Updated: Feb 14
I am really excited to announce a new programme of retreats coming this year to Aroha Nui Yoga!
I have been working hard to bring these both to the studio and online, first I will be launching the 'Goddess Within Elemental Goddesses Series' on January 19th with an in person retreat at the studio.
We will be exploring all the Elements this year and each retreat will connect to and build upon the last, I highly recommend that you try and take them all though even one on its own will be amazing.
Our first retreat on January 19th will be The Earth Element and celebrates Papatūānuku and Hine-ahu-One, the mother and daughter Earth Goddesses of my people.
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, I was directed by wairua to come home and turn to my whakapapa, to learn more and share more of my own ancestral knowledge, to help myself and others on their inner-world exploration, healing and development.
This was evident to me through the meditation 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 retreat!
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 some Te Reo Māori into my classes, naming the poses in māori, which is actually heaps of fun, as although 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 tino ataahua - very beautiful. So how I see the poses may differ from their English or Sanskrit meanings, but I definitely honour the Sanskrit origins, as it too is a sacred language.
And so in my classes you may hear an instruction to come into 'Aahuatanga 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 (how cool is that!) - asana is the word we translate into english as 'pose', though it literally translates to - 'comfortable seat'( something to think about next time your pushing yourself in yoga).
In māori the word I have used for pose is - āhuatanga - ( with Aunty's advice of course ) and comes before the word for mountain- maunga - so it becomes 'Aahuatanga Maunga' . And yes sorry to add more complexity but this pose is also often called Down Dog or Downward Facing Dog, which is from another yoga tradition that I have practiced but was not trained to teach in!
And personally, I feel Mountain / Maunga fits the pose and how you can feel in it much more - 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, and 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.
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, are offered with great love and with not just the hope, but the knowledge, that they will bring transformation, healing and empowerment to those who attend.
Some wāhine may be after relaxation and some movement through a retreat, and a day of being served delicious kai - A time out from the world. That is definitely what you shall receive, 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 on going mahi to live and grow in this way. A retreat may be the start or continuation of a lifelong journey, a commitment to yourself.
The retreats are also aimed at giving you practices you can incorporate into your daily life making you stronger, healthier, more creative, and give you more energy, and tools to deal with stress, hormones; and juggling 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 and feel the karanga, please book today and come and take your seat in the circle.
Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive the dates and times for all the retreats coming this year- both in-studio and online too.
Kuputaka - Glossary
Aahuatanga - to form the shape of or take the likeness or essence of
Aroha - love and compassion
Atua - Gods and goddesses, deity, primal energy source. In this text I have used Atua Wāhine to mean 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, and also sends the wairua back.
Kaupapa - agenda, theme, plan
Kupu - words
Māori - means natural, name for an indigenous New Zealander
Mirimiri - means to rub or agitate and is a traditional form of healing like massage
Maunga - mountain
Nui - big, large, plentiful
Papatūānuku - Earth Mother
Rākau - stick or tree, in this instance refers to a game played with sticks
Rongoā - medicine
Sanskrit - ancient sacred language of India
Te Reo - the language - referring to the māori language
Tino ataahua - tino - very, ataahua- beautiful
Tohu - sign or symbol, to point
Wāhine - women, wahine (without the long vowel) means woman
Waiata - song, sing
Wairua - spirit, that which is undying; can also mean the special essence or feeling
Whakapapa - genealogy