Why Retreat? June 16 2015
There are so many things that NEED to be done. So many people wanting so many things from us at any one time. Its no wonder that we find it difficult to find time for ourselves. It is no wonder that in the modern world Chronic illness accounts for 9 out of 10 deaths.
Do you suffer from...
If you answered YES to any of these then excess stress in your life could be putting so much strain on your body that if left unchecked disease and eventually chronic illness will result.
The good news is that there is something that you can do about it.
We see specialists and healthcare providers, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists to help us 'get through' our daily routines. To keep our body in check or to help 'boost' our functioning. What if the simplest answer was that you needed to check out of the stress and allow your adrenal glands and every other system in your body a chance to reset and rest. To turn off the stress response, be taken care of and truly nourish your body with food, gentle movement and works of inspiration. What if all of that money you spend on 'maintaining' your health was being wasted because you just needed to stop?
The best advice anyone can give you is to reduce your daily stress and declutter your life but how on earth do you do that whilst still running a household, holding down a job and being the super human being that is required of you every single day?
We create retreats for this exact purpose, we design menus to heal your gut, exercise to engage your body, move your blood, lymph and melancholy. Creative discovery workshops to inspire your mind and tune into your purpose helping you to reconnect to the person who has gotten lost under all the 'doing' of life.
This is deep healing on a community level - this is our passion, our love and our desire to create a healthier community of inspired individuals so that we may all live in a better world. The statistics are scary and the disease rates in the world are on the rise. The saddest part of it all is that most of it can be avoided simply by changing our lifestyles. Let us help you in this transition so that you can lead the life you desire to lead - Connect to your Pure Bliss!
Join us for a transformational weekend filled with Yoga, Mediation, Creative Discovery and incredible food. Don't wait for your body to fail you, don't wait for the 'completely out of the blue' diagnosis because really they are never that completely unexpected if you have been neglecting yourself.
My first experience with yoga was when an Ex-girlfriend finally convinced me to join her at a Bikram Yoga session in Denver Colorado many years ago. I was nervous, as I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if there were basics that I had to be aware of, or were just assumed, so then I end up embarrassing myself by holding the class up by being “that dude”. Thankfully I made it through my first experience without embarrassing myself, and found the experience both harder and easier than my preconceptions I had about yoga.
Let me explain what I mean. I found it easier in the way that I didn’t have to have any prior knowledge of what was expected and how to go about it. I could just show up, get on my mat (which I rented) and follow along. It wasn’t fast paced and the instructor would give easy to understand directions that everyone followed. If you weren’t sure what she meant, you could just pop your head up and watch what she was talking about, or look around at any of the other fit girls in yoga pants that filled the class.
It was harder than I expected with regard to the physical aspect. I was only in my mid 20s and quite fit, in a blokey sort of way. I had just slowed down from my full time snowboarding days and also played football (AFL). Yes, even in the US you can track down a way to enjoy your favorite sports that you grew up with. Which meant I was also a regular in the gym throwing weights around too. So any thoughts of inadequate dexterity had not even entered my mind until about half way through the 60minute class, as all I could concentrate on were the ever increasing drips of sweat that were creating a puddle on my mat beneath me, as I tried to hold poses that looked easy, until you were actually in them.
I was a soaking wet mess by the end, due to the heated environment that is Bikram Yoga. 30 degrees is the usual room temperature for that style, which had me dizzy and light headed for an hour or so afterwards, due to the amount of fluid that I lost. I had no idea that stretching and holding poses would be so difficult.
Over the next 10-ish years I would try the odd yoga class here and there, but it never held my attention and just seemed like a stretching session. I had always looked at fitness in a traditional way. Work hard, lift hard, breathe hard. Seemed simple enough. But this way of thinking was failing me in a motivational sense. After our Wedding and Honeymoon I finally hung up the boots from Footy after an injury, but I just couldn’t drag myself back in to the gym, and the times that I did, I had no intensity.
My only fitness outlet was surfing now. Being a beginner, it was quite taxing, but getting easier, so my gorgeous wife suggested I join her at one of Lina’s mini retreats.
