Acorns and Autumn

So we are in March, the first month of Autumn here in Melbourne. Although mother nature doesn’t always check the calendar so we are experiencing some lingering warm Summer days. Despite this the signs are afoot that Autumn is on its way. One of the first signs I have noticed is the acorns have begun falling form the oak trees in the park. Most people don’t notice this type of thing so much but we have two pet bunnies who absolutely love to nibble on acorns so I am always checking in on when they’re available.

Spring and Autumn are transitional seasons, times for changing, adjusting, adapting in preparation for the more extreme Summer and Winter weather. They offer us the opportunity to take stock, check in with where we are, what we are happy with, what we would like to change.  So I’ve decided to share a Autumn meditation on todays post, hope you enjoy it.

Autumn Meditation by Belinda Blackburn

Take some time to get comfortable, sitting with whatever support you need, spine elongated, shoulders relaxed and breath flowing freely. Bring your awareness to your breath and notice how it relates to this time of year, Autumn is a time for storing energy in preparation for Winter when there is less to be found. Many animals gather food stores at this time, we are working with that same method by taking in our breath and feeling the energy flowing in with it being stored away. Stored in the hands, the feet, the arms, the legs. Feel your torso filling with prana, the energy flowing with and beyond your breath, let it rise all the way up through your neck to you face and head, Now your whole body is full of energy, imagine absorbing that energy, storing it away in every cell. So that when a time comes that you need it you can find it here, waiting for you.

As well as storing energy at this time mother nature lets go of excess demands for that energy. Knowing that there will be less available in the shorter, colder, days of winter many trees release their leaves which require a lot of maintenance and can drain them of their energy reserves. In the same way our exhalation gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we are spending our energy, where it is going and whether there are some activities or commitments which are draining our resources. Become aware of what you could let go of, release – perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. Think of that release with each exhalation, letting go of expectations and honouring where you are right now in your life and where your energy is best directed to.

Each breath helping us to take in and store energy and let go of the need to waste that energy, each breath helping us to become more efficient, more discerning about where our energy goes. Energy in the forms of physical activities, emotions and thoughts.

After some time allow yourself to gently withdraw from the practice and go into the rest of your day energised and more aware of where that energy is going.

To celebrate and explore these and other aspects of Autumn through yoga, breathwork and light discussion I am running an Autumn Workshop at Harvest Yoga on the 9th of April. We will take a leisurely three hours to practice yoga, meditation, discussion and relaxation as well as sharing a home made morning tea.

Investment only $60, $50 concession, spaces are limited, for bookings contact rick@harvestyoga.com.au

Enjoy the Autumn colours,

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

To try something new…

Spring is bursting forth around me even though technically it is still winter. I feel the spring energy stirring deep within the earth and awakening the plants, the animals and the people. Days gradually lengthen, temperatures gradually rise and moods generally lift.

In my little corner of the world our blue tongue lizard has gone for a walk – the first since winter descended and sent him into semi-hibernation. The beginnings of leaves are forming on the branches of my goji berry bush and blossoms have broken out on the cherry trees up and down our little street.

I feel much like Ben, the blue tongue lizard, at this time of year, like I’ve been just managing to get things done with the slower, cooler winter energy and now I want to jump and run and stretch out all of the stagnation that has set in. Shake off those winter blues and playfully engage with the warmer springtime energy. Burst forth like the blossoms and new leaves, sing like the birds, engage with the new beginnings all around me.

Spring is a great time to try something new, to go along to your first yoga class, or if you are already regularly practicing to attend a different type of class, explore new practices, new ways of doing familiar poses, new places to practice.  You might like to book into a yoga retreat or workshop to immerse yourself in yoga for a longer time than a class offers. The possibilities are endless.

In my teaching things are getting busier as well…we are about to begin a new 5 week block of Mums & Bubs yoga, I am busily planning for my Spring into Action workshop on September 18th at Harvest Yoga and looking forward to my Release Stress, Embrace Rest retreat at the end of September.

I hope to see you in class or at one of these upcoming events, may your Springtime energy take you to amazing new places and experiences.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

 

A Merry and Restful Break for us all…

As things begin to wind up and other things become busier and busier I am giving myself a little break from my weekly/fortnightly blog posts over the next few weeks. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear from me at all, more that my posts will be less regular, a little surprise in your inbox when they arrive randomly!

We all need to rest and restore and with the busyness of the festive season upon us and the lull and quiet break that follows we receive a perfect opportunity to do just that. Some of my favorite holiday activities are below:

1. Just hanging out at home all day with my family – baking, playing board games, gardening, creating things. Catching up on all the stuff we like to do but find hard to fit in during school terms. My kids call these days pajama days as you don’t even have to get dressed if you don’t want to.

