Rejuvenating Yoga Retreat in Springbrook
We’ve just emerged from a long weekend here in NSW, thanks to the Queen’s Birthday. Last Thursday I flew to the Gold Coast then hired a car and drove up to Springbrook, about 45 minute drive from the airport.
This was my second visit to the area. Last time I camped with my husband in Lamington National Park around 7 years ago.
An absolutely stunning place, so ancient and one of our last remnants of Gondwana land – and a World Heritage site since 1994.
The Gondwana rainforests covered much of Australia many millennia ago when Australia was joined to Antarctica. Fossils of the Antarctic Beech trees, alive and well in Springbrook, have been found beneath the ice cap in that frozen land.
You can sense how ancient this place is just from walking amongst the huge trees in the thick forest. One even is inspired to hug one of these giant trees, almost as though the energy from the earth will come through to you from hugging it!
Last year I won first prize at Australia’s very first Yoga Ball, held at the Sofitel in Darling Harbour. Jo Doyle from Soulfusion yoga organised this wonderful event to raise funds for victims of domestic violence. There were many prizes to be won. I bought 4 tickets and had that ‘lucky feeling’, even saying to my colleague that ‘this is the winning ticket’ – which is was!
Time comes round quickly…and I found myself at a wonderful yoga retreat organised by Craig Smith from Yoga & Meditation Brisbane. Craig is a yoga therapist and is longstanding Viniyoga lineage. He runs three retreats with different themes/focus in Springbrook each year. He also runs atleast one yoga retreat in Bali and this year another one in Greece. This retreat had around 30 people in attendance, some of who come every year or more than once a year.
The focus of the retreat was self-change. There was daily meditation and two yoga classes – invigorating yoga or gentle, rejuvenating yoga. These sessions were followed by a wonderful vegetarian breakfast and then a workshop on tools for self-change or you could choose a zenthai shiatsu massage instead!
I could not resist a 90 minute zenthai shiatsu treatment with the wonderful Lysanne de Graaf. Heavenly!! You lay on a large flat mat like a flat futon. Lysanne has implemented luxurious heating into the mat like an electric blanket, and keeps you warm at all times with a blanket. It is a mixture of thai massage, zen shiatsu and something else like none other. Deeply relaxing and balancing both sides of the body.
Following this divine experience, I arrived just in time for a 45 minute Yoga Nidra. Laying in savasana, lavender eye pillow, bolster under knees, flat pillow for neck and a heavy, cosy blanket – true deep relaxation ensued!
Lunch followed afterwards – beautiful vegetarian fare that must have taken the kitchen hours to prepare with all the chopping, washing, slicing, dicing, spices and so on to make each dish wonderfully delicious and nutritious. Interesting chats during lunch – I got to pick the brains of Lysanne who is also a yoga therapist as well as zenthai shiatsu practitioner. Next minute after lunch I’m laying on the floor of the lunchroom with Lysanne giving me yoga therapy moves specifically for me! Brilliant! She has also shared with me some of the top Yoga Therapist’s details who are based in Sydney. These yoga therapists are a rare breed in Australia as Dr Abilash Anand from India (Western medicine doctor an yoga therapist) has only run three streams in Australia. He is now busy in Canada and France.
Next stop – 3 hour bush walk! Purlington Brook Falls – words can’t describe the beauty of this ancient rainforest. I’ll share some photos.
In the late afternoon was a yoga therapy session on Back care and neck care…..dinner then yoga and meditation or if you chose, zenthai massage or remedial massage.
I was very lucky to be staying at a property called the Pinnacle on Lyrebird which took me 15 minutes each day to walk to the retreat. Most people stayed onsite at the Theosophical society, however as I came to the Gold Coast a little earlier (son and husband in tow), we opted for an air b’n b. Remarkable house, well provisioned and so cosy. The best part was the two person spa that the three of us fit in nicely, overlooking gondwana rainforest.
The final day was meditation and rejuvenating yoga, gentle yoga or invigorating yoga and meditation…or free activities. I chose another bushwalk – this time to the glow worm caves at Natural Bridge, Springbrook.
Easily could have stayed another week up there! Definitely looking forward to returning hopefully not in the too distant future!
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