I’m not sure if it was just that time in my life when a guy starts to see, feel and realize that the invincible, if not bordering on “immortal” feeling that a fit guy in his 20s has, starts to wane ever so slightly. Perhaps I was just starting to mature enough to begin accepting that my long held beliefs were not necessarily the only way of going about things, but that first 2hr session with Lina resonated with me in a way that triggered a drive to want to really embrace what yoga was.
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have booked a one way ticket to Tibet and rid myself of all my material possessions, take it easy slick! That’s not what this is about. What it is about is how I finally started to see that yoga is so much more than stretching and yoga pants.
I think Lina’s style is just as informative as it is challenging, I was able to understand the importance of breathing (well, y’know, other than the obvious) and how it effects not just your yoga, but how you can use it to relax, kind of on cue. Her ability to present the basic mantra as much more than just a physical adaptation of a very in depth way of life, in a manner that a bloke like me not only understands, but can embrace without feeling like I have to give up any of my “manliness”
I think one of the most understated benefits of Yoga that guys don’t seem to understand, is just how good of a workout it is. It doesn’t matter how often you do it, there is always more to achieve if you require that type of drive. The strength required in a lot of the moves/poses due to the lack of flexibility in most of us guys means that you will be toning muscles you didn’t even know you had, as well as gradually increasing your flexibility. It’s the type of place that is actually beneficial to check your ego at the door and accept that there is a gradual process involved with improving. Lina has been instrumental in helping me understand that process.
If you’re looking for a “get fit quick” fix, this ain’t it. There are plenty of guys with shaved legs and tight polo shirts to help you with that. But try incorporating a few yoga sessions with it, and see which one feels like it will be sustainable over a long period of time.
Yoga is a personal journey and we love hearing your stories. Lachlan has been a student of Pure Bliss Yoga for over 12mths now and is dedicated and tenacious in his practice. It is inspiring to watch students grow as their body and mind set changes. Thank you Lachlan for sharing your journey...
What is Yoga? May 21 2015 1 Comment
Yoga is the Union of our physical, mental and spiritual selves, it is far more than merely a way of exercising the body – it is a way of life. Yoga encourages us to focus our minds and become more aware of the internal flow of energy by conditioning, stretching and toning our physical bodies.
Yoga is a prescription for healthy living - it is the formula we all seek for not only a long life but one filled with vitality and quality.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
Yoga practice is associated with many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. Some of the physical benefits include increased flexibility, strength, suppleness and stamina. It enhances your balance, posture and agility and it also cleanses internal body systems to allow them to function properly for example, digestion.
An emphasis on breathing techniques allows you to breathe better and more complete leading to clarity and stillness of mind which in turn helps to reduce anxiety, emotional tension and mood swings.
Yoga can help to eliminate specific physical symptoms or aliments such as PMS, headaches, backache, stress, insomnia, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome just to name a few.
Most importantly Yoga is a personal path of discovery for all those who practice it – its unique benefits and relevance will become apparent to each as their path unfolds!
See you back on the Mat Yogis!
Protecting your body from Yoga? May 12 2015 1 Comment
There has been much discussion and advertising of late for workshops focussed on 'safe alignment' and 'how to practice without injury', 'protect your body during your practice' etc. Which for me has raised a few questions...
Whilst I understand the need of a Yoga teacher to expand their offerings to their Yoga community and to continue to express fresh perspectives on their Yoga practice. I also applaud the Yoga teacher who wants to educate their students on the mechanics of Asana. What I don't understand is what type of Yoga is being taught that requires you to 'recover', 'heal', or 'protect yourself' from it?
I have read recently quite a few discussion from Yoga teachers and students alike asking 'how do I heal my wrists?', 'how long does it take to heal an SIJ injury' and what are the best therapies to get me back into my 'normal' practice?
Having spent over a decade in the Natural Therapies industry - specifically in the field of Musculoskeletal Therapies I am feeling like perhaps some of these students and teachers alike are missing the point. If your 'normal' practice puts so much strain on the finer joints and ligaments of your body that It causes pain, discomfort or injury you need to not be seeking a therapy to heal you but to reassess the practice you are undertaking on the mat and avoid ever getting to that point.
