Green and Serene Yoga Holidays

Holidays are a sacred and special time of the year.  Whether it’s a family holiday, an adventure with friends, a couples trip or a solo explore, holidays are one thing that we always look forward to.  They can be relaxing or exhilarating, inward looking or eye opening, they can be fraught with arguments and disagreements or saturated with calm, peace and serenity.  Whichever way our holidays pan out there is something in the ritual of taking a time-out from our usual lives that should be honoured and revered.

For me, it was a yoga holiday in Morocco that caused a tiny spark of change, setting alight to my life, that grew bigger as I fed it more kindling in 2016 until 14 months on from that holiday my life had irrevocably changed.  What was so different about this holiday than any other I’d taken before?  Why did it make such a change to me?

The answer lies with balance and is what I emphasise through my own yoga practice and business.  This yoga holiday was different to ‘retreats’ that I’d been to before, here coffee was served with breakfast, people talked and laughed without restraint, after yoga and food we were free to spend the day exploring eating delicious Moroccan tagines, lying around at the beach, or going surfing, before reconvening for another relaxing yin yoga class and evening meal (with dessert!).

There was something about making yoga and meditation a part of everyday life and getting to know the yoga teachers and cook personally that inspired me more than any other yoga class or retreat I’d been to.  There’s a popular idea of ‘yoga retreats’ as places where people dress all in white and either walk around chanting, laden with prayer bowls and incense or lie around soaking up prana and talking about the dangers of tofu.  This wasn’t one of those.

This was a space where ‘normal’, busy, stressed people could come and take a time-out, assimilating yoga, meditation and healthy eating into their lives without any extreme measures.  It ultimately set the wheels in motion that saw me move to New Zealand, become a yoga teacher and open my own yoga holiday business. 

Green & Serene Yoga Holidays is a new yoga holiday company on Waiheke Island that aims to create the space for our customers to experience what I experienced in Morocco: it’s more than just recharging and relaxing, it’s about inspiration and fulfilment.

Please visit for more information or email

Green & Serene Yoga Holidays lives somewhere in the middle ground between a holiday and a retreat, with a focus on balance and integration, helping to foster yoga, mindfulness and peace as part of your everyday world.  We’re completely customisable and can cater for lone travellers, couples, groups between 3 and 10 and families of all age ranges. 

You can choose whether you’d like to book out the accommodation on its own, have delicious breakfasts and morning yoga included, or go for the full relaxed hosted experience leaving you with all the time in the world to go to the beach, explore the island’s bush tracks or visit Waiheke’s famous vineyards.

Reset, recharge and relax the way you want to on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

Please visit for more information or email

A Year of Yoga

Neal GhoshalLast year I taught a lot of Yoga! So much so that by November I was rather tired, exhausted even. I found that I was way out of balance, working late to keep up with the workload, waking up early when our daughter Tula wakes up. The sleep deprivation was certainly not helping re-gain my vitality.

I felt that my regular classes on Waiheke were suffering somewhat from my tiredness.

I turned up to each class of course but often with only a vague idea of what I would teach. Part of this was actually useful and interesting … how do I teach when I’m under this amount of pressure? Can I improvise class after class?

It was in fact engaging simply to turn up to class and meet whoever walked through the classroom door, and create on-the-fly classes and sequences geared right to these students exactly as they were in that moment.

[Read more…]

What is Restorative Yoga?

By Neal Ghoshal

Supported Child's PoseA few years ago I enrolled on a Yoga Teacher Training course for a year at the Yoga Academy Auckland – I was on a mission to learn more and more about this practice and to equip myself with as much knowledge as I could. If I was going to teach Yoga, then I wanted to be good at it.

It was an interesting year – the course was actually geared around the Ashtanga Vinyasa style but I was doing all the course modules except the physical practice itself … anatomy, keeping people safe etc. About half way through the year course tutor Jude Hynes gave us a new practice, brought out some Yoga bolsters from the cupboard and introduced us to the wonderful world of Restorative Yoga.

In the very first pose she gave us – Supported Bridge Pose, I was lying back over the length of the bolster so that most of my body was on the bolster, but my head and shoulders on the floor. It was like an effortless bridge pose. And I can still remember this experience: the exact moment when I felt a true relaxation response deep within me. Tension melting, my body softening and a realisation that something very important for had just occurred, and I was awake to the experience.

[Read more…]

Winter Maintenance

The temperature is dropping, rapidly… you know because the duvet covers seem like a warm cocoon each morning.  Bravely you throw back those covers and take the first step of the day, the cold floor sending a rush of shivers up your spine, you are alive.

It is hard to approach the mat on days like this… anticipating the stiffness that has settled into your joints, the muscles that seem ever so tight.  The reality is it is days just like this one when you need it the most, when you need to call on the tapas of all the teachers and students that have come before you, and experience for yourself – yoga.  It does not matter if you are stiff, tight, sore, uncomfortable what matters is to find the breath and the rhythm, to set aside the time, to simply “be” for as long as you can, maybe 15 minutes maybe 2hrs.  Find the will to maintain the practice, keep the fire burning even with just a few embers it is still warm and heating, it is still yoga.

I have always found asana in winter to be difficult, I will admit that.  What I have found works to keep me going is to emphasize different aspects… strength and endurance versus flexibility, inversions instead of backbends, focus on the breath instead of technical alignment, increasing pranayama, chanting, and philosophical study.  These are just a few ideas.  Practicing a bit later in the day after the sun has been around for a bit might also help.

What seems particularly clear is the advice from my teacher Peter Sanson, “go to the mat with no expectations,” allow the practice to unfold, recognize that the winter practice is simply different then summer, autumn or spring practice.  Enjoy the time on the mat.  It is a time to be with yourself, to contemplate each moment as it is happening, to appreciate the energy of others if you are practicing in a class or with a group.  Just make sure you dress warm (layering is best), have an extra blanket to put down underneath you in your final relaxation, and look forward to the hot drink when you are finished.

Daily Practice

by Stephanie Nelson

Dear Students:

My Ashtanga Yoga practice began when my second son, Conrad, was approaching one year. I returned to work full time when he was five months old, Huxley was just 2 years, so life was busy. In between raising the children and working, there was not much time. I noticed a lapse in my sense of self. I had practiced yoga for several years of various styles before the boys were born, but nothing had really clicked. I went to several different schools, had a number of terrific teachers, even worked for a yoga institute for a while, but the yoga was not self-directed it was dependent on these people and the schools. The reality is these approaches to yoga were just not for me, I wanted something different.

During this early “yoga testing” stage, I did end up at a led (talked-thru) Ashtanga primary series class. The teacher was Sharon Gannon and the School was Jivamukti (in the East Village of NYC) ‘round about 1996. I was completely blown away by this class. [Read more…]

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