NZ teacher doing 307th marathon at Rotorua Marathon event

Kiri, Bill and Graeme

Caption: Bill Richardson, pictured left, is on track to run his 307th marathon when he takes part in the Rotorua Marathon on April 30. He is pictured here running the Wanganui Marathon with friends, Kiri Price, centre, and Graeme Tindall.

Go in the draw to win an entry into this year’s Rotorua Marathon (you choose the distance category) via our facebook page by clicking here.

By Rachel Grunwell

When South Island school teacher Bill Richardson runs the Rotorua Marathon on April 30 it will be his 307th marathon.
The 64-year-old Invercargill resident has quietly clocked up this amazing feat with his feet and barely told a soul! He prefers to keep his marathon tally on the down-low. It’s just what he loves to do. He thrives on the 42km challenge.
He did celebrate his 300th marathon with close run friends though, with a cake – this was after the Buller Gorge Marathon in February.
His Rotorua Marathon run this year will be a bit of cause for celebration too. It will be his 15th time lapping Lake Rotorua, which means he will enter the ‘Rotorua Marathon Survivors Club’. You have to have completed this event 15 times, or more, to be a club member. There are 514 members in this club at last count in the history of the 52-year-long event.
“It will be as good as gold to be in the club,” he says, chuckling “but I don’t get too carried away by these things.”
Richardson says he loves the Rotorua Marathon event “because it has a bit of town, hills and country”. He also loves the history of the event and the big turn out it attracts. Elite athletes, international runners to everyday runners love it. He’s looking forward to seeing lots of run friends there too. But, of course, he’s honest and admits that the last 10km of the event is always tough! The stretch by the airport is always a challenge. His top tip for running this event is not to run out too fast too soon by the way.

Richardson was born in Owaka, South Otago, and raised in the tiny Central Otago settlement of Omakau. He used to run 4km to school and was always horse-riding, duck-shooting, river swimming, building rafts or fishing. So he has always been an active bloke.
Richardson has two children, Matt and Kate, and five grandchildren. He lives solo. He retired as a social studies and geography teacher at Southland Boys’ High School a few years ago, but still is a relief teacher here.
Richardson started running marathons in 1980. His first was in Invercargill. He has since run most major marathons of the world and repeatedly run a lot of domestic events nationwide.
Some favourite events include Boston (“the premiere marathon in the world” which he has completed nine times – he loves that you have to qualify to enter), the Riverton to Invercargill run (“one of the best” and something he has run more than 30 times) and the Buller Gorge race (“amazing scenery and people”).
He has loved conquering each marathon for “the amazing adventure” and among these incredible adventures includes: the Midnight Sun Marathon above the Arctic Circle in Norway, the Niagara Falls run in Canada and an American run during which competitors cross a border.
He estimates he has spent a cool $150,000 on his passion and he jokes “the rest of my other earnings were wasted”. He has a room full of medals and t-shirts dubbed “the running room”. He reckons one day he will make a duvet out of them all… “one day when I buy a sewing machine chuckle chuckle”…
I quip he could likely make a string of duvets, actually…
His fastest marathon time was 2hr 50mins at Christchurch Marathon in 1997. And yes,’ he will be there again to run this event this year. He can run marathons these days in 3 hours 40 minutes but it’s more about being out on each course for the enjoyment now.
Meanwhile he swears by starting every marathon with porridge including: oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, banana and topped with walnuts and almonds.
Besides eating a great breakfast, his biggest advice to any runners out there is “enjoy every race. It’s a lot of fun”.

Good luck on race day! Meanwhile if you see Richardson out there, cheer him on loudly. He’s a bit of a run legend!

His friend Kiri Price, a run coach,  says Richardson is only the second person in NZ to achieve the status of running 300 marathons.  He is also a proud member of the 100 Marathon Club, of which there are just 44 members. “And he’s the humblest, nicest gentleman out there as well,” says Price.

