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How I Got My Handstand Back

2 Sep
Handwritten Testimonial Essay by John Carmichael 27/8/2019.

How I got my handstand back

(A Testimonial by John Carmichael)

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 psychologically healthy.

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 repertoire.

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 and/or meditation.

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 .

Friday Devi Mantra

9 Aug Prema playing harmonium.

In the Yoga tradition, that I practice and teach, we chant/sing/recite many Sanskrit Mantras. These Mantras all have different meanings: Mantra for protection, Mantra for safe travelling, opening and closing Mantra for the Yoga class…..

Every Day of the week is dedicated to a different Deity. In my own practice I observe these days with specific Mantras for the Deity of the Day.

Friday is Devi day, honoring the Divine Mother.

Please click on the link below to listen to a short recording, I’ve done this morning. This sound file is unedited….. I simply recorded myself as I play the harmonium and chant the Mantra.

Jaya Jagadambda – Maria Steiner (Prema) 9/8/19

https://hathayogaipswich.com.au/2013/07/15/mantra-deity-day-of-the-week/

Prema playing harmonium.
Prema playing harmonium, Yoga Retreat 2016.

Yoga & Meditation Weekend, 16th – 18th August 2019.

8 Jul

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.

email: hathayogaipswich@gmail.com

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.

Detailed information are on the website: https://hathayogaipswich.com.au/retreat/

or contact me directly via email and phone call.

email: hathayogaipswich@gmail.com

phone or text: 0423 477 725

I also have a pdf file (6 pages) with detailed information and photos.

Thank you for your interest and I look forward to hearing from you.

Prema Maria
OM OM OM

PS: Following some more photos from last year’s Retreat, September 2018.

  • Hatha Yoga with Maria Steiner

Friday 24th February 2017

17 Feb

Time for a Friday Hatha Yoga Class and Satsang Meditation.

Coming up on Friday 24th February 2017:

At the Raceview Scout Hall, 32 Taylor Street, Eastern Heights.

5pm – 6:30pm  Hatha Yoga Class (breathing exercises, sun salutation, 12 basic postures, guided final relaxation)

6:45pm – 8:30pm Satsang (silent meditation, uplifting Sanskrit chants, an inspiring reading)

The cost is $15 or  one tick on the class pass.

You can join for both sessions to get most benefits, a good way to end the working week. Or if this is not possible for you,  just attend the Hatha Yoga class or the Satsang/Kirtan class.

In between the two sessions we have a cup of tea and something sweet.

If you know you will be coming  for sure, please let me know (message, email or in class). Otherwise it is perfectly fine to just show up and bring your friends.

Looking forward to a yogic start into the weekend. OM OM OM

Maria Prema

 

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Satsang Friday 4th November 2016

25 Oct
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!

Jacarandas in flower.

Jacarandas in flower at the Raceview Scout Hall.

 

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.

nice-aya-om

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

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.
Prema Maria

Street Art in my honour

15 Sep

A dear yoga student of mine and beautifully, gifted, talented Artist Lee FullArton did some local artwork in my honour.

The traffic light control box on Jones Road, Bellbird Park (it’s on the way from Ipswich to Springfield). If you are in the local area go have a look, it’s beautiful and fun. Adding some coulour to the traffic and roads.

I feel humbled and it also makes me feel integrated in the local community. That my yoga classes have such wonderful influence on many people.

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Traffic control box at Jones Road, Bellbird Park. On the way from Ipswich to Springfield.

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Art by Lee FullArton. Prema the Yogi.

Lee’s words: “Dedicated to my beautiful yoga teacher Prema Maria At Jones Rd Bellbird Park.” “My pleasure you inspire and guide the well being of so many people .. a tribute is fitting xx”.

 

 

Yoga during Winter

2 Jun Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, May 2016.

Even through the colder months, the hatha yoga classes will be on as normal once again.

According to the weekly schedule https://hathayogaipswich.com.au/classes-cost/

Just please remember to bring socks, jumper and if you like even a blanket for the final relaxation. It will make you feel more comfortable. Just coming back from Switzerland, I realise that there is no bad or cold weather, only wrong or not enough warm clothing. 

