Our classes are relatively small with 5 – 20 persons per class.
I will review weekly, if we can keep the yoga classes going. And also discuss with those attending each class, how they feel about coming to Yoga and being out in public.
In general I will follow the guidelines and practices of the local gyms and other fitness/yoga classes on offer in Ipswich. Especially the PCYC Ipswich. As long as the classes run at the PCYC and I teach the weekly Yoga class on Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8pm at the PCYC Ipswich. We will keep all the Yoga classes in the Scout Halls in Eastern Heights and Booval going as well.
Of course should I feel unwell, I will cancel immediately !!
Please follow the daily Health and Hygiene guidelines & updates by the health professionals and experts.
We are all in this together. Yoga helps reduce stress and keeps us calm.
When I was a skinny kid I, like many other youths, used
to love doing cartwheels and handstand all over the house and out in the back
yard. I found doing them gave me a feeling of exhilaration. Fast forward some
40 years and I now weigh in at 97 kilograms. I gave up smoking seven years ago
and took up yoga three years ago under the guidance of Maria Steiner (Prema) at
Hatha Yoga Ipswich.
One of the first things Maria told me was not to compare
myself to others as I struggled to do the Asanas and found meditation difficult
to say the least. Maria delights in helping people achieve their goals and is
hearty in her approbation. She was excited when I managed to do the full wheel
pose, which I hadn’t done since attending the Y.M.C.A. where it was called a
bridge. It dawned on me that I could improve with effort and that many new
poses were attainable. I do yoga to help me become physically, emotionally and
I was given positive reinforcement for each new Asana I
did. Maria is always looking to promote students to do their best and take on
new challenges. She uses humour to keep the class cheerful and optimistic
whilst remaining on the task at hand. I am slowly learning to meditate to
create a calm and resilient disposition. I have also found that my blood
pressure, since commencing yoga, has come down from high to high/normal. My
G.P. is impressed.
One day, a few weeks ago, Maria suggested that I try a
handstand against the wall. I think I am too old and too heavy was my response.
Maria advised me that age and weight are simply numbers and that if I had done
a handstand in the past perhaps, like the wheel, I could do it again. So I
tried. I placed my hands about 15 cm from the wall and positioned my feet as if
ready to run. Kick up two three, fall back two three. Kick up two three, fall
back two three. Kick up two three, fall back two three. Fail.
I then turned my back to the wall and slowly inched up
with my feet until my weight was almost fully on my arms and hands. I could
only step half way up the wall. Before I go on, let’s look at the health
benefits of doing a handstand. According to Google; “ As with all inversions, you get a sense of immediate clarity in your
mind when you bring yourself upside down, delivering fresh, oxygenated blood to
the brain and alleviating stress, anxiety and depression.”
These results were definitely worth striving for, especially as I am inclined to anxiety and depression. So I persisted. A week passed and at the next class I tried again, first with my back to the wall and then facing. Kick up two three, fall back two three. Kick up two three, fall back two three. Kick up two three and then, by gosh, my feet found the wall. I pointed my toes and straightened my posture. I was still heavy, but I was upside down and feeling fine. My body had remembered all those handstands of my youth.
I will mention here that it is important to warm up and
stretch before attempting a handstand, especially by doing the dolphin. As with
a headstand one should follow the Asana with child’s pose to avoid dizziness.
Maria said, good work John and my satisfaction was
immense. That is how I got my handstand back. Now I practice the handstand
twice at classes each week and nearly every day at home. It is a joy to be
coordinated, flexible, stable and strong. Now I have a new Asana in my
Our bodies were designed to move and exercise and yes, go
upside down. Good health makes one feel youthful and more able to cope with
stress and various life challenges. Everyone seeks praise and positive
reinforcement. Doing yoga with a competent instructor like Maria is a good way
to inoculate oneself against these stresses and strains.
Our bodies strive to be healthy and yoga, including
meditation is a good way to ward off and avoid toxic, unhealthy habits. With
every handstand I do I feel stronger and more balanced. I have also regained
that feeling of exhilaration I felt as a skinny kid. It is a wonderful way to
be in the moment and focus the mind.
I hope my story inspires you to do something healthy,
that you haven’t done for years. Or even, if you have not already, take up yoga
Namaste. John Carmichael 27/8/2019.