  • To enter the Rotorua Marathon (there are four distances from a 5.5km fun run to the full marathon) click here to link through to the Rotorua Marathon website.
  • Rachel Grunwell is wellbeing columnist for two magazine titles and a string of newspapers throughout NZ. She’s a professional blogger and the director of Inspired Health too. She’ll be running the Rotorua Marathon (her 12th marathon).

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14,000 runners tackle Cigna Round the Bays

lance, tamati, rachel, corin


Pictured at the Cigna Round the Bays in Wellington from left: Cigna CEO Lance Walker, Achilles charity blind runner Tamati Pearse and his guides wellness columnist Rachel Grunwell and TVNZ political editor Corin Dann


By Rachel Grunwell

Over 14,000 Kiwis ran in Cigna Round the Bays in Wellington on February 21 including 60 Achilles charity members in fluorescent yellow shirts.

Achilles helps Kiwis with any disability to participate in mainstream run events.

Some of the Achilles participants don’t have legs, others are without sight, some have survived car crashes or underground explosions, or battled debilitating illnesses. Some used wheelchairs or racing bikes on the day, while a one-legged athlete used crutches.

The youngest Achilles member, who was born with spina bifida, is at intermediate school while others are grandparents like the charity’s founder Peter Loft who was there too on the day running with his young grandson. It’s truly a diverse bunch.

Achilles athletes always run with support guides.

I’m an Achilles volunteer guide and an ambassador who was at the event alongside fellow ambassadors: former All Black Frank Bunce, TVNZ’s political editor Corin Dann, Breakfast presenter Nadine Chalmers-Ross, Fair Go journalist Garth Bray and Newstalk ZB newsreader Niva Retimanu.

It was a stunning day and main sponsor Cigna NZ had several amazing cheer stations. The Achilles runners seemed to get the loudest cheers – behind the lead elite winning runners though, of course!

Corin Dann and I had the pleasure of co-guiding blind Auckland runner Tamati Pearse, 21, who smashed his best half-marathon time. It was his third half-marathon and he’s also conquered the New York Marathon.

He was thrilled at his time, but mostly he had lots of fun. We had a group hug when we got our medals.

A highlight that day was seeing Tamati smiling broadly throughout the course as he soaked up every cheer – and then he beamed even brighter over his PB at the finish-line. Even elite runners took time to cheer on Tamati that day on the course. It made them smile too.

I think anyone who saw Tamati couldn’t help but be inspired by his goal-crushing and can-do mind-set…



Tamati almost near the finish-line with Corin Dann guiding and Rachel capturing the action. We talked politics, running about family, friends and fun while on-the-run. Corin even took a call from a producer mid-run. The bloke works way too hard!


Achilles Athletes also at the event Ian Walker, left and Ian Winson, right. Ian Walker sped back first on his wheelchair at the event. Check out their smiles too. Truly awesome.


Another Achilles pic. From left, Tamati Pearse, former All Black Frank Bunce, Rachel Grunwell, Fair Go’s Garth Bray and Newstalk ZB newsreader Niva Retimanu. If you wear a yellow shirt then it’s compulsory you have to group hug lol. I think these guys are as huggable as my yogi mates 😉


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TV3’s Mike McRoberts laces up for Christchurch Marathon

Mike McRoberts

TV presenter Mike McRoberts is running the Christchurch Marathon this year. He is pictured here while running the Queenstown Marathon in November, 2015. That’s  Newstalk ZB’s talkshow queen Kerre McIvor to his left.

By Rachel Grunwell

Every weekend lots of fitness events take place nationwide and it’s amazing who turns up.

Elite athletes, every day Kiwis wishing to keep fit and celebrities too.

TV3 presenter Mike McRoberts is as known for reporting on danger zones and bringing us the night-time news as he is for running these days.

To keep fit, Mike loves training for, and running, marathons. He has already conquered the 42km distance at New York, Taupo and Queenstown. His next marathon challenge will be the Christchurch Airport Marathon on June 5

For Mike, running this event is dear to his heart. He explains why:

“Having grown up in Christchurch and still a staunch Cantab I’ve always had a desire to run the Christchurch Marathon. All of my family still live in Christchurch so I’m hoping I’ll have a fair amount of support out on the course”.