2. Spontaneous outings, to the zoo or a bushwalk or the city or the museum, wherever takes our fancy. The freedom to just wake up in the morning and go because there is nothing else on that day.

3. Trying something new, be it a craft project, new recipe, new activity, visiting a new place.

Maybe there is something there you enjoy, or maybe you have your own ways of chilling at holiday time. Even if you have to work all through the festive season I hope you find some time to look after yourself and do what you love the most.

I’m going to need a good rest as the New Year is looking busy at Yoga to Grow, some of what is happening below and as details are confirmed on other classes and events they will be posted on the relevant pages. Of course if you have any questions you can contact me via email belinda@yogatogrow.com.au or phone 0414 702 854.

 

Kids Yoga School Holiday Workshops

Wednesdays 14th & 21st January 3-5pm

In these two hour classes we will explore a range of fun yoga practices including asana, breathwork, meditation, relaxation, free movement and group work.

Suitable for ages 5-10 years.

CASUAL $28 casual / 2nd child (sibling discount) $20. Both classes $50 / 2nd child (sibling discount) $40.
Harvest Yoga, 76 McCracken St Kensington
For further information please see my Retreats and Workshops page or Harvest Yoga
Kids Yoga classes will commence in term 1, details will be confirmed soon and will be on my Yoga Classes page as soon as they are locked in.
Prenatal Yoga Classes
I am so pleased to be teaching prenatal classes once more, they will commence for 2015 on Wednesday 14th January, 5:45pm.
More info can be found on my Yoga Classes page or Harvest Yoga
Monday Night Beginners Courses
These will also run at Harvest Yoga in 2015, dates soon to be confirmed, details will be placed on my Yoga Classes page as soon as they are locked in.
Thursday Night Yoga in Braybrook
These classes will commence as soon as our new venue is ready, every time I pass it looks a little bit better, more complete so it shouldn’t be too far away.
Celebrating Womens Wisdom Yoga Retreat

20th-22nd February

I am very much looking forward to returning to Clearview Retreat to share this new retreat theme with a small group of wonderful women!

Further details on my Retreats and Workshops page or at Clearview Retreat.

 

Wow, there’s so much coming up that I’m almost exhausted before I begin 2015! It is looking to be a great year and I look forwards to sharing everything that it brings here at Yoga Tinted Glasses.

A restful and love filled break to all of my readers.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Winding up

It is December already! I had a lovely social dinner with some of my wonderful Thursday night students last week. My beginners course at Harvest Yoga has it’s final class on Monday, the last Kids Yoga class for the year is this afternoon and there are just a couple of weeks left of my other classes.

As I teach the last classes of the year I often find myself looking back and reflecting on what has changed since the beginning. When you look back over a whole year you can really get a sense of changes taking place, much more so than when you look back over a week or a month. January seems so long ago, starting my Thursday night classes at Dance Habit, a new venue which has been fabulous for 2014 but which I am moving on from yet again for 2015.

I find myself feeling both satisfied and content with the year gone by as well as excited and motivated as I begin to plan for next year.

What will next year bring for Yoga to Grow? Here are a few things in the pipelines…

1. Thursday night yoga classes will move to a brand new venue, details confirmed as soon as they are finalised.

2. Harvest Yoga classes will continue and increase and will include beginners, prenatal, kids, toddlers, mums & bubs and open classes.

3. Celebrating Womens Wisdom retreat at Clearview on the 20th – 22nd February.

4. My own little yoga room will be completed and will be available for private lessons and meditation classes.

5. I am planning on studying Thai Yoga Massage which I am looking forward to very much.

Enjoying these last few weeks of classes, looking forward to a nice break with my family and enjoying laying the plans for a fabulous 2015 next year…

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Post retreat unwinding

IMG_1720

 

It is always a busy time for me before and after I teach a retreat. Organising myself, my families activities and transport to and from them while I’m away, my class plans, my packing beforehand and then afterwards allowing myself time to rest after the intensive teaching requirements, unpacking, catching up on what didn’t get done while I was away. All in the midst of busy life anyway of course, my regular classes, activities, renovations, housework and so on.

It is worth it all though, I love teaching retreats at Clearview for several reasons.

1. I get to focus on a particular theme and visit it through many different yogic practices, asana, pranayama, relaxation, meditation, chanting, philosophy, discussion. This uninterrupted focus over a whole weekend allows very deep understanding and exploration of the theme.

2. I get to work with a small group of students and our hosts, Jocelyn and Paul, take such great care of myself and the students that all we need to think about is yoga. Without any interruptions and distractions of cooking, cleaning or organising anything we are able to really immerse ourselves in our practice.