Following are Photos taken in the Yoga Class on Tuesday 27/8/19. John Carmichael in Handstand and Wheel.
Handwritten Testimonial Essay by John Carmichael:
Thank You very much John for your heartfelt feedback, and allowing me to share your story. May it inspire many others on their life- and yoga path. Namaste, Maria Prema .
Only a few more weeks until our Yoga & Meditation Retreat in Coolum Beach, on the Sunshine Coast, at the Luther Heights Youth Camp.
We still have spaces available in our small, focused group. If you feel inspired and called to immerse yourself into a weekend of traditional Hatha Yoga and Meditation, don’t hesitate to contact me for detailed information and to book.
phone or text: 0423 477 725
Yoga & Meditation Weekend Retreat Friday 16th – Sunday 18th of August 2019 at Luther Heights Youth Camp, in Coolum Beach, on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Experience, learn & practice traditional Hatha – Yoga, Meditation, Rituals and Kirtan (Mantra chanting).
Simple, basic, clean accommodation and amenities.
Delicious, vegetarian meals, that might inspire to try new recipes at home.
Spectacular ocean views, observing the sunrise.
Walks along the beach, or buswalk at Mount Coolum. If we are lucky we spot some migrating whales in the distance.
Release – Relax – Recharge.
Letting go of the Winter blues, to be ready for Spring.
The topic of the weekend retreat is based on the five points of Yoga, as taught by Swami Vishnu-Devananda:
1) Proper Exercise (Asana) Proper exercise should be pleasant to the practitioner while beneficial to the body, mind and spiritual life.
2) Proper Breathing (Pranayama) Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical. This increases vitality and mental clarity.
3)Proper Relaxation (Savasana) By relaxing deeply all the muscles the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate his/her nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace.
4)Proper Diet (Vegetarian) A lacto-vegetarian diet. This is an integral part of the Yogic lifestyle.
5) Positive Thinking and Meditation(Dhyana) Here is the most important point of all, we become what we think. A positive outlook on life can be developed by learning and practicing the teachings of the philosophy of Vedanta. The mind will be brought under perfect control by regular practice of meditation.
During the weekend we practice these five points of yoga.
The retreat is suitable for beginners to learn about the basics of yoga and for more advanced yoga students to deepen their practice.
The cost for the weekend is $420.- Included in this price are the complete yoga program, accommodation (Please bring your own linen) and vegetarian meals. A non-refundable deposit of $120 .- is required to reserve your space. The final payment is due one week before the Retreat.
So far this year, about once a week someone or two came back to a yoga class, who hasn’t been in class for a while/years. It’s interesting; often when people miss for a long period, they are almost embarrassed to come back to a yoga class. There is no need to be embarrassed to return to the yoga class after a long absence. As I hear this excuse a lot, if you wan’t to come back to class come back, no questions asked.
The next excuse I hear from people not coming to a yoga class is: “I’m not flexible”. Well that’s the purpose of yoga to become flexible and allow movement to your own ability. Improve and moving to your own level.
We will return to the same venue as last year, Luther Heights Youth Camp in Coolum Beach. The accommodation is very simple, bunk beds, dorm style. But since we occupy only a third or quarter of the beds available, we can spread out nicely. There are separated niches to share with your friends & family. You need to bring your own linen.
Toilets, showers are basic & clean.
The vegetarian meals are delicious, and a good variety.
Even good coffee (a luxury, not following traditional yoga ashram rules).
So rather than a luxury yoga Retreat, this is more a traditional Yoga & Meditation Camp, as they used to be, when Yoga first arrived in the West. Or more like a Yoga Ashram in India, where the focus is on the practice of yoga, rather than a luxury bed & spa. (which is very nice, but has it’s price).
This allows me, to keep the price below $450
The cost the for whole weekend is $420 (including the yoga program, accommodation and meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner).
We are surrounded by beautiful, peaceful nature, trees and grounds. Views over the ocean and towards Mount Coolum.
Spectacular sunrise, to start the day with Sun Salutations and Meditation.
Short walk to the beach and Point Arkwright lookout.
