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The Star: May 25, 2017

fitness i 8 washpen walk

fitness i 8 washpen walk Described as ‘a pocket of paradise where moa once roamed’, Washpen Falls is a conservation project that started 80 million years ago with a major volcanic blow. About forty years ago in true pioneering spirit Washpen Falls Walk was established by Tom McElrea’s grandfather. In the early days it was christened ‘The Muddy Bums Brave Club’ by Tom’s grandmother. Even now, you could be forgiven for wanting to stick with the name. There are parts of the track, were it not for the stout manuka stick Tom thrusts in to your hand at the beginning of the trip, you might well end up in the mud on your rear end. Less than an hours drive from Christchurch and about 20 minutes form Methven, on the hill country farm owned by Tom and Jen McElrea is this one and a half hour walk through a diverse countryside. One climbs a track through outcrops of trees more reminiscent of the Australian outback, to bare tussock covered hills and finally meanders through dense native bush beside a swift stream tumbling over round boulders. Tom had spent many hours laboriously hacking away at the original track to make it ‘comfortable’ for your average city slicker to navigate. You don’t have to be fit. You don’t even have to wear sturdy shoes – although bare feet are probably not an option as along the way there is a fair bit of sheep manure to circumnavigate, not to mention the odd rocky outcrop and thistle patch. Tom has organised plenty of rest stops, where he gathers the fold in and tells some fascinating tales – of evidence of Maori war parties moving through the area centuries ago, of his grandfather and friends using the hilly outcrops for target practice during the war, of a recent sighting of an enormous pig lurking in the under growth. Pulling a small, dilapidated woven basket out of a crevasse high up in the hills, he almost has you convinced when he tells you the small round stones inside are in fact moa gizzard stones petrified over the years. In summer, when the weather is fine and the ground dry, he asks everyone to find a spot in the tussock, right on the summit, to lie down and just listen - except for the birds there is complete and utter silence. Most people say they could happily lie there in the sun for the rest of the day. He says the Asian tourists particularly love the tranquility. Part of the homeward bound track comprises of an engineering feat that obviously took many months to complete – a huge wooden ladder with platforms leading around an enormous waterfall. ‘This is compulsory,’ says Tom miraculously finding a bottle of Scotch and a few nip glasses and everyone is asked to quaff a small slug of whiskey with some of the icey water straight from the fall. The final stretch of the walk is through native bush with a strong smell of honey-dew coming from the dripping, sticky beech trees. Among other arts and crafts, Jen sells honey made from these very trees in her small shop. The walk ends in an amazing clearing, with a rough-hewn timber lean-to at the side of a beautiful tranquil lake. In winter the lake is often covered in ice so thick that it is used for skating. Tom, in true form regales everyone with stories of wild parties his parents and grandparents had on the lake, with speakers supplying the music, rigged up in the surrounding native trees. ‘Take the weight off your feet,’ insists Jen, serving up coffee or a drink on the enormous Pet Pet friendly friendly around accommodation New Zealand around New Zealand rough hewn timber tables – teamed up with this goes fresh muffins, scones or her delicious home made chocolate fudge. And in the back ground Tom is still talking. Take a day off skiing at Mt Hutt or take a trip from Christchurch and you won’t be disappointed with this wonderful invigorating and above all easy walk. LOCATION: 590 Washpen Rd, Windwhistle COST: A small maintenance fee is charged for the upkeep of the walking tracks and includes a Track Information Guide and use of walking sticks etc. $10.00 per adult / $5.00 per child (under 15) Dogs are not permitted on the property. If your family includes a If your family includes a If your dog, dog, family cat, cat, bird includes bird or or other other a dog, furry furry cat, bird creature or other then furry we creature have some then some we have good some news good for news you for you Pets Can Come Too has a long list of holiday Pets Can Come Too has a a homes throughout New Zealand that will give long list of holiday homes your whole family a warm welcome throughout New Zealand that that will give your whole family a warm welcome family warm welcome Ph 04 293 2705 www.petscancometoo.co.nz Ph 04 293 2705 www.petscancometoo.co.nz Ph 04 293 2705 www.petscancometoo.co.nz

