Wednesday, March 12, 2008


It was difficult to find time to write after the last post, since we were traveling and staying in places that didn't have free wireless connections. So... here I am, back home, and writing about the last few days in NZ.

Simply put, it was an amazing trip, and we loved having a few days to experience Auckland. We didn't just stay in the city center, but went out to Ponsonby, Parnell, and Devonport, all areas surrounding Auckland. Each one has its own feel, its own character.

We kept practicing in the mornings before we headed out to drive or experience the area. The yoga seemed to set our mornings straight, and even when there wasn't much space in which to practice, practice worked. That is, once you begin sun salutations, you forget about lack of space, because you're creating it within yourself; you're experiencing it internally.
Yes, it's great to have lots of physical space surrounding you when you have the chance to have it, but one of the great things about yoga is that it fits in to whatever space you have, and it creates more than you think you have.
Does that even make sense?

Not everything about Auckland was wonderful. It definitely is the most metropolitan city we visited, and therefore, more polluted/populated than everywhere else we traveled... possibly giving us even more appreciation for having spent so much time in the pastural region of Nelson/Upper Moutere.

Also, in Auckland, we met the only person who gave us a bad taste in our mouths... not literally (that is, the meal we had at his restaurant was spectacular, food-wise), but figuratively. Turns out, the person is not a native New Zealander, but rather, a former Bucks County, PA, resident. Let's just say that satya (truthfulness) and asteya (non-stealing) did not seem to be daily practices for this gentleman, and Tim and I had some svadhyaya (self-study) and ahimsa (non-violence) to practice when dealing with him. We did our best.

A visit to the Skytower was tremendous (though more difficult for me than I ever imagined - never had trouble with heights like that before), including seeing two people jump off the tower on bungy-like cords. Wow. Tim said he would have done it if hadn't cost $195. Not me; at least, not in this life time.

We also enjoyed touring some art galleries, looking for the work of an artist some clients of mine had seen when they visited NZ. The artist's name is Kate Wells, and we did have a chance to see photos of her tapestry work at one gallery.

Getting to our departing flight required a lot of patience and yet hurrying up when we could, even though we got to the airport 3 hours early. The lines were just too long and there weren't enough NZ Air employees to handle the customers. However, getting through customs was easy, thankfully, both in NZ and in the USA. Our bags all came through fine, too.

Tim's working on our NZ pictures on his computer, so hopefully, I'll have some to post soon.

I'll probably continue to post on here occasionally. As I said in my first post, I love beginnings, and as much as coming home feels like an ending, I feel it's another beginning... a time to apply all of the things I/Tim learned from John and Lucy and to experience them in practice and in regular everyday life.

For anyone reading, if you want a life-changing getaway, or just the experience if clean air and good people, go study with John and Lucy Scott. Even if you've never studied Ashtanga yoga before, you will enjoy the challenge and inspiration of studying with them, and you'll definitely grow in ways you didn't expect... and certainly ways you'll appreciate.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Time flies, even in each present moment

We're constantly reminded on this trip to be in, and appreciate the present moments as they fly by.

I'm in a convenience store in Auckland now as we're waiting for our room to be ready at the hotel.

We had a nice drive to Rotorua Wednesday, with better weather there when we arrived. Unfortunately, Zorbing was not happening, as it was too windy... well, we could have done the wet-version, but neither of us wanted to get soaking wet.

So - we went on a beautiful gondola ride, and went on the Sky swing (165 kph upon release) out over the edge of the "mountain" (quite a rush!), and then on two luge runs down the mountain. Really fun!

We then found our B&B, Ferntree Cottage, run by two lovely people, Val and Jeff Brennan, and their cat, Snapper, and dog, Josie. They told us about a fun dinner place called the Fat Dog, and it was fun - and delicious.

