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Yoga, Tai Chi and Meditation in Darling Harbour

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by Katie Mae Kohlbeck (subscribe)
Based in Sydney and enjoys writing about travel, yoga, food and other crafts though not exclusive to these topics. Follow me on Twitter @KatieKohlbeck
Published July 4th 2011
Imagine that you were in a quiet, calm garden situated away from all of the demands of your daily life.

Enjoy the tranquility of this moment where you are focusing on your breath with each movement in yoga or tai chi. Or just simply relishing the stillness and present moment in meditation.

Here you are able to settle into a series of revitalising twists, bends and stretches in a non-confronting environment. Allow clean oxygen to fill your lungs as you take a deep breath and simply permit the tension to melt away.

Sounds pretty lovely, doesn't it? One might think they need to leave the city to gain this serene experience but now you don't have to look any further than Darling Harbour for a peaceful escape.

Take your pick of a yoga, meditation or tai chi course now offered at The Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour. Courses cost $20 but this also includes entry into the garden, so provides a great reason to check out the garden either before or after your class (Recommended afterward, when you feel zen and that all is calm in the world).

Classes are casual and are suited to all levels of skill. I attended a Sunday morning session of yoga where the teacher, Eleni Leontsini, encouraged us all to challenge ourselves but also to remember to have fun with our practice. This is vital advice even if you're a well practised yogi, zen master or tai chi guru.

The session is held in a small studio, perched up above the gardens. At the front of the room the doors are open, inviting the sunshine to drench the hard wood floors. The space doesn't hold a large capacity of people (eight of us in total on this occasion), which can be nice in order to keep the practice small and less intimidating. Albeit the size is on the small side, the most important element is being removed from the buzzing activity of nearby Darling Harbour and the CBD.

Eleni warmly welcomes each of us as we arrive and get ourselves set up for the next hour of practising series of downward facing dogs, twists, bends and some very awkward handstands. Despite the tightness in my shoulders and hips I feel when asked to move into certain poses, I can't help but smile as I peer out at the glorious sun, lush trees and birds whizzing by. At this moment the contentedness sets in and the tension fades which all in itself is a great reason to start practising yoga, meditation or tai chi.

The hour escapes us before we know it and we're all exiting the pavilion with a relaxed smile spread across our faces, ready to enjoy and take on the day.

Class days and times can be found on the Darling Harbour website.

Achieve balance and inner peace at Darling Harbour.
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Why? Great for body and spirit
When: See website for dates
Where: Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Cost: $20
The venue itself has a very calming effect on people's nerves I think. When I first went here I was surprised that so close to the city I could find this lush green garden to relax in. Combining yoga with a place like this is a great idea because previously I have tried to meditate in the Hyde Park and failed. Thanks to the bustling crowd and honking cars. Next time I want to unwind and relax I am definitely going here!
By Badhon M - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 6th of July @ 05:18 am
I have inadvertently clicked on the 'Like' button on my own article and not quite sure how to remove it - my apologies. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here. :) Thanks readers!
By Katie Mae Kohlbeck - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 6th of July @ 05:49 am
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