The first Yama of the Yoga Sutras is Ahimsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा). A term that means 'compassion' and 'not to injure'. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. This observance not only applies to our relationships with others and the outside world but also to our intimate relationship with ourselves. If you are pushing too far, taking yourself beyond your limits too quickly and without mindfulness and control of course you are bound to injure yourself. No-one can go from 0-100 without expecting there to be wear and tear on the body. If you have never done a handstand before in your life and you decide one day to spend 20mins a day every day throwing yourself into handstands the body does not have time to prepare for this. The wrists will suffer under the strain as the musculature has not had time to build and stabilise the joint. Just because you can 'do' something does not necessarily mean that you should. You also need to be asking yourself why it is sooooo important that handstands are part of your personal practice? There are literally 1000's of Yoga Asana - why have you focussed so heavily on one or two that the continual repetition of is damaging your body?
Social media has a lot to do with this new emerging trend but for the most part Yoga teachers themselves need to take some of the responsibility. The 'style' that we chose to study and teach is a personal decision but it is also important to understand who your style is suited to. Are you teaching Yoga for every body, every day or are you teaching Yoga for the already fit, Yoga for the 20 something hypermobile? Who are your students and what are your expectations of them...?
I recently dropped in on a class of 'Yoga' that was more akin to a display of acrobatics than Yoga and the requests of the teacher for the level of the student in the room were outrageous. Just because you bring your hands to prayer position at the beginning and end of what you are doing on a Yoga mat does not make it Yoga. As teachers it is our responsibility to guide students through a safe and holistic practice that teaches the students about their body and breath. Not asking them to perform advanced asana just because we can do it and it makes us feel important to demonstrate. There is a time and place for this type of Yoga but it is not in a room filled with every day you and me. If the class moves so fast through their series of Asanas that you can not focus on your breath or alignment let alone being mindful of your body, how on earth can you be making sure that you are stabilising your joints, relaxing not forcing... sorry but I just don't get it.
There are 5 things that I believe to be the most important aspects of any Yoga practice aside from Vedic teachings and Yogic philosophy.
Breath; There needs to be focus and emphasis on the breath - for without the breath it is no longer Yoga it is just exercise. Yoga teaches us that Prana or life-force can only be extracted from the air when absorbed through the epithelial cells in the nose. It also teaches us that there are a finite number of breaths in each life. Each is precious and to be measured. If you are breathing rapidly during your practice and through the mouth you are not practicing Yoga.
Introspection; your practice should allow you time for quiet enquiry and introspection. You are your greatest teacher if only you would allow the time to listen.
Mindfulness; is your practice just another routine in your life that you've got down pat and your movement through this routine is so automatic that you are missing the point. Have you stepped your Yoga practice up to the same level of involvement and activity as everything else you do in your life so that is no longer Yoga - its a multitasking, box ticking - 'nailed it!' session? Learning to be present during your practice is the best part.
PNS involvement; if your practice is not switching on your Parasympathetic Nervous System and switching off your stress response then the deep healing can not occur. You might as well be doing something else.
Variable and individualised; every single person on this planet is built differently. Structural anatomy differences mean that not all aspects of every Asana are available to every person. Mass Yogic prescription does not work and leads to injury we know that. Your practice must reflect you and where you are at in any one time. There are varying modifications and levels to each practice - a good teacher will give you these and let you decide for yourself how far to take your body. I have also been to classes where no modification has been given and you can either do it or you cant which means that you either participate in the class or spend most of it in child's pose resting..... how is this helpful, holistic or progressive. The students either give up and never come back or their ego pushes them to try and in the trying injure themselves.
Now I'm not saying that from time to time you won't injure your body. For some people this is part of the discovery of the outer limits of your practice and something to be learnt from. What I am saying is that you need to find a style that suits your body, a teacher who is genuinely holistic in their approach and mindful of the needs of the entire class. At the end of the day your teacher does not have to live in your body and when that body is old and weary and the cold aches those damaged joints your teacher will not be there to soothe those aches away. Let your teacher guide you but let your own heart always be the final authority. And as always Pade Pade one step at a time - Yoga is supposed to be for everyone, every single day of your life. It is a prescription for healthy living, not a fad. If what you are doing now seems extreme, if you can't picture yourself doing it when you are 60 or 70 then it probably isn't very sustainable and perhaps you need to rethink your motivations and approach.
