would like to do more if I wasn’t at work or had the motivation to get up for the 6.30am class!

For those of you who know anything about Yoga I do both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. Both are in a warn room at about 28 degrees to help get your muscles warm, but not so hot you dehydrate or sweat massively. The Hatha has more static poses which you hold for a long time, the Vinyasa is more dynamic with flowing moves. 

I really enjoy the yoga, and would encourage everyone to give it a try. I do miss Body Combat for more extreme cardio, but don’t really want too join the soul-less Fitness First down the road just so I can do it!

Here are some of the reasons why I like yoga…

  1. Its good exercise: Both for stretching and toning up your muscles and a bit of cardio action too . For me specifically its also good for my back.
  2. It helps with breathing: I used to have asthma and very much breathe from my chest not my abdomen which sometimes makes presenting hard, as I gasp. I’m using yoga to teach me to breathe properly
  3. Awesome people: I don’t know a lot of people who do yoga, but those I have been fortunate enough to get to know are all lovely, kind hearted and exceptionally friendly individuals. This includes the teachers.
  4. It makes me less stressed and more happy: Both the postures (asanas) themselves and the bit where you live on the floor relaxing for 10 mins at the end of most of the classes! After a yoga class both my body and mind feel great 🙂
  5. You can do it yourself at home: I’ve not really done much of this yet, but all you need is a mat and you can practice where you like

Later on I’ll do another post about the Mangrove Yoga Ashram which I went to stay at for a few nights recently. 

Have you done yoga? Did you like it? Why not give it a go?