Val made us a delicious breakfast (Tim even had waffles) before we headed out of town, stopping on the way at Hamurauna (sp?) spring (Val's suggestion). Many years ago, several divers went in to the spring and recovered 5000 1860 pennies out of the spring, which were given to various local charities. Pretty cool!
The spring was so clear you could see every stone and green thing growing in it, as was the stream coming from it. We loved the walk to/from as well, being surrounded by humongous redwoods and being serenaded by musical birds. Tim recorded the birdsongs using his digital camera, so perhaps we can identify them later.

We both practiced again this morning (thank you, John and Lucy, once again!), and were greeted thereafter by Snapper wanting attention.

OK, time to see Auckland... back to this present place in this present moment.
Love to all. Come to see this amazing place!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Going with the flow

Time to practice some real flexibility - ie., in planning... as in, things don't always go the way you plan.

We flew to Napier without any problems yesterday, but unfortunately, it was raining when we landed.
Europcar had to upgrade us for our car (which sounds good until you're told you're getting an 8-person minivan that doesn't get great gas mileage and that needs big parking spaces)... can't help also feeling a bit guilty driving down the road with only 2 people in such a vehicle.
It does have great acceleration (and it's a KIA!), which we could have used in Arthur's Pass.

Take a breath and go with it...

So, we stopped by Mission Estates winery, the oldest winery in NZ, and perhaps the one with the most expensive restaurant... therefore, we headed down the road to Church Road winery, which was smaller, more affordable and nice. Tim had the cheese board (and got to taste 3 different wines to pair with it), and I had orzo risotto with prawns - yum, and a cuve reserve chardonnay that was terrific... tho' I didn't finish all of the wine in my glass since I was driving, and the glass was quite generous (which we've noticed about getting wine everywhere; ie., they definitely fill glasses up more here than in the USA).

We then drove to a chocolate museum/cafe/shop, which included, for your humoristic pleasure... willy wash and bum wash (liquid soap for the private areas). The ad for the soap was even more funny than the soap package itself.
...reminds me of what we've seen in at least two wool/silk shops: willy warmers and nipple warmers made out of sheeps' wool (or was it possum silk?)

With the rain ongoing here in Napier, we sadly didn't get a good look at the bay; perhaps we'll get a view before we head to Rotorua this morning. This area must be beautiful when you can see the hills and bay.

We found a nice tapas place last night, so we had a pleasant dinner.

We both practiced this morning in a bit of a lack of space... another opportunity to go with the flow, use what you've got. Guess I need to learn and relearn this. Sometimes, lack of space is actually helpful in cultivating dharana and dhyana...

Time to find out if we can get Tim a battery recharger for his computer, and then we'll head to the sulphur-soaked area of Rotorua, including some nice hot mineral baths, and Zorbing!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weather has its way

We're here in Christchurch enjoying a sunny yet rather cool day. Headed to the east coast of the south island yesterday (Sunday), actually going as far as Akaroa for a harbour cruise --- which was unfortunately cancelled when we arrived due to wind/rain. Very disappointing, but we did enjoy walking around the quaint town before heading to Christchurch.

Last night, we had a decent/fun but not-quite-as-good-as-we-expected dinner at Dux de Lux, near the Art Centre. After, we went to Sticky Fingers (restaurant and bar) for a drink and dessert (trifle - fantastic)... think we would have liked dinner there better, but swaha.

Today, we both practiced in the AM (as we did yesterday - yay, Tim... John had asked him if he would roll out his mat on Sunday, and he did... and he practiced), had a great breakfast at Vic's Cafe, and walked to the Art Centre (more shops than actual artist studios, but still cool to see). We also took an hour to walk around the Christchurch Art Gallery, which was fantastic.

Tim then indulged me - we went "punting on the Avon River" through a bit of Hagley Park (3rd largest city park in the world next to Stanley Park in Vancouver and Central Park in NYC). Punting is pretty much the English version of going on a gondola. One of the guys working at the place was from Clark County, Wisconsin, and he's been here 8 years.

Now we'll head to The Twisted Hop brewery (we're at an internet/backpackers info centre in Cathedral Square - very impressive cathedral, btw) and to dinner at Saggio di Vino.

Gotta let Tim get to his email. We only have dialup service at the hotel.