Mike says the fact the course now takes in the Christchurch CBD is a major attraction too.

“I’ll never forget reporting on the earthquakes six years ago and the crushing loss I felt for my hometown. I think being able to run through there for an iconic event like this is just another step in Christchurch’s recovery ….well quite a few steps actually!

“This will be my fourth marathon and my first as a 50 year old, so I can’t wait”.

Meanwhile, I’ll be joining Mike too to run this event – my 14th marathon. Running is also a way I love to keep fit, healthy – and happy.

The Christchurch course will be flat, cool, there are several distance options to enter and it’s a great way to support this earthquake-ravaged city.


  • This article was published in The Christchurch Star,  the Northern Advocate, the Bay of Plenty Times, Rotorua Daily PostHawkes Bay Today, Wanganui Chronicle and the Wairarapa Times Age.

Further reading: Read the article about Mike McRoberts facing his fears over the Taupo Marathon by clicking here. He also did a bungy-jump, jet-boat ride and skydive during that mad mission! This piece was also penned by Rachel Grunwell.

About the author: Rachel Grunwell is a wellbeing columnist and healthy recipe creator for Good Magazine and Juno Investing Magazine. She writes regularly for newspaper titles nationwide.

Rachel is the director of , a yoga teacher, marathoner and an award-winning writer. Follow Inspired Health on Facebook Instagram 

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Want to be the best you? Well, try this lifestyle approach…

[1610] Yianni - full day

Want to be the best you? Well, try this lifestyle approach…

By Rachel Grunwell

Want to become the best version of you?

I’m not talking about enrolling in some American-style ‘biggest transformation’ style program. That stuff freaks me out!  It’s not sustainable either.

How to become the best version of you requires you wanting be a better you, firstly. Then you need to tell yourself you are going to change your lifestyle. Next, adopt “a positive mind-set” and repeat after me: “I believe in myself”.

Think about something that drives you to want to look and feel better. For me, I remember hating the feeling of my legs swishing together when I walked. This was a while back, when I put on 30kg when I was pregnant with my first child. But I’ll never forget that feeling. I hated it. So wanting to escape the “leg-swish-walking” was one driver for me! It may be that there’s a dress you’d love to wear for your wedding or a big event. Or you may just want to simply get back to looking like “you” again. Focus on this and how you will feel when you get to your goal.

Then I want you to think about a reward when you get to your goal. Something you long for and want. Promise yourself you will buy it for yourself when you reach your goal and look forward to that, (obviously you have to be able to afford it! No Ferrari-wishing okay – except if you are a partner in a law firm or something… then you can wish for a Ferrari).

But seriously, next I want you to start drinking 2L of water daily. Put it in the fridge in a jug and so you can see if you are getting through this amount each day.

Next up, look at how much movement you do. Try and walk/do some kind of exercise class/swim – whatever you want really – and commit to doing it thrice weekly. You can build on doing more later. Just starting is the main thing right now.

Also, walk whenever you get the opportunity – early in the morning or at lunch time with a friend can be great times to try and fit it in. Walk the kids to school, don’t drive them. Walk to get that coffee or meet with a mate. If it’s a close distance than get on your feet. Any chance you can move, do it. Even standing burns more calories than sitting. So every bit counts i.e. don’t sit while you fold the washing – stand!

A tough thing to do next will be to “cut the not-so-good-for-you-stuff” from your pantry. Avoid sugar, fizzy drinks, alcohol and then don’t drink more than one coffee a day. If you are drinking or eating a lot of any one of these things then mindfully cut back – ease off it slowly. Be kind on yourself.

Next eat greens whenever you can at each meal. Not just dinner time! Greens like broccoli and salads are great. Then fill your pantry/fridge with healthy foods. Now all you need to do is eat more healthy stuff, less crap, drink more water and avoid all those sugar-laden or alcoholic things trying to drag you down. They’re not doing you any favours.

