The Power of Yoga

It may sound cliched, but the addition of yoga practice to my life is really changing it.

Many years ago I went to a hatha yoga class at my local school hall and I didn’t really “get” it – maybe it was the teaching, the large class size, the cold room, I don’t know?  It just didn’t work for me back then.

(Not me!)

(Not me!)

Here in Sydney, I’ve been going to ashtanga vinyasa yoga twice a week and it’s a whole different ball game.  I originally took up yoga for the physical benefits and freely admit I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in the meditative aspects, but I stand corrected.  I have never felt more relaxed, energised and content in my whole life!

I’m reaping they physical benefits too – my muscles are toning, my flexibility and stamina are improving and I’m getting a bit better at balance, which was never my strong point!

I’m so happy at the changes it has made to me, I’m at the point of almost evangelising the benefits of yoga to my friends and family.  I’ll need to rein myself in so they don’t get fed up of hearing about it!

I wanted to come to Sydney to discover something new and now I feel I’m getting a lot of my old-self back – I just hadn’t realised I’d lost it!


Japanese Bathhouse Sparadise, Blue Mountains NSW, Australia

Last weekend I visited the Japanese Bathhouse Sparadise in the Blue Mountains.  I’ve never been to a Japanese spa before, so I was unsure what to expect.

The location is very remote and there was certainly a point in the journey where I began to doubt it’s very existence.  If you know the area, it is about 80 km from Katoomba towards Lithgow and Bathurst.

On arrival we were greeted by the calm and friendly staff and then given a guided tour of the bathhouse facilities.  The tour was very informative, but it did feel rather like we were naughty school kids being told how to avoid a visit to the headmaster’s office!

Here’s what you can use if you go there:

  • Herbal steam bath
  • Outdoor hot spring pool
  • Indoor cool pool
  • Herbal steam room

You can also book massages and other treatments.

In traditional Japanese style, you are asked to have a seated shower before using the pools and there are also quiet indoor and outdoor areas for relaxation.  They even have a tearoom where you can sample different varieties of tea, have a Japanese snack or even lunch.

After the initial overwhelming “Do’s and Don’ts”  list given by our guide, I was able to relax and literally soak up the calming atmosphere of the baths.  Guest numbers are limited, so you will never feel crowded in this remote spot.

The Bathhouse is open to the public at weekends only, and is a private members club at other times.  If it wasn’t for such a long journey out of Sydney, I’d definitely go back.  The remoteness is certainly part of the appeal.

Time to go home?

I’ve been out in Sydney since September 2008 on my Working Holiday Visa and my mind is turning to thoughts of home.

I came to Australia just before the world’s financial fortunes took a turn for the worse.  My original plan had been to pick up work in my usual line of work, this didn’t exactly transpire, so I’ve been temping and working in various administration positions.

Keeping myself on the temping treadmill has proved to myself that I am quite resilient – if you don’t pester the agencies, you don’t get anywhere.  Doing work that has allowed me to dream has also been something of a positive.  I feel like I’ve had time to think about what’s important in life and what needs to change.

Family, health and happiness are what is important to me, which is why being so far away in Australia is something that I cannot live with.  Australia is a great place and a beautiful country with a healthy lifestyle, but I can’t live this far away from my family and friends in Scotland.

I’m aiming to go home in the next two months and I hope to continue the healthy lifestyle that I’ve seen in Australia.  Yoga is doing me a world of good, and I’m glad I feel in love with it again in Sydney.

I’m daunted and excited in equal measure about what will come next in my life and where I choose to live.