Monday, January 19, 2015


Hi there Innisfree Travellers.  Another wonderful week.

 Jules has invited you all to join the Innisfree Writers Group at the Bentinck in Woodend.  It happens in the round room at the top of the staircase, on a Monday evening at 7pm.  The Topics until the end of February are 1. Families 2. Body and Soul,  3. Journey and 4. Valentine.

This group is following a format to allow participants to improve their writing to a point where they can start entering competitions, and eventually look at being published.  Every writer's goal.  Email me at to let us know you are coming.  I will pass it along to Jules.

The yoga classes are going exceedingly well, and we are getting a great result.  The hardest thing is to press home the point that yoga is not just an exercise routine, it also helps concentration, balance, and obviously flexibility - but you don't wait until you have these before you start!  It is important to learn that you are going to feel "stretched" after yoga.  If you did fitness training, or weights then you would expect to feel something.  I don't understand why students expect to do a class without feeling a result - obviously they have never been to my classes!

The Alternative Health Centre with herbal baths, the salt room and etc is not long away.  We can't wait. Mike has it in hand, and as soon as the time is right the building will commence.

The Bentinck gardens are looking stupendous, but we are getting ready for winter, heralded of course by the green chestnuts, and the beginnings of acorns in the oak trees.  We have had a wonderful bounty and harvest of fruit - peaches, red plums, raspberries, apricots -  and especially cherry plums. The pear tree is so heavy with fruit it is hard to imagine how it will manage when the pears reach maturity, thank goodness they can ripen off the tree.  My favourite tree in the garden is the big elderberry near the yoga centre.  Every bit of the tree is useful.  The flowers can be used in champagne and cordial, the fruit can be used in cordial, wine and berry dishes, a decoction or infusion of the leaves makes a great insect control, and the wood has been used for centuries to make flutes and pipes for children.  A totally useful tree.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I have wanted to start a blog for Innisfree for some time, and it wasn't until Jules started a Writer's Group that the time appeared to be right.

Yoga and Yogic Philosophy is a core teaching at Innisfree having started at one class and escalated into so much more.  Three yoga classes, one meditation class and two philosophy classes every week.

Innisfree is the gateway to a new life for so many of our guests.  At Innisfree we help troubled people.  People who for whatever reason cannot move forwards in their lives.  Who have lost sight of the fact that every minute they live they are creating who they are.  They have forgotten to ask "What would LOVE do now".  We try to help, but we can't help if you (they) don't work alongside us to take responsibility and change.  I hope that sharing your story on this blog will help us to help others find Innisfree, and so help themselves out of the holes in the road.

Gang, I am hoping that you will get  behind me on this and send some words to me.  I won't use your name, and will edit it so that who you are is not available.
To start the process I have a wonderful short story from a student who was at Innisfree, and is now leading a viable and productive life.

At Innisfree, it is our mission to help people make a life, not a living.  We help show the way to the life they really love, so that they can do that and nothing else - there is so little time.  Living a life you hate is not a "living" that is a "dying".   

"……My pain was not so much environmental or physical, but there is no doubt that I spent most of my life spiritually bankrupt.  I had used mood or mind altering substances to fill this spiritual void for twenty years.  When the time came for me that I could no longer use drugs and live, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to yoga.  This introduction happened at the same time as my realisation that although I could no longer live with drugs, I had no idea how to live without them.  My mind and my body were both struggling to cope with the pain I was feeling.  Yoga brought me peace of mind and allowed my body to relax.  The quietness of my mind whilst practising yoga felt like a safe space, where my pain was not just berable, but almost non existent.  The description of Hatha Yoga being like a cave, giving protection, really resonates with me, and has done since I first tried yoga.  Even though today I am not tempered by the heat of tapa, I still feel that when I am regularly practising yoga, I am giving myself an extra layer of protection to help with life's ebbs and flows."