Now, do all these things consistently and see how you go. Remember, you can do this! You got this!

believe you can

Remember weight-loss takes time too. So keep going and don’t give into old unhealthy habits. Good things take time and if you are doing these things then you should be feeling even better over time.

However, if you don’t think you can do this weight loss and fitness journey on your own, or find it confusing, or think that you could benefit from some support and education in this area then consider something like Weight Watchers.


Weight Watchers has recently overhauled their program and it is even better than when I used it years ago. It now focuses on a new way of living, not a diet. It’s more of a holistic approach that looks at food, fitness and feeling good “your own way”. So there are lots of options to choose from to help you on your journey. It’s awesome.

Weight Watchers says research shows about a third of Kiwis aged 15-years and over are overweight. And Weight Watchers believes women can find it tougher than men to kick the kilos. Add to that more fast foods, less sleep and a lack of motivation in general in society… It’s tough to break the weight-gain cycle. So don’t feel reluctant about reaching out to something like Weight Watchers if you need help achieving your goal.

Weight Watchers Director of Program and Content for Australasia, Martha Lourey-Bird, says “We have the tools to reverse this trend.”

“The new Weight Watchers Program goes beyond kilojoule counting and allows you to personalise your approach to weight management and healthy living. Backed by the latest scientific learnings, the  Your Way Program  nudges members towards healthier eating, including more lean protein and less saturated fat and sugar.”

She says Weight Watchers also makes it easier to work fitness into your life with a new FitPoints system and a smartphone app. It’s an approach that’s about eating good foods you love and getting active.

Ultimately you will feel better, so make the change.

After all, Oprah Winfrey backs Weight Watchers. She raves this has given her the “tools” to have accountability to herself. So if someone like Oprah gives it the green light then you can believe in Weight Watchers being able to help you to be the best version of you. Go on; you’ll feel great if you do.

Rachel Grunwell is a wellbeing columnist for two NZ magazines and seven newspaper titles nationwide. She’s the director of Inspired Health.

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What is Biodynamics? And how a beauty company gets the best products

edible flowers

By Rachel Grunwell 
Making great natural beauty products with quality ingredients is key.
But what’s also important for the creators of the Dr.Hauschka products is caring about having holistic, ethical and socially responsible practices.
In essence, Dr.Hauschka cares about everything from the start to the finish: From the soil quality and environment in which they grow their crops – to the sumptuous products you take home and enjoy in your home.

Dr Hauschka
The scientific term for this is called “biodynamics”. Essentially the term means all of the above, but so much more.
Biodynamics is similar to organic farming. It was first developed in the early 1920s thanks to the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner, whose philosophy is called “anthroposophy”. This philosophy centres on things like using natural means and holistic methods to optimise wellbeing. He believes in a natural relationship between natural science, modern science and spiritual science, nurturing the soul of individuals, but also society, along the way.
Steiner believes everything is interlinked including soil fertility, the way you grow plants using non-chemical means and self-made compost, to how the environment is nurtured to attract insects into the garden. His beliefs extend to using the astrological sowing and planting calendar and using ecologically-sustainable and socially-responsible business practices. So any workers involved too are treated with integrity.
Biodynamics is at the heart of why Dr.Hauschka has their very own gardens of about 4.5 hectares in Eckwalden, Germany, where around 150 different high-grade medicinal plants are grown. Here they can control what goes into the soil and manage it naturally including having more than 25 composts where all the residue plant debris and things like grass clippings can be returned back into high-quality soil that revitalises and rebalances the land.
Dr.Hauschka focus on renewable resources and works around natural cycles.
On the land, they nurture what they can grow successfully and what thrives in this environment. For example, they cultivate noble roses and common daisies because this is where they thrive and they are rewarded with bumper crops. They also obtain almost all of the seeds for the next year’s crops from these plants.
Here they can also control a natural ecosystem so they know they have the best environment to produce the best quality natural raw materials. This is why the Dr.Hauschka products that contain lavender for example, smell like a field of lavender when you open a bottle. It’s real lavender and it’s of the highest quality. 

