The Nature of Relaxing: Yoga and Permaculture in Practice

The Nature of Relaxing: Yoga and Permaculture in Practice

The Nature of Relaxing: Yoga and Permaculture in Practice

Permaculture and Yoga – Finding balance at Crann Og

  I ’m laying on my back with my knees bent, right leg crossed over left, pulling with my right knee to coerce my lower body to twist to the right, towards the ground, while my torso and upper body twists to the left. Ouch. My tender knee is flaring, my back is pinching, my bruised hip is not happy. My mind is frustrated and agitated and I’m judging myself for everything I’m doing wrong, which is, of course, basically everything.

For me, this is the real yoga. This is the moment of truth: What do I do? How do I relate to my body in this moment? When I’m uncomfortable, what choices do I make?

For me I remember my breath. I take a few deep breaths, and I start to soften a little. I ease out of the pose a little bit, until I’m in a position where I can relax and breathe. I’m still in a twist, but my body is no longer protesting. As I breathe here, allowing myself to stop trying so hard, accepting my body’s limitations, and just breathing into the spots of slight tension, something amazing happens: My legs start naturally dropping closer and closer to the floor. My breath deepens, my mind slows, my muscles and fascia unwind; the pose deepens. I feel spacious. I’m there.

How often is it that I’m trying too hard to make something happen? Where in my life might I be able to relax, back off a little, take some deep breaths, and allow things to unfold a little more slowly? Might my mind slow down, might I feel more spacious? And actually, while we’re at it, what IS the difference between forcing and allowing something to happen?

In Permaculture, one of the guiding principles of design is that we follow the design of nature. We design gardens, water and energy systems, buildings, and communities based on the way nature designs things. The inherent understanding here is that every element in an ecosystem has a function that it is perfectly designed to do, and if we put the structures in place to support those functions, we will have a well-functioning system with much less energy input and much less waste…a healthy, thriving ecology. In other words, we design the system to allow things to unfold as they were designed to by nature. We don’t force things to happen. We don’t ask cabbage plants to hurry up and produce us cucumbers. We don’t get mad at squash for growing on the ground, while the runner beans are busy climbing up a trellis. We don’t judge the tomatoes for needing warmer water than the lettuce, or the chickens for bathing in dirt. We just make sure everyone has what they need, to do what they were meant to do.

But for some reason, when it comes to humans, we tend to be our own harshest critics. We seem to think that there are endless achievements required of us, endless tasks to be completed, and impossible standards to live up to. I’m not saying we should give up all efforts to get anything done, but I’m wondering…if we recognized the places where we were trying to force something that feels a bit unnatural or even painful, and instead we slowed down, took a step back, took a few deep breaths, and gave ourselves some space to unwind…might we find that there are better ways of using our energy? Might we find the avenues of effort that are more naturally suited to us, that more naturally bring things to fruition?

Here at Crann Og, we believe that spending time close to nature is a really important–maybe essential–thing to do. That’s why we are here. Maybe you want to come hang out with us a litte? If reading about yoga or gardening makes you go, “gah, I wish I had time to do that…” then I strongly invite you to consider coming out for one of our ReNature Retreats – reconnecting to nature through Yoga and mindfulness practises. Or maybe you could just use a weekend away, unplugged, to remember what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing. Or maybe your whole company or community could use a week away, unplugged, to remember what you’re good at and enjoy doing together.

We’re all designed to do something beautiful and brilliant, to be an important part of the ecosystem. Sometimes a step back, and a few deep breaths, can bring us much further than all the hard work and effort in the world.


Meet Crann Og’s Animal Therapists

Meet Crann Og’s Animal Therapists

Meet Crann Og’s Animal Therapists

Animal therapy and back to nature eco-holidays

Take time to reconnect and meet our Animal Therapists this summer! From 3rd July – 4th September 2018 we will be open for Eco-Tourism at Crann Og Eco Farm, welcoming people from all over the world. You can choose from hand crafted off-grid, luxury accommodation, camping pitches and also our on-grid Long House Cabin.

To see all available options have a look here.

Specially created activity bundles will run on a weekly basis, Wednesday – Sunday. Our bundles will include; Yoga (family and adult only classes), Nature Therapy, Forest School, Woodland Walk followed by Campfire Storytelling, opening and closing circles.

A big hit with the children is our daily animal feeding rounds, 8am & 6pm – everyone gets to meet and feed the farmyard animals!

We are pleased to offer packages and accommodation for groups, individuals and families. Crann Og Eco Farm is all about reconnecting to nature, unwinding and spending some quality time with your friends and family.

Not In My Bed – Ecopsychology in the garden

Not In My Bed – Ecopsychology in the garden

Not In My Bed – Ecopsychology in the garden

The Ecopsychology of weeding

When I began searching for a place in Ireland to call home, I was looking for magic. Magic and nature, and a place where I could consciously practice connecting to both. A place I could learn, about the land, myself, and my purpose here. And so, with a little intention and good luck, I found Crann Og.

Having my own background in Ecopsychology and nature connection, I was thrilled to find a place that was holding ReNature Retreats, Nature Therapy walks, Forest School, food foraging workshops, and more.

Here was a place where the beauty of the natural world was not only celebrated, but where people could come and consciously engage with nature in order to receive healing, guidance, and wisdom. Throw in some wise teachers, horses, yoga and meditation, and sprinkle a little magic on top. I was sold.