3. I love getting back to nature, it is so healing and invigorating. As a teacher on retreats I need to keep myself inspired and energised and my favorite way of doing this is to go for a quiet walk by myself when the opportunity arises. A short walk Friday afternoon, a longer one each morning before the first class begins and another long one during the free time on Saturday afternoon.

4. Mouna, or silence is something we practice at retreats and the results are always interesting. Though not speaking to anyone for hours at a time seems like a strange thing to do it is in fact very liberating. It allows students to focus on themselves and their needs, to let go of the distraction of obligations, small talk, interaction with others. To listen inwardly rather than externally. Often the students who are the most nervous and unsure about it at the beginning become its biggest fans by the end of the weekend.

5. A feast for the senses. The food at Clearview is delicious, home cooked, nourishing and catering to everyone, special diets included. As well as great tastes there is the opposite of silence, the sounds of the bush. Wind through trees, branches rubbing against each other, birds of all shapes and sizes making all sorts of sounds, the pounding of kangaroos hopping through the bush in the early morning light, the buzzing of bees, the rustling of grasses. The view is astounding and draws the eyes over rolling hills to distant horizons, eagles soaring in skies above as wombats and wallabies move about below. It is well worth closing your eyes to take in the beautiful smellscape, inhale deeply and take in the scent of eucalypts, tea tree, flowers and fresh air.

Hills and mountains rolling into the distance

View from Clearview retreat

I’m looking forward to returning to Clearview in February to teach my next retreat, Celebrating Women’s Wisdom. More details can be found on my Retreats and Workshops page.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Kids Yoga classes are back!

Yay! I am very excited to be announcing the return of my Kids Classes to a new venue… Harvest Yoga in Kensington.

Boy in frog poseKids yoga is full of opposites – noise and quiet, movement and stillness, activity and rest all with a sense of fun and exploration.

So what do you expect from a kids yoga class? Here is an example of a short practice we might do…

1. Squat down and curl up as tight as you can with your eyes closed. You are a tiny seed, deep under the earth. Think about what type of seed you’d like to be, a tree or a plant or a flower or something else, anything at all…

2. Now something magical is happening, you are beginning to grow! In very slow motion let yourself start to uncurl and begin to stand up. As slowly as you can, bit by bit…

3. As you start to grow up and away imagine your feet sending roots down into the earth beneath you, making a strong and stable base from which you can grow even taller.

4. When you reach your full height let your arms grow as well, they might be branches reaching wide or high, or petals blooming and opening or leaves uncurling and spreading. Let them be whatever shape feels right for your plant. Maybe your plant is still or maybe the wind is blowing and your plant is swaying side to side.

5. In a group now we might take turns to share what plant or tree we are, describing the colours, shapes and size of each one in turn.

If there are any children in your life try this practice with them, you’ll be inspired by what they come up with. If there are no children in your life feel free to have a go yourself, it is fun, grounding and a very fitting practice as Spring approaches here in Melbourne…

If you or someone you know would like to try out a kids yoga class there is a FREE TRYOUT class on Wednesday 24th September at 4pm, booking is essential as places are limited. To book your spot please contact Rick on 0431 163 130 or info@harvestyoga.com.au.

Classes will continue on Wednesdays at 4pm for two 5 week terms, 1st-29th October and 5th November-3rd December.

Cost $75 for a five week term, $17 casual classes. Generous family discounts for siblings – first child $75, second child $50 per term or first child $17, second child $12 casual. Earlybird special $5 off for term bookings paid before or at the free trial class.

Further information on the Harvest Yoga website, to book please contact Rick on 0431 163 130 or info@harvestyoga.com.au.

Girl with arms held high

 

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Yoga for the Mind coming soon to Williamstown Yoga and Meditation

While undergoing my yoga teacher training I was pleasantly surprised by the broad range of practices I was taught all under the title of yoga. Up until then my yoga classes had been a mostly physical practice with relaxation at the end. As I went through my training and expanded my own personal yoga practice to include philosophy, meditation, pranayama, yoga nidra and chanting the benefits of these practices became very clear to me.

While my body did indeed become stronger, more flexible and healthier during my training much bigger changes took place in my mind and heart. It was a journey of deep searching, healing and connecting to my inner self who had for most of my life been hiding, ignored or simply not even in my awareness.

Once I was qualified and had some teaching experience I found myself wanting to share these powerful practices with my students. There were some nerves about doing this, what if they found it all a bit “out there”? What if it wasn’t what they needed or wanted in their practice? I believed in the practices however and wanted to share the benefits they had given me so Yoga for the Mind was born.

From the very beginning in 2010 this class had a couple of dedicated students who still attend it as Meditation and Relaxation today. Over time it attracted more students and now has a wonderful and very committed group.