Meanwhile, the Dr.Hauschka company knows that to get the best crops of some plants that they must be grown in other habitats. So they partner with other like-minded suppliers. An example is gathering shea butter from a producer in West Africa, castor oil from India and some roses from Turkey and Afghanistan.
A plant example which can not be grown optimally in the Dr.Hauschka gardens is Eyebright, which is used in some Dr. Hauschka products like Eye Solace, mascara and eyeliner.So the company commissions a wild collector, with a relevant collection permit, to harvest these plants in Vosges Mountains in France – at an altitude of 1,200metres. This collector never harvests the entire meadow and regularly changes the collection sites. This ensures that the plants are never depleted.
Meanwhile biodynamics is growing globally. Thousands of farms, gardens, vineyards and agricultural businesses now follow the inspirational business and holistic model. Perhaps this is a result of customers increasingly asking questions about how products are made and what exactly is in them.
So next time you open one of the Dr. Hauschka products, don’t just savour the sensational smells and incredible benefits of these beautiful products, celebrate the fact you are using a great brand that also cares about doing good.
Rachel is a professional wellbeing writer and columnist, marathoner and yoga teacher. She’s the director of Inspired Health.
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Where else you can find Rachel’s work:

Rachel’s writes: She’s a wellness columnist & creates a healthy recipe page each issue of Good magazine 

She’s a wellbeing columnist and healthy recipe food creator every issue for  Juno Investing magazine (including boutique stays/events/healthy food/wellbeing inspiration)

Rachel writes a weekly wellbeing column (on anything health, fitness, events, food or wellbeing related) for the NZ Herald, which goes in newspapers throughout New Zealand.

Rachel is a wellbeing ambassador for Cigna and does wellbeing blogs and video content for the company.



The Tussock Traverse – one of NZ’s most scenic courses

Tussock Traverse

By Rachel Grunwell

It’s a New Year and so it’s time for new adventures. Training for an “adventure” is a top way to keep fit.

It can also scare you out of bed in the morning to train!

A unique event (for walkers and runners) is the Tussock Traverse, one of the most scenic courses in New Zealand (on January 30). 

It’s an off-road adventure like no other.

The event showcases the eastern area of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park encompassing Tukino and the Round the Mountain and Waihohonu tracks before finishing at the majestic Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa. 

Victory Events director Jason Cameron says most Kiwis can take part in the event. “Unlike its near neighbour the Goat, the Tussock Traverse is not highly-technical and is very achievable with its range of distance options”.

He says there’s an event option for most ages and abilities (6.5km, 13km and 26km). “It’s not highly-technical; it’s achievable”.

In the 26k expect some rock hopping through a lava field before negotiating the rolling lunar like landscape with volcanic sands through native vegetation before reaching formed tracks in the last 10km.

He says at one point in the race, entrants are “dwarfed by Mt Ngauruhoe on the right whilst capturing stunning views of Mt Ruapehu out to the left”.

Project Tongariro (formerly known as Tongariro Natural History Society) is the event’s charity partner and so entrants help give back, and conserve, the area too.

craig kirkwood

Pictured: Craig Kirkwood running in the 2015 Ironman NZ event.

One participant this year will be Craig Kirkwood, 41, an elite runner and coach from Tauranga. He “runs” Craig Kirkwood Coaching. He says this event will be “a training run” for the Tarawera Ultra 100km event on February 6.

His tips for doing the Tussock Traverse (which he came second in last year): Expect the course to feel 10% longer than running on-road, take a good quality raincoat in case the weather turns and “smile” and “enjoy it!”

