Akasha Retreat

2012 has well and truly begun, and one New Year’s Resolution we won’t be breaking is to continue to keep as fit and healthy as we possibly can.

With Christmas and New Year telling the classic story of annual overindulgence, I kickstarted the new year by eliminating all processed food from my diet for the month of January just to prove to myself that it could be done, and lo and behold it was actually LESS work and easier to maintain.

I ate no bread, no biscuits, no cakes, no pasta, nothing canned, or pre-prepared. If it wasn’t fresh, I didn’t eat it. And I learned how to replace sucrose with other healthier options like agave nectar, and glucose, and started making my own healthy sweet treats with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, coconut butter, and cocoa nibs.

Even better, the husband and 7 year old were LOVING everything I put in front of them. So now of course we can’t go back to our old ways and are making much more from scratch, and continue to source organic and local produce wherever possible.

We are still having our green smoothies every day, which we have been doing now since about September 2011, as it’s just become part of everyday life. The man of the house has taken over smoothie production and now makes enough to take a bottle each to work as well, instead of just starting the day at home with a big glass of green goodness. And you’d be surprised how many raw leafy greens you can get a kid to eat every single day, if you add some pineapple and dates along with your flaxseed, LSA, chia seeds and coconut oil!

Early in January I also decided it would be helpful to take a few days out to to unwind and de-stress, without distractions.  To focus on relaxation, pure and simple, the kind where you meditate, read a book, switch off your phone and just BE.  (If you’re anything like me, when you’re at home you feel compelled to finish the housework or gardening rather than curling up with a good book!)

So I booked us into the Akasha Retreat Centre  in Upper Beaconsfield, which as it turns out, overlooks almost the whole of Melbourne, perched high up on a hill, nestled in amongst huge gum trees.

We arrived on Friday morning and were welcomed by our host Theresa, whose skin and eyes simply glow in testament to the healthy lifestyle she promotes.

We were just in time for meditation, stretching and yoga, which was then followed by a delicious lunch on the terrace in the gorgeous summer sunshine, prepared with eggs straight from the Akasha hens, and loads of fresh homegrown organic veggies.

The afternoon was whiled away reading, chilling out,  a session in the ‘detox box’ sauna, then enjoying a fantastic massage from Theresa.

Before we knew it , it was time for dinner, and another wholesome meal, this time stir-fried vegies and tofu in a homemade satay sauce, with brown rice, and fresh fruit to follow.

The second day pretty much followed the same pattern as the first, but this time starting off with a fresh veggie juice, and then a delicious breakfast of brown rice muesli, bircher muesli, nut cream, yoghurt and fruit salad.

I then opted for a Reiki treatment, which had the nett effect of putting me into such a deep meditative state I may have accidentally snored (it was very ladylike, apparently).

Lunch included homemade zucchini soup, homemade bread (which drove us crazy with the gorgeous baking aroma all morning), hommus and salad, and dinner this time was an amazing gluten-free nut loaf, served with yogurt and mint, roasted vegies, as well as a side of homegrown corn and green beans. Each night Theresa would make us a ‘sleepytime’ tea to help unwind before bed.

All our meals were enjoyed outside on the terrace with magnificent views to Westernport Bay, French Island and Phillip Island on our left, and Portsea, Mornington and Port Phillip Bay to the right.  The sunsets were nothing short of spectacular, displaying colours and shades in an everchanging show as the sun sank further down, the vast sky full of fiery reds and soft pinks, dotted with silvery streaky clouds.

The resident four-legged friends also made us welcome, a gorgeous golden Retriever named Mishka, who joined us for meditation and yoga each morning, and Puss, the black fluffy man of the house who let everyone know he was the boss, but was so handsome you didn’t really mind. The Akasha goats provided light entertainment, especially when one wandered right up to the house and stuck his head through a hole in the hedge to eyeball us as we wrestled with a challenging jigsaw puzzle (another type of meditation which really worked for me!)

The weekend was a wonderful balm for the soul,  free of interruptions and schedules, no rushing from here to there, just taking time out to smell the roses. Or eucalyptus leaves in this case.

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