I just stayed at Mangrove Yoga Ashram for the weekend. I did what is called a ‘Farm Project’ stay where you get to stay at the Ashram, eat their beautiful vegetarian food, join in the yoga classes and enjoy the way of life in return for a bit of work on the farm. I have been there before about 6 months ago for a retreat to learn about Ayurveda and just loved it so much I needed to get back ASAP! Budget is an issue for me, but not for the farm project because you are working, it becomes very affordable. So I thought I would post a few photos of my stay. (Forgive my presentation, the blog template I have chosen for this site is a little restricted as far as presenting photos is concerned, I did think I would be mostly writing for this blog but I might have to change that :-))
We left on the Friday arvo, I got a lift with a yoga friend, Naya. It took about 45 minutes. We got there in time for the fire ceremony which was lovely, then had dinner. The food is all vegetarian, with options for vegan and it is all divine. Most dishes consist of mainly vegetables and legumes, a small amount of dairy and grains here and there. You can sit on the floor around big tables like me pictured or there are plenty of tables with chairs also. The portions are usually very generous and you always feel so satisfied and energised after eating, not lethargic and bloated like I used to feel after most meals that I used to cook.
Our dorm was the ‘Hill Dorm’ and the name does not lie. It’s up a steep hill with lots stairs in the bush – it’s a very beautiful journey, like a little bushwalk. You just don’t want to forget anything!
There are 5 beds in our dorm and for this stay 4 including me are occupied. By pure coincidence Naya and I are put in the same room so that was nice. The other two girls in our dorm were also really lovely people.
Our alarms go off at 5:00am so we can get ready for the 5:30 yoga class. Whoa it’s hard to get up – it’s freezing – almost literally. I get dressed in bed then go brush my teeth and wash my face. It’s so worth it… yoga finishes and I feel amazing, refreshed and relaxed. Then a hearty hot breakfast of porridge, stewed fruit and herbal tea and now I’m ready to start the day!
Off to start our work, a short drive up the mountain and into the sunshine we so craved. First we helped out a small fig tree plantation that needed some TLC – weeding and stuff like that. We lit a fire to burn off some of the dry shrubbery. After that we drove to another area with a little cottage and a lovely big veggie garden and prepared an area for planting a small orange tree orchard the next day. An extra long morning tea of fruit and nuts sitting on the grass in glorious sunshine and then back to the Ashram in time for lunch! So yes we worked hard, but only for a few hours. The rest of the day consisted of another yoga class, afternoon tea, chanting, dinner, shower, then I was asleep by 8:00pm! I slept well that night!
Up at 5:00am again. I think it was even colder than the morning before but I was having such a nice time I didn’t mind. Yoga, breakfast, then back to our orange orchard to plant our trees!
Planting our trees did not take too long so we had an extra extra long morning tea lying and chatting in the sun before heading back to the Ashram for lunch. After lunch we slowly and reluctantly got ready to leave. Despite enjoying myself so much I missed hubby, D-man and Miss Moo and was happy to get home. I take comfort in the fact that I know I can come back in 6 months or so for another visit. I highly recommend a little retreat if you are thinking of doing one. You won’t regret it!
Any questions, just ask – I did try to be brief, I am new at blogging and didn’t want my post to drag on with too many details. Throughout the weekend there were many things that meant a lot to me spiritually which I haven’t talked about I guess because I don’t know how to yet. For me spirituality is a major part of my journey Towards Total Health. I hope to elaborate on that in the future, after I have put many other things out there first!
Here is the link to the website of Mangrove Yoga Ashram: http://www.satyananda.net/mangrove-nsw