How Atua Wāhine retreats began...

Our first retreat on January 19th 2020 was 'The Earth Element' and celebrated Papatūānuku and Hine-Ahu-One, the Earth Mother and her daughter.
Working with the Goddess Energy is very powerful and transformative, in fact, it can be a game changer.
My kaupapa is to bring you a unique viewpoint, seeing the goddess through my own cultural lens, celebrating and honouring the Atua Wāhine Māori, some of which you may not of heard of before.
I have been researching and uncovering their stories for several years now, after attending a Goddess Retreat with Sally Kempton in the USA in 2014,  through experiences I had on this retreat I feel I was directed by wairua to come home, and turn back to my own whakapapa, to learn more and share our own goddesses.
This was evident to me through the experiences I had there in San Jose, on top of Mount Madonna in an ancient Redwood forest.
I also witnessed children at the school there learning rākau games and waiata māori, so beautiful to travel so far from home and yet there was a part of my culture being practised on a mountain top in California!
When I returned home the tohu kept appearing for me, and so I started my journey into learning Te Reo Māori, and later, Rongoā and Mirimiri. (I will explain these terms to you at the bottom of this blog if they are new to you so don't worry and keep reading!)
Since then I have been incorporating Te Reo Māori into my classes, naming the poses in māori, and taking the Hine- Ahu-One and Papatūānuku retreats.
Naming the poses of yoga has been a lot of fun, an interesting journey, and ever evolving! As I am still on that learning journey, I understand a little more now about our language and how it can be very direct and to the point but also poetical and very beautiful - he tino ātaahua tōku reo!
So how I see the poses may differ from their English or Sanskri names, but I definitely honour the Sanskrit origins, as it too is a sacred language, and the language of yoga. 
And so in my classes you may hear an instruction to come into 'Āhuatanga Maunga' - which basically means - to make the shape of a mountain!
In the tradition of yoga I trained in, we called this - Mountain Pose or - Sumeruasana/ or Parvatasana - 'Sumeru' means Summit and 'Parvati' is The Mountain Goddess of fertility, love, harmony, marriage, children and devotion; as well as of divine power and strength.
Asana - is the word we translate into english as 'pose', though it literally translates to - 'comfortable seat' ( something to think about next time you push yourself in yoga!)
In te reo māori the word I have used for pose at this time is - āhuatanga - ( I was gifted this kupu by my Aunty ), and comes before the word for mountain- maunga - so it becomes 'Āhuatanga Maunga' .
The use of āhuatanga is as a name for the pose, where as sometimes I may ask someone to come into the likeness of the Mountain, so it will be a different use - such as "whakaritea i a koe ki te āhua o te Maunga "
And yes sorry to add more complexity but this pose is also often called - Down Dog or Downward Facing Dog! 
Personally, I feel Mountain / Maunga fits the pose better and how you can feel in it  - strong, grounded, rising up from the earth!
It fits my style of teaching and practice that is quite earthy and meditative too ( and it's the Mountain Goddess's Pose - yay!)
I have been teaching for 20 years and I believe in honouring the essence of the poses, practices, the heart of yoga, and the Sanskrit language. To honour the beauty and spirit of yoga.
It has become a natural process to translate the poses into te reo māori, as each year during Māori language week, we practice the class in te reo, and each year as I learn more, more aspects are practiced in te reo. It is a process that is ever evolving also.
Both my yoga practice and my journey into Te Ao Māori have bought me back to my essence, and my essence and heart are my whakapapa, a bloodline that traces it's origins back to the Goddess - Hine-Ahu-One, and her origin - Papatūānuku- Earth Mother. So it was a natural progression to bring her into the retreats, to honour and celebrate our Atua Wāhine.
This is why the retreats mean so much to me, they are offered with great love and with the knowledge that they may bring transformation, healing and empowerment to those who attend!
Some wāhine may be looking for some 'me wā'-  time out to relax and practice some self-care - through a retreat, and that is definitely what you shall receive with our retreats, but.....
             .......there's more to it than that, there's a way of living from your soul, being guided by wairua, going deeper so that your whole life becomes infused with grace, energy, connection to the divine feminine.
And you are no longer scratching the surface of your life.
Of accepting and loving your body and emotions as part of your heritage.
It is my on- going mahi to learn to live and grow in this way.....
          .....and so a retreat may be the start or continuation of a lifelong journey, a commitment to loving yourself...
The retreats are also aimed at giving you practices you can incorporate into your daily life that may make you stronger, healthier, more creative,  give you energy, and also tools to deal with stress, hormones, and the constant juggling of roles, responsibilities and relationships.
The Goddess Within Retreats are true self-care and self-love - celebrating the full spectrum of what it means to be a woman today, they promote wellness and taking back the power of responsibility for your body, when you take the first step.
I can't wait to share these empowering and beautiful practices and Atua Wāhine with you - so if you hear the karanga, please book in or join our mailing list to hear about the next Goddess Within Retreat.
Aroha Nui x
Kuputaka - Glossary
Āhuatanga - aspect, likeness, characteristic, trait
Aroha - love, compassion, caring, benevolent, empathy
Atua - Gods and goddesses, deity, primal energy source.
Wāhine Atua-  feminine aspect of the divine, or primal energy source.
Hine-Ahu-One - Name for the first human being - her name means- woman formed from clay/ earth / sand
Kai - food, eat
Karanga - call, shout. Karanga used ritually represents the first voice, the voice of the female, in ritual it calls to both the living and the wairua, to bring them together.
Kaupapa - agenda, theme, plan
Kupu - word
Māori - means natural, became the name for an indigenous New Zealander after contact with Europeans
Mirimiri - means to rub or agitate and is a traditional form of healing like massage
Maunga - mountain
Nui - big, large, plentiful , important
Papatūānuku - Earth Mother , an Atua Wāhine
Rākau - stick or tree
Rongoā - medicine
Sanskrit - ancient sacred language of India
Te Reo - the language - referring to the māori language
Tino ātaahua - tino - very, ātaahua- beautiful
Tohu - sign or symbol, mark, emblem, token, proof, direction, landmark, signature as a noun as a verb- to point, show, indicate, instruct, advise
Wāhine - women - plural
Wahine -  woman singular
Waiata - song, sing
Wairua - spirit, that which is undying; can also mean the special essence or feeling
Whakapapa - genealogy, lineage, descent as a noun, as a verb it means to place in layers, lay upon one another or to recite in proper order

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