I’ve been living here for three weeks now, and the magic and learning abounds. In fact, it started before I even moved in, when I came to visit back in March for a couple of days. While I was getting to know the place two months ago, one of my tasks was to weed a particular garden bed. We spent an entire morning close to the ground, hands in the soil, sorting through and pulling out all the eager little weeds that were determined to grow there.

Now, two months later, here I am again. Today I found myself in that same garden bed, bent over the soil, hands full of dirt, removing new weeds, in preparation for planting. And I found myself laughing a little bit to myself; for a moment it felt silly, frustrating even–to be doing the same thing over and over. What’s the point?.

The thing is, it DOES make a difference. Each time we remove the invasive weeds, we give other plants a better chance. We save nutrients in the soil for the things we have chosen to have in our bed. Each time we weed, we are making choices. This, not that. I want to grow this, not that. The weeds themselves are not bad or evil, but in this bed, in my bed, I am nurturing something else, something more intentional.

And suddenly, I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me. This is how my life is. You see, I have a practice of setting clear intentions once a month, on the New Moon (which just passed,) for the coming month. This month I set some really wonderful, inspired, life-affirming intentions…but I couldn’t help feeling a little silly, frustrated even (sound familiar?) because they were things I have intended before. They were intentions that I have probably spoken in some way many, many times. But they felt important. They were things I wanted to choose, for myself and for my life. Things I wanted to give energy to, to nurture and grow.

And in that moment, sitting in that garden bed weeding the same soil I had weeded two months earlier, I realized that this is a never-ending process. If we have fertile soil (or rich lives), and we have life-giving rain, we are going to have weeds. Life happens, that’s it’s nature. If we want to choose what grows in our beds, and in our lives, we are going to be constantly tending it, choosing this, not that. It might be the same stubborn weed that grows over, and over, and over, and it might sometimes feel frustrating to come back time and time again to pull out the same weeds. But it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with me because I keep encountering the same challenges. That’s just the nature of it.


In the field of Ecopsychology, we operate on an understanding that humans are not separate from nature; in fact, we are designed by nature herself, and therefore fundamentally we operate by her laws. It follows (from an ecopsychological perspective) that spending time in nature helps us to learn about ourselves; to gain a deeper understanding of the natural processes in our body and psyche, and hopefully to help ourselves flourish and grow.

And so, in this time of Spring, new life, new beginnings, new growth, I might ask you: What are you choosing to grow? Is your soil fertile, or does it need some attention? What weeds might you need to sort through and/or pull out? And (this one is the hardest for me): What are those pesky weeds in your life that always seem to take over, to thwart your good intentions?

The garden can be a great place to begin exploring the ideas behind ecopsychology or nature therapy, because it naturally weaves the human back together with nature’s processes. And, if you feel drawn to explore any of this a little more– or perhaps you’re just in need of a little magic–we’re here at Crann Og waiting for you! You can see some of the opportunities we have going on here.

To learn more about Anna and her work with ecopsychology and nature-based practice, visit her website here!


Exploring Nature: Educational courses at Crann Og

Exploring Nature: Educational courses at Crann Og

Exploring Nature: Educational courses at Crann Og

Exploring the educational side of Nature

 The 24th March marked the beginning our Nature School 2018 at Crann Og. With a well attended class and a beautiful afternoon we couldn’t have asked for more. Plenty of fun was mixed with educational aspects as the children practised new skills. There was an introduction to compass reading for the older children and a hand drawn discovery map, marked with symbols, for the younger ones.

We welcomed back some familiar faces and a few new ones, too. It is fantastic to see this great interest in our own back garden! We hope to see a continued rise in interest in Forest and Nature School at home and around the world.

Ireland is home to the youngest population in the EU. With 25% aged 18 or under. Of this 25% it is estimated that 80% do not meet the Government Physical Activity Guidelines. Unchecked this will lead to serious impacts on the emotional, physical and mental well being among the youth.

Ireland has a diverse array of flora and fauna and a rich historical connection to nature. Forest School allows children to gain confidence for exploring and discovering the interconnectedness of their surroundings. Rebuilding this connection will have numerous and long lasting benefits for us as a society and also for the natural environment.

Certified Forest School Leader, Marion-Edler Burke will be hosting more classes over the year, with all dates here.

Spring is Coming 2018 | A beautiful day at the farm

Spring is Coming 2018 | A beautiful day at the farm

Spring is Coming 2018 | A beautiful day at the farm

Warming up to Spring 2018

A warm hello from Crann Og!

With the days getting longer, our bones warming (just a little) and the life popping out of every corner of the farm it feels like spring has arrived – allowing all of us here at the farm to be out reconnecting and soaking up the sounds of nature.

We have just hosted our first workshop of the year and would like to take the opportunity to thank all the participants of the Living Willow workshop who braved the elements and brought the laughter with them – thank you!

We have a busy year planned with our Forest School, Nature Therapy, ReNature Retreats and Eco Holidays all focusing on returning guests to their roots through connecting with the animals (domestic, farm and wild), breathing the fresh country air and taking the time to unplug and slow down in to the rhythm of nature…

We are currently building a database aimed at all the music lovers out there, or in other words, everyone out there! The surrounding regions are rich in musical tradition and 2018 has some festivals that are worth stamping our feet about… and we want you to have the craic and dance along with us! This will help any Crann Og guests to plan their stay around the happening festivities.

Watch this space!

We are set for the coming year and hope to welcome you down on the farm.

All the best,

The Crann Og Crew