Stay safe Yogis, be discerning and empowered in your own journey.
Ananda - Bliss April 30 2015
Based on a reading of the Bhagavad Gita, Dvaita vedanta interprets ananda as happiness derived via good thoughts and good deeds that depend on the state and on the control of the mind. Through evenness of temper and mind, the state of supreme bliss is reached in all aspects of one’s life.
Bliss or your 'default setting' as I like to call it is the state in which you as an individual are in harmony, in balance. Think of a new born baby when all of its basic needs are met, they are pure joy, happy, content and 100% in the moment. As we get older we begin to attach 'self' or identity to things, objects and people, we start to 'look' to the future and remember the past and forget to just be. Returning back to ourselves, to our original being, to the core of who we are is often a difficult task. We forget that self care is at the centre of all of this. We sacrifice time, energy and happiness for the 'hope' of something better in the future. In reality all that we have is NOW - there is no 'future' and therefore if we can't be happy in the 'now' there is no happiness and there is no Bliss.
Yoga teaches us to be present, to live and breathe in the body in the moment. To appreciate and work with what we have. To cure disease and if it can't be cured then to endure it. Finding a regular practice or just a retreat from the world takes us one step closer to the deepest part of our nature - our Bliss.
Pure Bliss Yoga and Connect Body and Business Coaching are excited to invite you to join us on our Connect to Pure Bliss retreat.
Immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings of Gymea Eco Retreat and Spa. Positioned on 50 acres of secluded naturally undulating rainforest, with stunning views of Mt Warning - from the moment you arrive you will begin to relax and unwind from the pressures of modern day living.
Spend 3 days and 2 nights indulging in Yoga, Meditation and Creative discovery workshops all designed to help you to reconnect with your true Blissful nature. Heal on the deepest level with nourishing organic, locally sourced (where possible), Naturopathically designed vegetarian/vegan meals to help your digestive system reset and rest. Use your free time to book a luxurious Spa treatment, swim in the Mineral pool or find a quiet spot to sit and read that book you have always wanted to read.
Come and rediscover the parts of yourself that you have misplaced, find your inner Bliss and reconnect with your centre. Use our creative discovery to re-evaluate your path or to confirm your direction and leave feeling the way that you should. Leave the weekend feeling Blissful and connected to your life in a profound way.
Om Shanti.... Om Peace
Gluten and Casein free Anzac Biscuits April 24 2015
One of the things that I miss the most about being intolerant to Gluten, Casein and Inulin (the protein in wheat, dairy and eggs) is the ability to on a whim participate in many of the traditional foods eaten on certain holidays - one of which is the humble Anzac biscuit.
This year I have taken up the challenge to re-invent the Anzac biscuit without loosing any of the flavour or enjoyment by making it into a cardboard version that supposedly fulfils my craving once a year.
So here it is Yogis the Pure Bliss Anzac Biscuit - no tummy troubles and ALL of the traditional flavour! After all if we can't indulge every now and again, what is the point of this healthy, balanced living right?
- 1 cup GF rolled oats (or normal if you can tolerate them)
- 1 cup GF self raising flour (sifted)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup brown sugar (1/2 cup if you don't want the 'sweet' taste)
- 125g Ghee (ghee is clarified butter but once clarified the Casein is destroyed making it digestible and is Ayurvedically very nourishing for the body full of wonderful joint lubricating fats. If you can't tolerate Ghee or want a vegan version then coconut oil will do the job too)
- 4 tablespoons Maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line 2 trays with greaseproof paper
- In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingrdients
- In a small saucepan, combine the Ghee, sugar and Maple syrup over a low heat until melted
- Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients
- Form tablespoons of the mixture into flattened out balls on the tray (about 6 per tray to leave room for them to spread)
- Cook for about 20mins
- Enjoy once cooled!
I promise you these won't last long so perhaps make a double batch.
In remembrance of the fallen and gratitude of the brave - Lest we forget.
Meditation April 03 2015
To be able to empty the mind of thought and control the breath allows the busiest organ in our body to relax and rejuvenate - our brain!
Without the opportunity to relax the brain can not function to it's highest potential.
