My happy place.
My happy place.
Many of you know that I have moved to Waimangaroa, on the West Coast of Te Wai Pounamu in Aotearoa. According to Wikipedia, there were 231 people living here in 2018 so it is substantially smaller than Rangiora with its population of 19,000 people! Having only been here for 3 weeks I am still settling in and adjusting to the rhythms of life here. What I am discovering with this being a new home without fixed routines in place, is that I notice and respond to what is arising in the moment more easily. I am blessed to be living 2 minutes from the beach and after dinner last night I felt the desire to go for a stroll along the beach. Feeling the sand on the soles of my feet and noticing how the texture of sand changed as I wandered along was an enjoyable and grounding experience. By the end of my walk my head was clear and my heart open. I felt grateful, refreshed and alive.
For some time now I have known in the depths of my heart that my Soul needed to leave the hustle and bustle of Rangiora and find a quieter place to call home. A place where I could effortlessly connect with nature, be present and ultimately connect with myself, my True Nature on a deeper level. Although this calling in my heart has been present since returning to New Zealand from Pitt Island back in 2018, it has taken this time and an encouraging hand through the recent governmental mandates to allow me to take this step.
In our Monday morning classes last term we began diving into Yoga Philosophy and in particular the 8 Limbs of Yoga by Patanjali. These Yoga Sutras by Patanjali are a guide for us all in our practice of Yoga. Yoga was developed centuries ago as a way for people to uncover their full potential. Yoga is a way of living and being that makes real happiness possible. Its power lies in its ability to bring us into the present moment. By focusing and feeling into what is happening in the present moment, the sensations in the body, our breathing, we can begin to connect with and discover a deep sense of stillness, of peacefulness, of joy and all-encompassing love. This is our True Nature and Yoga, ultimately, is a practice that allows us to realise our True Nature.
In class we began with the yamas, the first branch of the Yoga tree, which includes:
Sanskrit is similar to Te Reo Māori in that it can be interpreted in many ways as words have larger meanings rather than a simple translation to one English word that explains it in its entirety. The above translations of the yamas are taken from Donna Farhi’s book, Yoga Mind Body and Spirit: A Return to Wholeness, a wonderful text that I would encourage you to engage with to support your Yoga practice. Donna mentions to keep in mind that the “Yamas are not so much a list of dos and don’ts, as a reminder of how we are when we are connected to our True Nature.”
Satya reminds us of the importance of honest communication and it allows us to create healthy relationships. This honest, truthful communication can be applied to ourselves, to our friends and family, and to our communities. Part of this practice of Satya involves being true to our heart’s deepest desire and longing. This is not always easy as it may involve leaving an unhealthy relationship or job, and moving away from the security of what you currently know and are doing. And this takes strength, as many of us have experienced when we have followed the callings of our hearts.
I am deeply saddened by the separation that has occurred through Covid and the governmental mandates that have been enforced. I am all for freedom of choice and human rights, and although I have chosen not to have the jab, I do believe there is a place for safe vaccinations. I knew in my heart with the jab being in its trial phase that it was not right for me and this was clear from the beginning. And of course, I questioned this and researched and listened and watched and waited, and as time went on the feeling became stronger. It definitely has been the harder option to choose but the one that feels right for me. The silver lining in this whole situation is that it has allowed me to finally make that step and find a quieter tranquil place to call home. It has encouraged me to step away from my life in Rangiora and as I let go of parts of my identity, I question:
Who am I when I am not a teacher?
Who am I when I am not a healer?
Who am I when my days are no longer fully scheduled?
This is the first year that I have not set any New Year’s resolutions, which is a big change for me! I am the queen of to-do lists, and naturally a very focused, goal orientated, achieving, organised type of person. I resonate strongly with my masculine energies of “doing” but I know in my heart that it is time to allow spontaneity, fluidity, flow, intuition and the feminine energy of “being” in. Moving here, to Waimangaroa, where the energy is amazing, the pace naturally slower and without every moment of every day spoken for, I am intrigued to see what will unfold and be birthed out of this new space…
Namaste my dear friends.
I wish you well in your journey through 2022.
“I honour the place in you that is the same in me.
I honour the place in you where the universe resides.