* For more info check out:

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Rachel is the director of 

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Where to get the best advice on run technique

Kelly & Rachel

By Rachel Grunwell

Obviously I’m not likely to ever run like some light-footed Kenyan athlete. They’re long-legged; I’m vertically challenged. They’ve got lightening speed genes; My ancestors preferred pints at the pub.
I ain’t a gazelle. I know that.
But even everyday runners (like me) love to strive for personal bests.
I’ve run 11 marathons, but I’d like to improve my run style. After all, I’ve only been running for a few years.
So I visit Kelly Sheerin at AUT Millennium’s running and cycling clinic on Auckland’s North Shore (pictured above). A physiotherapist and biomechanist, he analyses the science behind optimum run technique and injuries. Some top athletes seek out his advice, but also “weekend warriors” like me.
He assesses my run efficiency by putting 20 reflective markers on my lower body to measure joint angles. I’ve got 9 infrared 3D cameras watching my every move – and my form (or lack of it).

AUT Millennium pic 2

I run at different speeds on a treadmill which measures the force, and angle, at which I strike the treadmill.

Rachel running on treadmill
I then do some strength tests and he analyses all the data. The camera doesn’t lie so Kellly gets a full “picture” of my weaknesses. He tells me about things like my stride width and rate, heel whip, peak knee velocity and reveals that my gluteus medius muscles need strengthening and gives me “homework” (ie strength exercises). His technique advice is around how to optimally strike the pavement and how to position my trunk, hips and knees when I’m in motion.
It was fun being a “lab rat”. I learnt some new things about my body and what I need to do to work on running better. Information is power. Hopefully I’ll power through my next marathon. Maybe there’s a gazelle within that’s screaming to get out ha ha ha!

Meanwhile, the AUT Millennium is a very cool place. It has incredible gym and pool facilities, does some exciting research and attracts some big name athletes. While I was there I spied champion shot putter Valerie Adams pumping iron. So if you go to the gym here you can say “I work out with Valerie Adams!!” Well, you won’t quite be “training buddies”, but you do get to see her in the flesh and she’s a pretty super mighty fine cool Kiwi. A Kiwi hero.

Upstairs, is the research testing area where it’s clinically-clean (and hospital-like with all the white). There are lots of weird testing machines. There’s one room (Environmental Chamber) where athletes can practice training in hot or freezing temperatures (acclimation for overseas events). There are stationary bikes, enormous treadmills (Endurance Performance Clinic) and some weights (Strength and Conditioning Clinic). They also can do exercise testing for people at risk or living with medical conditions (Human Potential Clinic) and body composition testing (Body Composition Clinic).
Another test is lactate testing (where pin-pricks of blood are taken to measure lactic acid in the blood) as a predictor of endurance performance in events like cycling, rowing, running and triathlon style events. Plus there’s an anaerobic peak power test (a sprint test) on measuring anaerobic ability.
There’s a VO2max test too, which can reveal aerobic fitness and performance potential (or not). In other words, your ability to utilise oxygen.  For this, you run on a treadmill, while attached to a mask (which measures the volume and composition of the air breathed out) and also a heart-rate monitor.

I’ve tried this in the past. I was asked to run at progressively increasing speeds until exhaustion (think: rat on a wheel). During this, a bloke asked when I found the test fine, hard, very hard, and when I needed to stop (or I might pass out).

Through doing this I pinpointed my best training zones i.e. how fast I can run comfortably and approximate indicators of what my heart-rate should be doing during different types of training drills like interval training to endurance runs. So it’s a science-based guide to follow.

With this information, you can better tailor a training programme to suit you best.

So is this worth it? I reckon sports-mad folk will love getting science-based data to improve their performance. I want to do the lactate testing next time here – for even more accurate results. And I’m keen to try a deep water running session with Kiri Price. This is a full-body workout, I hear. It’s biomechanically the closest cross-training method to actual running (without the impact on the body).

Try it: AUT Sports Performance Clinics at AUT Millennium, 17 Antares Place, Mairangi Bay, North Shore, Auckland,

Rachel is a wellbeing columnist and healthy recipe creator for Good Magazine & Juno Investing Magazine. She writes a weekly column (on health/fitness/wellbeing etc) too for the Herald group of newspapers.

She is a marathoner, yoga teacher and director of Inspired Health

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Spring Detox with Wellness Retreats NZ



By Rachel Grunwell

All pictures courtesy of Sarah Alice Photography (except for the above yoga pic)


“You are whole. You are seen. You are more than enough. You are loved”.