A good location and opportunity to immerse into the practice of Yoga. Dust of the winter blues, getting ready for Spring.
My friend Amrita Kamala will mostly likely join us again, to play the harmonium.
As a new activity this year, we might have a camp fire on Saturday evening. The Camp has the facility for this, but of course this will be weather permitting only. If no fire restrictions.
For the Retreat Weekend to go ahead, I need a minimum of 15 -18 bookings.
Please let me know by 31 March 2019, if you are seriously interested to attend the Yoga & Meditation weekend.
As by then I can cancel the venue without any extra charges, and of course I would refund your deposit as well. Fingers crossed, that will not be the case.
Please contact me for any questions and bookings. I can also send you a detailed pdf file by email , or you find all the important details by following this link:
How I recently experienced the power of proper breathing.
A couple weeks ago I had a root canal treatment. It wasn’t my first one ever. But for this one, I had to go to an Endodontist, a specialist for those kind of procedures. I spare you of the details.
The procedure took about two hours. I couldn’t do much, lying there with my mouth open, breathing through the nose.
And that’s exactly what I’ve done. I had my hands on my belly, focusing on deep abdominal breathing, taking the attention and focus away from my face. While I visualised healing light all around me, specially on my tooth, as well as for the Endodontist and Assistant. They did the hard work, I was just lying there.
Now in general I very seldom meditate for longer than 15 minutes. But I had no other choice, no place to go – nothing to do. I tried to detach from my body and observe myself from the outside. Forgetting time and space.
Of course I felt dizzy and was numb on one side of my face, once the procedure was finished. Instead of going home or trying to drink, let alone eat anything. I went straight to the movies. Probably the best I could do at the moment, and I can highly recommend it. I watched “A Star is born”. It made me forget my tooth, I was distracted in a dark room. While the sensation in my face and mouth came back slowly. Afterwards I drank a green smoothie with a straw and went home on the train.
In the evening I was teaching a yoga class, without bending forward or moving my head too much.
At night before going to sleep I took two pain-killers, just in case it would help me from waking up through the night with pain. Plus I did not need to be a hero, as I almost never take any painkillers.
The next morning I had the day off. I could feel the pain and swelling ease by the hour. I was thinking more about the movie I saw, listening to the Soundtrack of “A Star is born”, than my tooth.
I give credit to my almost pain-free experience and quick healing to the BREATH, proper deep abdominal yoga breathing, meditation of detaching from the body.
Everyone in my yoga classes the following week, had to listen to my story. As I was practising and experiencing in every day life, what I preach.
Thank you for reading my story !! Prema Maria
PS: In addition to the breathing exercise, I would recommend to go straight to a movie theatre after a root canal treatment or similar.
A few weeks ago, in one of the yoga classes, I talked about daily healthy habits. We narrowed it down to three. Here a short summary for everyone:
Drink plenty of water 2 – 3 litres per day.
Stretch and move daily. This can be yoga, walking, swimming, running, cycling, fitness class, dancing, a few rounds of Sun Salutations. etc. Any kind of movement and stretching you like and you will do. It does not have to be long, 15 minutes daily is good.
Breathing exercises. Focusing on deep abdominal breathing, taking time out throughout the day to make time for some conscious breathing. This can even lead to a short meditation.
Long before the invention of cars, planes, telephones, computers, social media, freeways and other modern triggers of stress, the Rishis (sages or seers) and Yogis of yore devised very powerful techniques of deep relaxation. As a matter of fact, many modern stress-management and relaxation methods borrow heavily from this tradition. By relaxing deeply all the muscles the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate his/her nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace.
When the body and the mind are constantly overworked, their natural efficiency to perform work diminishes. Modern social life, food, work and even the so-called entertainment, make it difficult for modern people to relax. Many have even forgotten that rest and relaxation are nature’s way of recharging. Even while trying to rest, the average person expends a lot of physical and mental energy through tension. Much of the body’s energy is wasted uselessly.
More of our energy is spent in keeping the muscles in continual readiness for work than in the actual useful work done. In order to regulate and balance the work of the body and mind, it is best to learn to economize the energy produced by our body. This may be done by learning to relax.