How many of you forget where you have put your keys? Can't make a decision about anything? Don't remember peoples names? Can't sleep properly?
Your brain needs a break! Try meditating for just five minutes a day and see how refreshed and clear you feel.
Clarity - isn't that what we are all aiming for in this murky pond we call life. Meditation can help you to turn the filter on in your pond - give the fish and plants some oxygen and breathe new life.
Try this quick meditation for a 5 min pick me up.
Sit or lay in a comfotable position. Close your eyes and focus on your breath... breathe slowly in and out through your nose.
With each inhalation take your attention to a different part of your body starting at your head and working your way down. As you exhale mentally make a note of relaxing that part of your body. For example;
Inhale - focus on your head and face
Exhale - relax all of the muscles in your face allowing your jaw to drop slightly
Inhale - focus your attention on your neck and shoulders
Exhale - allow your shoulders to drop and release
Continue your breathing and relaxation until you reach your feet. Once you have made an effort to relax each section of your body take a few moments to return to focussing just on your breathing. Slowly wiggle your toes and fingers and open your eyes and notice how good you feel.
Take the time to honor and reward yourself daily with meditation. Plant the seeds and your garden will grow with a little love, food and water!
Stepping into the Flow March 27 2015
Close your eyes and imagine that you are floating in an endless sea. In your minds eye see yourself fully supported, peaceful and calm - not matter how much you exhale and relax the warm water beneath you will not allow you to sink. Feel the gentle current guiding you and taking you... if you roll over and struggle against the current your body tires and you risk taking the water into your lungs, sinking, sinking. So see yourself allowing this endless sea to carry you to wherever and whatever it is that you and only you are destined to see and be.
This is the beginning of a meditation i frequently use in my classes. This image describes what it is like to step into the flow of life, to allow yourself to be guided, to stop fighting against the current and allow life to take it's course. This dosen't mean that you should give up your power and allow others or circumstance to take advantage of you. It doesn't mean that you don't still use your motivation and momentum to create your reality. What it means is that when you are in the flow, things are easy, things turn out in your favour and if they don't it doesn't matter to you because you feel balanced and like in the water completely supported. We are all destined to be happy, but for some of us 'we' are our own biggest obstacle. To step into the flow means to (as a dear friend of mine was recently told) 'step up on the stage', stop getting in your own way, stop allowing fear to dictate your decisions and know that you will eventually achieve the things you set out for if not better because you do not allow yourself to doubt! Stepping into the flow means to live a balanced life without regret, without fear of failure and with a quiet confidence knowing that joy, compassion and love are who you are and as long as you ride the waves they are who you will always be.
So try stepping outside your box today, dare to dream, look for the path of least resistance and allow life to flow through you!
Happy travels, Namaste,
Vitality February 27 2015
Do you ever feel that you are missing something? Missing your Mojo? You zest and zing? Missing your VITALITY?
Recently it occured to me that after the birth of my daughter i was feeling fulfilled as a mother and joyful in my new experience but something was missing. I felt somehow a little empty. I realised that it was my vitality - MY time, me!
After re-initiating my Yoga practice it became clear to me that all i needed was some time to work on myself, for myself and with myself. Restoring and reviving my mind and body.
Yoga provides us with the space and time to breathe and just be to relax and let go. Through physical work we are able to still the busy mind and through stilling the mind we are able to rest and restore.
Yoga provides us with the abiltity to cleanse the internal organs and muscles as well as re-oxygenate the blood, helping to balance hormones and emotions as well as our attitude towards life as a whole.
Yoga can be a useful tool and dear friend in times of change and progress. It can provide stability in chaos and peace in turmoil.
Having a few months away from my physical Yogic practice taught me a valuable lesson indeed - unlike most other exercise Yoga is not a chore - it is joyful and i never want to be want to be without it in my life ever again.
For me Yoga is a gift and when my 'vitality' is missing again i know where to find it - on my Yoga mat!
True North Heading South? January 29 2015When your world is turned inside out and upside down – when all of your true North’s seem to be heading south, take a breath and stop trying to swim against the current. Yoga teaches us to let go of our expectations and limitations and just go with the flow of the breath.