On the other hand, being physically active and doing any kind of exercise in the Queensland Winter is the best Season for it. Plus it helps you build your immune system and emotional well being.

While in Switzerland I went for a walk almost every day. Young and old everyone goes for bushwalks, hiking and short pleasant strolls, no matter the temperature and weather conditions. It’s a daily dose of nature’s medicine for well being.

One of my friends (a working-mother of two young children aged 4 and 6, they walk or play outside every day) told me, she read in a study: That if everyone would go for a good walk in the fresh air amongst trees, mountains or the ocean for a total of two hours per week. There would be less illnesses, physical and emotional illness.

To good health and a positive outlook on life.

Maria xx

 

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Auf dem Gurten, Bern. May 2016

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Grindelwald, May 2016

 

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Guetschwald, Luzern. May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soul Shifts

29 Apr

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Lately in our meditation session on a Tuesday morning 10:30am – 11am (after the regular yoga class), I have been reading and sharing from the wonderful book “SOUL SHIFTS” by Dr. Barbara DeAngelis.

Personally I read the book very slow, take my time to reflect on it. I read it in two ways one bookmark starting from page 1, and then every so often I open the book randomly and see what comes up for that moment/day.

The Soul Shifts Mantra:

“Today I am going to see what there is to see,

to feel what there is to feel,

and to know what there is to know.

 

SAM_6068

 

 

 

Homegrown pineapples

9 Jan


“Growing your own pineapples is patience in practice.

The result is a very rewarding treat.

See this example as a metaphor for many things in life.”

Maria Prema

 

Presently we have three pineapples growing. From the time you cut the top and put it in a pot or directly in the ground is takes about 2 – 3 years for the beautiful red pineapple flower to emerge. Then close to six months until the fruit is ripe, yellow and sweet. You can not rush it!!
Pineapples are part of the Bromeliad family.

 

Mother Nature gifted me with a pineapple for my birthday, 31.1.16.

birthday pineapple

 

 

Gratitude Jar

4 Jan

The practice of Gratitude is something I wanted to write and post a blog about it since some time. (Better late than never, while starting the New Year with good intentions and put them into practice)  🙂

Back in January 2013 I posted the following on my Facebook page:

“This idea made the rounds on Facebook last week.

Start on January 1st with an empty jar. Throughout the year write the good things that happened to you on little pieces of paper. On December 31st, open the jar and read all the amazing things that happened to you that year.

So I started my own with a hand made label and I call it “Gratitude Jar”, seeing and appreciating the beauty and abundance in life.
If you like you write a daily note, about anything that put a smile on your face that day and made you feel happy in your heart. Of course you can use a smaller jar……. “

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Half a year later my Gratitude Jar looked like this:

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Since then I still add more notes to my jar. I write about anything that brings joy to my heart, the smell of a flower, a delicious organic fruit, the many new and loyal happy people in my yoga classes. A phone call, a postcard, etc. I received.

A few years before I started the gratitude jar I wrote a gratitude list at the end of each year. I still do that and also add things to the list throughout the year. After I write my gratitude list for the previous year, I then write my intentions list for the new year.

If you prefer you keep a gratitude journal, where you write your daily or weekly notes. Anything you give thanks to.

It is a wonderful practice that brings abundance, as you start to see the beauty in your life.

It’s actually a practice that I did for a while as a teenage girl. And it really helped me a lot back then (it was after my father died),  no one told me about it, I listened to my intuition. I would write in my girly diary when: someone in the street smiled at me, I saw a nice flower on the side of the footpath, if a certain boy at school would say “hi” or “hoi” to my …… 🙂  I did not call it gratitude back then, I just noted what brought me joy that day, usually the smaller the better.

This year I do my gratitude on social media. Instagram has these wonderful hashtags #366grateful #365grateful #366daysofgratitude #366grateful2016 and more similar # or you start your own.

If you like to follow me on Instagram you find me under @mariaprema

I hope you join me this year in the practice of gratitude in some ways & the format that speaks to you. Let’s share our experiences throughout the year.

 

 

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