I honour the place in you of love, of light, of peace and of truth.
I honour the place in you that is the same in me.
There is but one.
Our flights were booked for Tuesday July 10th to fly to Pitt Island. However, the plane was unable to get out to New Zealand, from the Chathams, due to bad weather. I made the most of being at home and finished laying newspaper and straw in the garden. This is part 1 of an 8-part mission cutting out blackberry, pruning bushes back to waist height, and replanting in my attempts to tame the wilderness along the hill face directly below our house. Tuesday night I was feeling excited about returning home to my roots. However, I also noticed a part of me that was wanting to stay and use this time, whilst I’m not teaching, to continue working through my ‘to-do’ list. We live on a 15-acre property that needs loads of tender loving care and my extensive and ever-changing to-do list reflects this.
We arrived on the Chatham Islands one hour and forty minutes after leaving Christchurch Airport on the Wednesday. It was a real treat the next morning to practice Yoga and be able to hear the sea lapping on the shore just outside our bedroom window. I enjoyed a late shower, followed by a windy walk along the beach. Plenty of time to rest… the body and mind slowly unwinding… my extensive to-do list moving to the back of my mind.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
Almond milk is a yummy alternative to cows milk, and is great for building up the Ojas (essential energy) in the body. It contains good amounts of vitamin E and calcium, has no cholesterol or saturated fats and is great for strong bones and glowing skin! [Read more…]
By Lorna-Jean Paulot
I am an ordinary 50+ woman with the standard too busy hectic life style that has become routine, so I decided to try Yoga to find a little balance and went along to Melissa at Manaia Yoga & Wellbeing.
I had no expectations and Melissa’s classes gave me much more than balance… it gave me equilibrium and served as the catalyst to start the process of change that previously I did not have the courage to make. Each week I eagerly waited for Monday to come round to engage and experience this inner sanctuary and the joys that come from within. [Read more…]
Many years ago during a particularly intense period of asana practice I asked one of my teachers what she thought I needed to work on. I expected to receive another list of advanced postures, but after a long pause she said, “You need to learn how to be simple.” This was not the answer I had hoped for! I could certainly work my way through an exhausting regimen of postures, but could I be still for ten minutes? Could I take pleasure in the simple act of sitting, standing, or lying down? I had already begun to notice that my natural inclination in asana practice was drawing me toward stillness and into meditation. But unable to discern the difference between complacency and containment, after sitting quietly for a few minutes I would rally myself once again into action. On to the next posture! Gradually, as I began to trust my own inner prompting, my practice did indeed become more simple and I began to spend as much time in meditation as in asana. [Read more…]
I felt blessed to be a student at Donna Farhi’s recent Yoga Intensive in Christchurch – The Heart Aroused. This was an amazing experience… an opportunity to sit quietly, to connect with my body, to hear the soft whisperings of my heart, to bring the attention back to my belly center and the intelligence that resides there. The intensive was a lovely combination of informative powerpoint presentations, joyful Kirtan, active, therapeutic and restorative Yoga, iRest Yoga Nidra sessions, meditation and throughout the Intensive live music by the very talented and conscious Prahbu. It really was something and the feeling in the room was so very warm, safe and loving, providing the perfect container to look deeply within.
I learned many things and have chosen a few to share with you. [Read more…]
1. Sterilize all utensils, pot and storage container in a pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Make sure your container is dry
2. Start slowly and try not to boil
3. Resist the temptation to stir
4. Do not cover the pot
5. Do not abandon the cooking ghee
6. Do not under cook (or ghee will mold) and do not overcook (or ghee will burn)
7. Save the top, discard the bottom
8. Keep ghee away from sunlight
9. Refrain from ‘double dipping’ into the ghee or it can go rancid
10. Consume only what you can digest
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup walnuts
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup boiled water
2 tbsps black chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamon
1 tbsp of melted ghee
Donna Farhi shared this recipe with me. Put pitted dates in a small deep bowl. Add orange juice and boiled water. Stir and cover. Leave overnight or at least for several hours, lifting and turning the dates and liquid occasionally to soften and macerate the fruit. Now tip in the chia seeds. These absorb a considerable amount of the liquid.