Sitting on the precipice feeling like I am about to begin another chapter of this adventure, this passage is ringing true, very loud and clear at the moment. But it can be applied to absolutely every aspect of your life. Work, family, love, health – at some stage you just have to surrender, get off your soap box, soften your disposition and let the water take you wherever it may. Who knows it could be a tropical island paradise???? You may be missing out on it because you are too busy looking for the life raft instead of rolling over, floating on your back and enjoying the ride. We spend so much time focusing on the destination that we think we want to get to that we forget that there is a bigger picture, we miss the sign posts and ultimately end up somewhere we didn’t want to be, often back tracking to ‘heal’, re-telling that same old story, in order to ‘move on’. And when it’s all said and done all we have accomplished is to waste our energy and potentially implode the very situation or circumstance we were trying to control.
The way out of or around this?? Get centred, get grounded and stop sweating the small stuff. Step into the flow –if something seems too hard it usually is, and is usually not the right thing for you in that moment. I am not talking about giving up, letting go of your dreams or becoming a waste of space. I am talking about reassessing your options, being discerning and knowing that just because an opportunity is presented to you doesn’t mean you have to take it. Let your heart guide you.
Yoga gives us this heart centred approach, it allows us to stop long enough to hear the voice within -To allow the bubbles of desire to rise to the surface and find constructive ways of expending our precious energy and potential. In essence - to go with the flow of life. When you learn to trust and do this you will find a whole new world opened up to you. A world that is full of vibrancy, renewed energy and enthusiasm. So much more becomes available to you because you stop wasting your energy and time in areas that aren’t productive for you, you stop having conversations that are ‘out of politeness,’ the same conversations that have been leading you in circles for years. You find a new level of friendship with those that are truly positive in your life and those that are negative get left behind. You are able to find clarity where none was before and are able to let go where you couldn’t. Yoga helps us to get out of our heads and be truly present in the moment, something that is rare in this day when we are busy looking to ‘learn’ from the past in order to ‘plan’ for the future, all the while missing out on the ‘now’.
So next time you feel that your life is beginning to spiral –
return to the mat, instead of spending hours researching and worrying and fretting over an issue, find some peace instead. Allow the peace to wash over you and the answers to come when you find your centre. Sometimes we have already been given the answer, but we were so busy swimming against the raging current that we could not see or hear it.
As always in life – return to the mat.
Enjoy your journey……
Balanced Healthy Living January 19 2015
How many of you have started the year with a list of resolutions or intentions to stick to and strive towards? How many of you will actually make it to February with that list still in tact containing everything that you originally put on it?
This year, instead of beating yourself up, instead of making resolutions that are so strict or out of your current lifestyle that you can't possibly keep them, try setting yourself up to win instead of failing.
I personally don't make New Years Resolutions. Why wait until the beginning of the New Year to take a step towards the person that you truly want to be? I get up every morning and say to myself. 'what can I do today to be the Lina I desire to be?'. Some days perhaps it is a simple as choosing not to have that extra helping of dinner, some days its walking to the park with the kids instead of working on my computer. Other days it is going to the really hard Barre class that kicks my butt every time but I know that I will feel so much better and empowered for doing. At the very least it is continuing to tread the path I have set out for myself. I continue to practice my Yoga even when I don't feel like it, I try to be kind and live a balanced life. No extreme dieting, exercise or fads in this house... just sensible, wholesome choices, education and continuing growth. After all, its not a race to get to some imaginary finish line, being active and healthy is every day for the rest of your days. Its finding a sustainable level of activity that you can commit to and make a habit of that will carry you through the years not just to the next bikini season. Its having a healthy approach to eating. Next time you see some 'diet' you would like to try, think to yourself 'can I do this every day for the rest of my life?' if the answer is no then its probably an extreme approach.
Part of this journey is also learning to be comfortable in your own skin. If you need to go on a liquid diet and run 20kms a day to be a size 8 - guess what, you are not a size 8! Find your natural, healthy weight and sustain it. Tone your body, do some weight bearing exercise for bone growth and health and keep your heart active and healthy.
Above all else, be kind to yourself! The beauty of each and every day is that you have the choice to start new - just take one step each day, one precent better each day and by the time next year comes around you wont need resolutions because you will have been living them every day.
See you back on the mat Yogis.