Climbing mountains on and off the mat

What a fantastic time we have been having here in Byron Bay, so blessed in so many ways, albeit totally action packed, I shall be returning home for a rest!

On Sunday morning E and I met my wonderful friend Chris at the beach for the weekly Bay Swim. I have not seen Chris for about 5 years but it feels only like yesterday. I met her on my Yoga teacher training course here in Byron and she was a true inspiration - in her 60s and here she was facing her fears on the teacher training course and doing handstands against the wall.

Chris and her husband, Nev, are active people and have spent their retirement running 4 acres of land in Newybar, up in the hills behind Byron, growing and producing coffee as well as growing custard apples, pumpkins, beans, passion fruit, avocados, tomatoes and a variety of herbs and flowers and plants. It is a wonderful place.

The Bay swim is quite cool. You meet at main beach and walk the 20 minutes or so to the Pass, further along the beach, and from there you swim all the way back to shore. We cheated a little and didn't make it quite to the Pass and so it ended up taking us only 30 minutes to swim back to the start, still quite a feat, wonderful views with the mountains and hills in the distance and the sun shining down, surfers in the water and lots of swimmers too.

We joined Mum and Dad and followed Chris up to her property. Stunning. Just so tranquil and full of energy. We sat and chatted over coffee and tea and cake, before taking a look around their property and meeting their woofer, who has developed a nursery for them. I love it, we were all truly inspired, so much work and so much life. Yoga in action you could say. Thank you Chris.

In the afternoon we headed to the Sunday market, this time in Byron. Sadly I only had about 30 minutes before I was due to meet Ross so I didn't get to truly immerse myself in the market vibe and potter around all the stalls taking in the plethora of crystals and books and soaps and funky clothes as I would ordinarily do at the market each week! Still Ross and I chatted over chai at the chai tent where the drumming takes place, rather loud, either I have changed or there are more people drumming these days! All good fun.

Star's folks have been in town the last few days to meet my parents and enjoy a few meals together. We went to the lovely Harvester cafe on Saturday, up in Newrybar, it was raining so was well timed to sit inside for a few hours over lunch. And then last night a family meal together at the villa, good to meet everyone and spend more time with Star, Ross and Willow. Early nights all around out here, the birds are awake and singing loudly with the dawn at 5am-ish, no such thing as a holiday lie in here!

Today we have been totally action packed and I am rather tired! It started with another Lance class at 7am. He decided to run an additional two classes this week before he goes to China to teach. I will admit that Mum and I were in two minds as to whether to go or not, I guess on some level we must have had an inkling that it was going to be a strong class. Reminiscent of my teacher training course his intention for the class was to take us out of our comfort zone.

Oh yes, what fun. It was hardcore, very yang, lots of strengthening standing poses to work into the hips and more specific juicy hip poses, wow, taking us deep. We prepared for Padmasana and a sequence in the pose, hard core it has to be said, and certainly taking people out of their comfort zones. In one of the standing, hip opening poses, Mum lost her balance and whacked me on the bum, all very entertaining, a release of sorts, we got the giggles, better that than crying with the intensity of the pose!

We finished up in Kurmasana, the tortoise pose, and I got taken out of my comfort zone good and proper as Lance helped me into Supta Kurmasana, binding my hands behind my back and crossing my ankles behind my head and then sitting me up on my sitting bones for all to see. I tell you, that was a present moment experience, totally tuning in, conscious of the space for injury, and yet having total faith in Lance and his adjusting ability. We Sat straight after and I was aware of the energy circulating around my throat chakra, it was fairly full on. An incredible experience in the energy of the poses and how they make you feel.

I admit we were tired after the class. Two full hours of Yoga with some breathing at the start and at the end, but no time for relaxation as we had to leave immediately after the class. However, while it was physically demanding, I thought of nothing else during the class, I was very present. I guess that is the reason I have always enjoyed Lance's classes so much, they may be strong and Yoga, but they are engaging and help the mind to focus on the moment and the awareness to spread throughout the body, active and awake throughout.

However not the best timing for a hard core class because E and I had planned a trip to Mount Warning thereafter. We bought breakfast at this wonderful bakery in Suffolk Park and fuelled with tea before taking off in the car. It took us about an hour to drive to the foot of Mount Warning through marvellous lush terrain, green everywhere, really very beautiful, I do love the landscape out here.

Mount Warning straddles the Queensland border and offers a remarkable volcanic landscape of which it is the crown. Out of respect fort the Bundjalung law and culture the Bundjalung ask that people consider not climbing "Wollumbin" as it is known. However it is still popular with walkers as it offers stunning views of the entire area.

It was hard work. Walking through sub tropical rainforest with these amazing trees, some of them absolutely huge and these incredible vines made with the birds singing loudly in the background made for a very grounding walking experience. I admit I was paranoid about both leeches and ticks, but thankfully the terrain was not as wet as it could have been.

We had been following the path uphill for an hour when we reached the tricky part of the climb to the top as we were faced with a 60 degree cliff face ascent with a chain to help you pull yourself up the last 15 minutes or so to the top. I was so tired by then that I actually decided it was all far too dangerous and I wasn't prepared to go any further. I had a bit of a strop. However E talked me around and we continued all the way, pulling ourselves to the top. Thank you E. The views were rather cool, albeit a little misty but still we could see Byron in the distance down the coast and Surfer's Paradise up the coast the other way.

We virtually ran back down, taking us 55 minutes this time. It was a relief to reach the car and sit and rest the legs, phew it is hard work this mountain climbing in the heat!! Still I am so pleased we finally did it, I have been visiting Byron for so many years and never gotten around to visiting, well worth the effort and very much looking forward to the Three Peaks back home in the UK in the summer. It leaves you feeling that you have achieved something, and it is great to sit at the top and enjoy the peace and freedom.

We pottered around the area visiting Murwillumbah where I did my massage therapy training 5 years ago now, and we stopped for drinks at this lovely village called Uki, where the school dated back to 1878, a real settler place. Back in Byron we enjoyed a swim on the beach and after dinner managed a walk into town for a drink admiring the stars and the moon overhead before collapsing into bed at 8.30pm!!

It is our last day in town today, my parents' Ruby wedding anniversary, so a day of chilling by the beach.

Ross DespresComment