Tag Archives: ayurveda

The Power of Sankalpa – best wishes for 2019

The Christmas / New year period can be a fairly up and down time and I am very thankful for my Yoga practices. In addition to  some very simple asana, abdominal breathing, mooladha bandha, sankalpa and the practice of witnessing all help to negotiate and smooth out the ride as buttons get pushed and old stories play out.

As I do my practice I am constantly reminded that Yoga is an amazing, very practical life tool, but that it doesn’t work in the bottle. Those of you from our hometown of Newcastle may have known or know of Jack, the former owner of Natural Tucker in Cooks Hill. I picked up a bottle on a shelf one day and asked Jack, “does this work?” He dryly replied, “not in the bottle”. I have never forgotten that. The take home message being that you actually have to do something to experience its benefits.

Buying something and saying “I am going to do this” can be easy, but it’s the doing that we often find hard. How many times have you experienced real benefit from something you have been doing and then wake up one day to find it has disappeared, and not long after so has the benefit. This often happens just at the time you need it most, when life gets too busy.  One Yoga practice that resonates with the New Year resolution tradition is Sankalpa, having a positive intention or resolve.  Your Sankalpa helps to keep you connected with what is important to you, and it is said that while many things in life may fail you, your Sankalpa never will.

As the New Year begins this is a little gift to help you develop or fine tune your 2019 Sankalpa.

Our intention for 2019 is to continue to share the wisdom of Ayurveda & Yoga in a way that inspires and empowers you to make good life choices. It’s the little things in life that make the most difference and our retreats enable you to pause your busy life for a weekend, or a week, or even 3 weeks, to reflect on how you want to live and reconnect with your inner wisdom and power to heal.

We have 6 retreats for you to choose from with a variety of themes, venues and length, both in Australia and overseas. Details and registrations here.

Our heartfelt wishes for a year filled with light and love.

Coralie & Mary


Ashram life and what comes after…

It was suggested to me yesterday that an ashram is not a home…it is the place you prepare for the next part of your journey. I had just told her that I had decide it was time to leave Mangrove and the words made perfect sense. I have tried to think about the ashram as home but it never quite felt like that. It felt more like school, in that I was constantly learning on so many levels.

Someone asked me last night what I had learned and it’s been good to give that some thought.   Ashram life has been a great setting for seeing my own ‘stuff’, what yoga calls our samskaras, deep-seated beliefs and patterns of behaviour that are like imprints on the soul. Living and working 24/7 in close community with people with a deliberate intention to learn and grow spiritually reveals the good, the bad and the ugly in all of us…and that’s good because you do have to see it to be able to do something with it.

Ashram life is like a classroom that reveals these beliefs and behaviours clearly and provides the teachings and support to choose which ones I want to keep and which ones I don’t. That said, our beliefs and behaviours tend to be hard wired  and the rewiring process is not easy which is where ashram life comes in.  The structure, discipline and being thrown into situations that trigger your ‘stuff’, all help with the rewiring.

The triggers for me were things like being asked to teach a yoga class in 5 mins, when as a new teacher I would painstakingly prepare all my classes the night before. Or finding myself cooking a meal for 120 people on my 2nd cook shift having only ever cooked for 20 people before…and the list goes on and on and on. Over time I have learned that if I allow whatever is happening, before I know it I am  on the other side, usually still in one piece, going “wow, I did it!” Or if I stuffed up nobody really cared, it didn’t define me in their eyes.

So, standing now on the other side of the last 2 ½ years I can say that I have learned to worry less about ‘getting things right’, what others will think and whether I am ‘good enough’…all my little Achilles’ heels. I have a stronger sense of being good enough and if something doesn’t go perfectly the world as I know it probably won’t collapse in a heap.

So that’s a little glimpse of my take on ashram life and I am completely and totally grateful for the gift it has been.

Now what’s next?

Like most things in my life the decision to begin the next chapter is based on trust and faith. Although I am clear that it is time to move on, I am not quite sure what that looks like just yet. At one time I might have said I was trusting in the universe but a dear friend reminded me recently that I am the universe so I guess it’s an act of trust in myself.

So, maybe this is the gift of my ashram stay, the opportunity to dig deep to find myself and grow in trust and love to allow this unique expression of the universe called me.

One thing I do know is that Coralie and I are taking 2WiseWomen to Bali on the 28 April to once again share the deep wisdom and practical tools of Yoga and Ayurveda. Our intention for this 7 days & nights is to uplift, inspire and empower our beautiful participants to live more consciously.

In a way this brings me full circle. The programme and the beautiful setting of Narasoma retreat centre is our way of creating an ashram like experience for you. A space to pause, reflect and reconnect for the next stage of your life journey.


What creates your life…the circumstances or your dreams?

Are you where you want to be?
Are you doing what you want to be doing?

These are good questions to stop and ask ourselves occasionally.

I walk around the Ashram these days with an incredible sense of gratitude because I am exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing. That doesn’t mean life is ‘perfect’. There is still the inevitable rollercoaster of ups and downs, however the basic knowing that where I am and what I am doing is right for me at this time certainly smooths the ride.