It may be remembered that in the course of one day, our body usually produce all the substances and energy necessary for the next day. But it often happens that all these substances and energy may be consumed within a few minutes by bad moods, anger, injury or intense irritation. The process of eruption and repression of violent emotions often grows into a regular habit. The result is disastrous, not only for the body, but also for the mind.
During complete relaxation, there is practically no energy or “Prana” being consumed, although a little is keeping the body in normal condition while the remaining portion is being stored and conserved.
In order to achieve perfect relaxation, three methods are used by yogis: “Physical”, “Mental”, and “Spiritual” relaxation. Relaxation is not complete until the person reaches that stage of spiritual relaxation.
1 – PHYSICAL RELAXATION
We know that every action is the result of thought. Thoughts take form in action, the body reaching to the thought. Just as the mind may send a message to the muscles ordering them to contract, the mind may also send another message to bring the relaxation to the tired muscles.
Physical relaxation first begins with the toes and then moves upward. The autosuggestion passes through the muscles and reaches the eyes and ears at the top. Then, slowly, messages are sent to the kidneys, liver and the other internal organs. This relaxation position is known as Savasana, or the Corpse Pose.
2 – MENTAL RELAXATION
When experiencing mental tension, it is advisable to breathe slowly and rhythmically for a few minutes. Soon the mind will become calm. You may experience a kind of floating sensation.
3 – SPIRITUAL RELAXATION
However one may try to relax the mind, all tensions and worries cannot be completely removed until one reaches spiritual relaxation.
As long as a person identifies with the body and the mind, there will be worries, sorrows, anxieties, fear and anger. These emotions, in turn bring tension. Yogis know that unless a person can withdraw from the body/mind idea and separate himself from the ego-consciousness, there is no way of obtaining complete relaxation.
The yogi identifies himself with the all pervading, all-powerful, all-peaceful and joyful self, or pure consciousness within. He knows that the source of all power, knowledge, peace and strength is in the self, not in the body. We tune to this by asserting the real nature, that is “I am that pure consciousness or self”. This identification with the self completes the process of relaxation.
Relaxation lying on the abdomen.
“The practice of relaxing the muscles of the body will bring rest to the body and to the mind also. The tension of the muscles will be relieved. People who know the science of relaxation do not waste any energy. They can meditate well. Take a few deep breaths and then lie down flat on your back as in Savasana. Roll on to one side and then relax as thoroughly as you can do. Do not strain the muscles. Roll on the other side and relax. This is naturally done by all during sleep. There are various exercises in relaxation, for the particular muscles of a particular part of the body. You can relax the head, the shoulders, the arms, forearms, wrist, etc. Yogins know the science of relaxation thoroughly. When you practise these various relaxation exercises, you must have the mental picture of calmness and strength.”
Next week on Friday 4th November 2016 we have a Friday hatha yoga class and Satsang.
In a Satsang class we begin with silent meditation, then Kirtan Mantra chanting and a lecture on different yoga topics and philosophy.
It is a stress-releasing way to start the weekend, letting go of the week. Do something good for your soul, even if you feel tired at the end of the week. You will feel a big difference come Saturday morning!
Where: Raceview Scout Hall, 32 Taylor Street, Eastern Heights
What: Hatha Yoga Class (breathing exercises, sun salutation, 12 basic postures)
Time: 5pm – 6:30pm
What: Satsang (silent meditation, uplifting Sanskrit chants, an inspiring reading)
Time: 6:45pm – 8:30pm
Cost: $15.00 or class pass (no first free trial class on this day).
The lecture for this month will be on the Mantra. The meaning of OM, why we meditate on OM, the benefits of chanting Mantras.
You are most welcome to join for just one of the classes. If you like an extra exercise session you come for 5pm.
If you like to learn/practice meditation and get deeper into the yoga philosophy or if you like the Sanskrit Chants (Kirtan) please come to the hall for 6:30pm.
In between the two sessions we have a cup of (herbal) tea and something sweet. I made a raw vegan chocolate cake, it’s setting in the freezer.
raw chocolate cake, vegan, gluten-free
You get most benefits if you join for the whole program from 5pm onward. But if this does not suit you, you are most welcome to come only for the yoga class or meditation/Kirtan (Satsang) only.
Looking forward to seeing you soon. Please contact me if you have any questions.