I’ve arrived for my first Ayurvedic treatment at Maitreyi Vedic Village in South India. I walk into the treatment room to find three people there. They all watch me intently as I remove my dressing gown. “Underwear off, madam.” One of the three, a small Tamil girl of about eighteen, brings something to cover my modesty – a thin piece of cotton held on with an even thinner piece of cotton. It feels a bit like wearing a nappy. The second person, a slightly taller girl of about the same age, with tiny, nimble hands, sits me on a stool where she proceeds to rub oil vigorously into my scalp. It smells very sweet as she massages my head, down my neck and across my upper back. Suddenly, the massage stops and I'm asked to get up off my stool and sit on the edge of a very large wooden massage table while the two girls stand in front of me and chant a prayer in Sanskrit. I’m now ready for my treatment.Read More
I never intended to teach yoga to teens with eating disorders. Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t know much about either teenagers or eating disorders, but my limited experience had taught me that both could be challenging.
But then I volunteered as the training co-ordinator with A Sound Life, a charity that brings yoga to people in hospitals and care facilities. One of the first facilities we visited was Westmead Children’s Hospital where psychologists in the Adolescent Mental Health Unit were keen to add yoga to their program for kids with eating disorders.
Having seen recent studies that demonstrate the benefits ofyoga for people with eating disorders, the lead psychologists wanted to explore how it could be integrated into their pioneering Intensive Family and Adolescent Eating Disorder Day Program (IFAED) program.
This morning I walked into the cancer support facility at a large Sydney hospital. The women in the room were slightly nervous. Many of them hadn’t done yoga before and, given that yoga is often presented as a form of exercise for young, bendy people, they weren’t sure if they were going to be able to keep up. But, nevertheless, they’d turned up in the hope that yoga had something to offer them as they recovered from cancer.Read More
Monkeys are great at climbing trees. Their strong, flexible bodies are perfect for racing up and down the branches where they find food, shelter and companionship. From high up in the tree-tops the monkeys look down on the elephant.
The elephant is possessed of great strength and calm. Her sensitive, flexible trunk allows her to perform tasks of amazing dexterity. She is smart, loyal and looks after the other members of her community. But she's hopeless at climbing trees.
Naturally the monkeys place a high value on tree climbing – it offers so many benefits and it feels fantastic. Everybody should do it! Some of them look down on elephant and simply ignore her – she looks all wrong and will never be any good at climbing trees.