I did a course last year with the beautiful Saraswati Calder called Dream Building. In the first week we were told that in every moment our thoughts, feelings and actions create our life. The choice lies in whether the life we create is dictated by the circumstances in which we find ourselves or the dreams we hold for ourselves.

11127883_1021184917909853_4512164234478468385_nA life that is created by circumstances is usually a reactionary life, a life in which we generally feel out of control and unsatisfied. If we stop and ask ourselves however, what is it that I want, how do I want to express myself in this amazing gift of a human life, we open ourselves up to the possibility of moving outside the dictates of those circumstances. These questions create a space in our life to explore exactly what it is we want.

A little word of warning however, the answers may be confronting. We may have to acknowledge that what we want is not what we are doing. Initially that can be quite unsettling, however, knowing what we don’t want, is often a helpful first step in becoming clear on what we do want.

Another thing to be aware of is the tendency to limit our dreams to what we think is possible, because we think we have to know HOW to make it happen. Wrong! When it comes to creating our life we don’t have to know ‘how’, we just need to know what and why.

If we know what and why, Universal energy takes care of the ‘how’. I can hear you say “sure sure…but!” Hopefully the following analogy, another wonderful gift from Saraswati’s Dream Builder course, will help get past the blocks that just popped up. I share this whenever I can simply because I have experienced it to be true.

If we want to build a new house we image and dream about what we want in our new house. We get excited because a new house is something to be excited about. Then we find a builder and tell him what we want. We find a builder because even though we know what we want in our new house we don’t actually know how to build it. The builder does because that’s his job.

Our job is to tell him what we want and then be an active participant in the process. The builder will come back with questions, some things will need to be clarified, and others refined. Sometimes the builder will say that something can’t happen, sometimes he will suggest something new that will work even better. It’s our new house so we are completely engaged in the process, watching, listening, learning and responding as we need to. With the right builder our new home turns out even better than we originally dreamed.

So, when we are creating our life the Universe is the builder. The first step is to acknowledge that we want to stop letting circumstances dictate our life, that we want something more. Then we dream and create a vision of the life we want. If the dream includes things that we don’t know how to do or get, and if it is a worthy dream it will, we trust the ‘builder’ to have the answers. It’s not that they are not possible, we just don’t know how to do them or make them happen, so we think it’s not possible. The Universal builder however is guiding and supporting us. It has the energy that created life at its disposal, so really, anything is possible. That’s why when creating a dream it’s a good idea to finish with…”this or something better“. The Universe may have ideas that are simply outside the realms of our imagination.

So when you ask yourself the questions, where do I want to be, what do I want to be doing, how do I want to be feeling…don’t be afraid to answer those questions truthfully, this is meant to be a soul searching exercise. It’s not something you ask once or write down once. This is about your life, every aspect of it: where do I want to be; what relationships do I want; how do I want to be in those relationships; where do I want to be living; how do I want to express myself in the world; how do I want my health to be; and what do I want materially. Don’t be afraid to ask for abundance, a spiritual life can be filled with abundance, using that abundance for the good of everyone.

How do you want to live your life? Where are you? What are you doing?

The life I am living today hasn’t just happened, it’s been a focused process of getting to know myself, learning what brings me joy, understanding my gifts and wanting to offer them to the world.

Over 10 years ago when I began to practice Ayurveda, I was excited and there was a deep desire to share this amazing knowledge with people, to create an Ayurveda Community. I was the only practitioner in Newcastle for over 6 years so it was a lonely time from that perspective. Slowly over years l built up a database of over 600 people, saw a few hundred clients, ran workshops, courses and retreats and started an Ayurveda Sangha (Sangha means community).

I had great plans for the Sangha but it never really took off in the way I wanted. I envisaged a room full of people and it never even came close to that. There was however, a small core group of people, who kept coming back and every month there would be someone new. I nearly let it go a few times because it wasn’t ‘working’, but part of me knew that was my ego talking, and so I kept going. I kept going because it was part of my dream.

Now I find myself living at Mangrove Yoga Ashram standing in the doorway of much bigger version of my dream than I ever imagined. The Ashram is working with me to explore the possibility of developing a formal qualification in Ayurveda, I am providing regular information sessions for visitors, volunteers & residents, setting up a little treatment space, running weekend Ayurveda retreats, surrounded by people saying more please. Just this morning a visitor asked me if I would be interested in running an outside course for them and in 3 weeks Coralie and I return to Bali for our next 2WiseWomen retreat.

I am literally living my dream. 10 years ago was this what I envisaged? No! 5 years ago? No!Looking back I can see that a myriad of circumstances have supported and guided me to this point, however I can’t say exactly HOW I got here…I just did.

That’s the Universal builder at work.

That is why it is important not to get caught up in limiting your dream based on what you think you can or can’t do. You just never know where it is going to take you, and mine is certainly acting out in a much bigger way than I would have ever thought possible.

So let yourself dream and dream big. Then give yourself permission to follow that dream regardless of the circumstances. Anyone who has achieved great things in their life did not let the circumstances decide what they would do. They did it in spite of the circumstances. Ghandi did. Nelson Mandela did. Who are we to limit resized for MCwhat we have to offer the world.

Happy dreaming.

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