One of the teachers who inspired me greatly during my training and introduced me to many of the meditation and relaxation practices that I found so powerful was Fiona Hyde, principal teacher at Williamstown Yoga and Meditation. Since my training we have remained friends and often discussed the possibility of me teaching at Williamstown Yoga and Meditation but the timing has never been right for one reason or another. It is with great excitement and joy that I announce that the stars have finally aligned and Yoga for the Mind is coming soon to Williamstown Yoga and Meditation!

Classes will begin on Wednesday August 6th,  6-7:15pm, $22 casual or $190 for a ten class pass. To book your place please contact me Belinda@yogatogrow.com.au or 0414 702 854.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone you feel might be interested. Hope to see you there!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Yoga Styles

I am asked very often what style of yoga I teach. This is such a hard question to answer so I thought I would share the reasons why in this weeks post.

Some teachers train in a particular lineage of yoga which would make it easier to answer this question. However even within particular yoga styles it is important to remember that there is variation as each teacher has their own special energy which they bring to their teaching.

My training in the Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching was at the Centre for Adult Education in Melbourne. What I loved about this course was that the faculty was made up of teachers from different lineages and backgrounds, giving me the opportunity to access the wisdom and practices from all of them, which in turn meant that my own teaching was inspired by all of them.

Since completing my training I have done workshops, attended conferences and classes with many other teachers and styles of yoga, all of which affect my own constantly evolving style of yoga teaching. The other influence is my own practice, my life, the seasons and importantly my students and the energy they bring into the room.

Many teachers use the term Hatha Yoga which is pretty generic and has been translated in a few different ways, one translation is Sun and Moon yoga, which means it balances these energies within the body, another is with direction or force, as in moving towards a goal. The most common understanding of the term Hatha is a gentle style of physical yoga exercises, so it does apply to my teaching but in no way covers all of the practices I teach as it does not include meditation or relaxation or philosophy or many other aspects of my teaching style.

That is the long answer to the seemingly simple question of “What style of Yoga do you teach?”.

I usually just say, my own style, not that I am about to name it or copyright it which has happened in the yoga industry quite a bit. No one else could teach my style of yoga any more than I could teach like another yoga teacher. What matters most is that as a student, you find a teacher whose style resonates with you.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Yoga Conference Reflections…

I was lucky enough to attend Yoga Australia’s Joy in Yoga conference over the weekend. So many benefits in going to this type of event, from the many different speakers to the networking with other yoga teachers to the varied workshops with teachers who I otherwise would be unlikely to have access to.

What I love most about yoga is that there are so many styles and teachers within styles that everyone can find one to suit them. This was reflected in Lindy Burns presentation as she shared her yoga story from a students point of view. She told the unfortunately quite familiar tale of going to one yoga class, not having a great experience and not going back for years afterwards. Luckily when the stars aligned she did go back, to a different teacher in a different place and has now found the yoga that suits her.

I was lucky enough to attend a beautiful pranayama practice with Leigh Blashki, one of the extraordinary teachers I trained with, two workshops with Peter Mulholland whose approach to yoga is beautiful in its simplicity, a chanting workshop (Yum) with Dr Sherelle Shanti Connaughton, a Thai Yoga massage taster (double Yum and inspired me to maybe look at training in this modality…) and many other speakers, workshops and practices.

I caught up with friends I trained with and friends I have met at other yoga events and workshops and made a few new friends. The energy in a place with over 250 yoga teachers is quite inspiring in itself even without the wonderful content of the presentations!

Exploring joy was a wonderful theme to work with, I certainly found lots of joy myself over the weekend and hope to spread that joy through my classes out into the world.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Get to know your Chakras

I am planning for my next yoga retreat, Getting to know your Chakras which is coming up on the last weekend in February. We will be practicing asana, pranayama, chanting and satsang (discussion) as we learn and share our chakra experiences.

Before I did my teacher training I knew very little about chakras, had heard the term but had no real concept of what it meant. As a yoga teacher I now work with awareness of my chakras all of the time. I adapt my yoga practice, activity levels and everything else around balancing, conserving and directing my energy to where it is most needed. I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge and skills I have gained over the years with my students on retreat in a few weeks.

As a sneak preview here is some basic chakra information, my next few posts leading up to the retreat will be on each of the major chakras and some of their qualities.

Each of the seven main chakras is connected to different aspects of our life, systems within the physical body, emotions and personality traits in the mind as well as elements in the world around us. Just as our blood travels through veins, our prana or life force travels through nadis. Where the nadis intersect we have chakras, picture them as like roundabouts on a map of the nadis where the energy spirals and forms a vortex.

If you would like to join me or find out more about my Getting to Know your Chakras retreat you can book or enquire here.

Clearview sunrise

Looking forward to sharing some info on Mooladhara, the base chakra in my next post.

 

Love and light,

Belinda.

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