Workout fads come and go but yoga has outlasted them all. It has been practised for thousands of years. We reached out to Megan Troup, owner of The Nourishing Lotus in Waihi Beach, to learn more.
What is at the heart of yoga?
Yoga is a science and life-long journey of self-enquiry. It takes ongoing practice, dedication and discipline. The word yoga is taken from the Sanskrit root word yuj, meaning union. Through different practices and by assimilating the teachings into everyday life, we learn to unite the body, breath, mind, heart and spirit.
What is the current focus of yoga?
Currently there is a great focus on the physical practice of the asana (posture). Asana runs much deeper than strength and flexibility and is only one of the limbs from Patanjali’s eightfold path of yoga. Pranayama (breath control) is another one.
By following the eight limbs on the yogic pathway we can find a wider and deeper knowledge of the dimensions of life to transcend reality and find bliss.
What is the desired outcome?
Asana increases suppleness, strength and space within the physical body while at the same time cares for every organ, system and fluid. A nourishing practice builds vitality, allows prana (life force) to move freely throughout the body and opens the energy channels (Meridian lines and Nadis) freeing the body from blockages while supporting the chakras (energy wheels) to remain aligned.
Forward bends are cooling and calming to help circulate blood and prana around the body while opening the entire back body.
Twists are wonderfully cleansing, calming and warming, deeply massaging the organs to help release toxins and purify the blood.
Standing postures are warming and grounding for the mind while creating great strength and stability in the legs and spine.
Backbends are warming and often challenging as we delve back into the unknown, becoming more open hearted and courageous when opening the entire front body.
Inversions can be cooling and calming or warming and invigorating depending on one’s felt experience. As one faces fears and becomes accustomed to having their world turned upside down with the ability to move into stillness the outcome is phenomenal.
Working through the different asanas purifies the body and mind. And while developing great strength to remain still in a seated posture for meditation and pranayama.
These teachings, and many more at the heart of yoga, eventually leads to finding unity, stillness and clarity of the mind, free from conceptions, conditions, thought processes, habitual patterns, reactivity and undesired emotions. The mind is free and the heart is free to simply surrender and be present in pure awareness.
What are the retreats you are organising?
Mindfulness and self-compassion are balms for many modern day ailments and scientifically linked to better health and wellbeing. I’m really excited about a collaboration with Anna Friis who is a health psychologist and teacher of mindfulness and self-compassion.
Together we are presenting mindfulness and self-compassion weekend workshops. They will include mindfulness and self-compassion teachings, meditation and some very gentle restorative yoga,. We’ll also be providing nourishing food and unconditional support and safety all in the beautiful surroundings of Waihi Beach.
Is the retreat also for people who aren’t trained in yoga?
Absolutely. The focus of this retreat is on learning to treat yourself with kindness, particularly when life feels overwhelming or difficult. The yoga aspect will be about helping people find relaxation and refuge in the body and the breath. A wise lady said to me once that as long as you can breathe, you can do yoga.
Our hope is that at the end of the retreat, participants will have discovered new ways of relating to themselves and have learned skills for their daily lives.