9 I body just breathe TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND CALM DOWN. SOUNDS EASY RIGHT, BUT ARE YOU BREATHING PROPERLY? we talked to maRGO from Apollo power yoga about the connection between breathing and yoga. When you’re stressed, people often advise you to take a deep breath — and for good reason, a new study shows. Slowing your breathing calms you, and now scientists may have figured out how you can relax your brain through your breath. It has to do with your brain’s pacemaker for breath. For anyone looking for ways to deal with stress and negative emotions, that’s good news. Although it’s been generally known that breathing exercises can have a calming effect on emotions, the researchers’ findings could provide a scientific explanation for why hyperventilation makes us anxious, or why breathing slowly can calm us down. The latest findings continue this research, focusing more on the effects of breathing. We talked to Margo from Apollo Power Yoga on Hereford Street about some benefits that attending yoga can have on your breathing. How can attending one of your yoga classes help to improve breathing? In yoga class, we teach you how to breathe through your nose, using your primary breathing muscles to deepen and lengthen your breath. This sounds like it should come naturally to most people, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Most people breathe through their mouths, in a short and shallow way, using their secondary breathing muscles. Breathing through your mouth activates your sympathetic nervous system - your “fight or flight” response - which kicks in when you’re in stressful, dangerous situations. This response causes you to produce stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn elevates your heart rate and your blood pressure. So mouth-breathing makes you feel and experience stress, even when there’s no cause for stress. Breathing though your nose activates your parasympathetic nervous system - your “rest and digest” or “feed and breed” response - this turns on when you’re in safe, abundant situations. This response causes you to produce “feel-good” hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, which decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. So nose-breathing gives you feelings of safety and abundance. In yoga class, we teach you to breathe through your nose, using your abdominal muscles, your diaphragm, and your intercostal muscles (between your ribs). These are your primary breathing muscles, the ones which are meant to be used for breathing in situations of safety and abundance, so using them also activates your parasympathetic nervous system, calming your mind and heart. If you breathe through your mouth, you’re probably failing to use your primary breathing muscles, and relying on your secondary breathing muscles, which are higher up on your body - the upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and scalene muscles. These are only meant to be used in stressful situations when you need to get more breath than your primary breathing muscles can produce, so using them activates your sympathetic nervous system, making you feel stressed. Your classes are temperature controlled, can you tell us what the benefits of this increase in temperature are? At Apollo Power Yoga, we heat our practice room to about 28 degrees Celsius. This is warm enough to help your muscles and joints become more supple and protect them from injury, but not so hot that it stresses your system. We use infrared heaters. Infrared is the part of sunlight which makes you feel warm. It penetrates through your skin to warm your muscles, and also helps your muscles to recover from any injuries you may have. With the heat at 28 degrees, and with the strong nature of our Power Yoga practice, most people sweat in our classes. Sweating is a great way of detoxifying your system. It sounds so simple but are there any tips you can pass on to help people breath correctly? Always breathe through your nose. As you inhale, take breath right down into the base of your lungs, draw your diaphragm down your body and use your intercostal muscles to expand your ribcage. Keep inhaling until your lungs are full. As you exhale, let your diaphragm release back up your body and engage your abdominal muscles. Keep exhaling until your lungs feel empty. Try to make your exhalations longer than your inhalations. Apollo Power Yoga www.apollopoweryoga.co.nz “ Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders. ” Enjoy Dunedin with us Aaron Lodge TOP 10 • Heated Swimming Pool • Pentanque Court • Playground • Barbeques • Activities Booking Service • Reading Room • TV Lounge • Spa Pool • Mini ‘Park Golf’ Course • Under 5’s Playroom • Picnic Tables • Games Tables • Internet Station • Laundry www.aaronlodgetop10.co.nz