These beautiful words are from yoga and mindfulness educator Nikki Ralston, whose voice is soothing my mind to a blissed out place.

I’m among 25 people at a Spring Detox Retreat with Wellness Retreats NZ (held at Ponsonby’s Sapphire Room). So 25 lycra-clad bodies are all laid down, glued to mats. All 50 eyes are closed. Everyone’s breathing is slowed down and our collective nervous systems, respiratory systems and heart rates are calmed.

We’ve just finished a yoga session led by Nikki, blending chakra balancing (with affirmations and essential oils). So we’ve done just a handful of yoga poses (holding each pose for minutes at a time – that’s us in the pic above). We’re letting our bodies unfurl, stretch out, soften and relax.

With each of the yoga poses, we had taken a drop of a different oil (with names like “whisper”) and applied these to different parts of the body throughout the class. The slowing down of this class resulted in my body being light and left my mind feeling lifted and clear. I love long-held yoga poses. It’s not just because I’m a yoga teacher too. It’s also so restorative for my runner’s body (I’m in training for the Auckland Marathon next)!

It’s not just the yoga that’s led me to this float-away space. It’s the culmination of the day-long retreat that’s nourished my mind and body to a fresh place.

The day kicked off with rejuvenating flow yoga led by the host Melissa Carroll (this is her class in action below with clients breathing into the yoga child’s pose).


wellness retreats yoga


Melissa is the brains and beauty behind this business. Her personal journey to overcome chronic/adrenal fatigue led her to create Wellness Retreats NZ. She aims to inspire, motivate, nurture and educate clients to boost their wellbeing.

She gathers different experts to lead hour-long sessions or talks throughout the day retreat. These experts arm retreat-goers with tools to make healthy changes in life. I love this inspired goal.

Each retreat has a different theme, a different mix of speakers – and retreats are held in beautiful locations like Matakana, Waiheke or Ponsonby. Morning tea and lunch are from The Raw Kitchen (so raw healthy foods) and Artemis medicinal teas are on offer throughout the day.

At the Spring Detox Retreat, speakers included Dr Kathleen Wills (a doctor of integrative medicine and an author), Erin O’Hara (a naturopath, medical herbalist and yogi from Golden Yogi), a speaker from Living Nature (a natural skincare and beauty range) and Jenny Hardyment (a Feng Shui enthusiast).

I’m a wellbeing columnist for Fairfax NZ as well as the investing magazine Juno – yet even I learned new tools on this retreat. Here’s a pic of me armed with my writing pen and soaking up all I can! I love being in geek mode…

wellness retreats:holding pen

Anyhow, the experts are rich in knowledge and passionate about their words.

Highlights included Golden Yogi studio owner Erin’s smoothie-making workshop where she explained “the journey through the digestive system”, to the properties of kale and to what happens when you mix blueberries with anything (the colour brown, of course). She’s pictured here with the beautiful long golden hair.

wellness retreats Nikki's class

Her tips were non-stop: “Add protein to smoothies to fill you up”…. “coconut water contains electrolytes”… “”chew food well so you get more nutrients”…. “with skin conditions, look to the digestive system”… “anything high in fat can cause reflux”… Her advice fired at the rate of gun fire. Fast, informative, information and knowledge-loaded. I loved it.

Speaker Kathleen meanwhile reminded us to be kind to others, less harsh, less judgmental (which is something I love about the yogi way, by the way). She also gave us the down-low on hormone health and imbalances and common symptoms.

wellness retreats Dr

Kathleen (the beauty pictured in the green top) talked about oestrogen, testosterone, how to address some health concerns, when to detox (at least once yearly) and, importantly, when not to detox. I loved how she reassured that a detox doesn’t have to be intense. It can mean just cutting down on meat 2-3 times weekly and integrating some healthier habits, for example.

While, The Living Nature expert (this talk is pictured below in the black-and-white pic) scared me off my lipstick and onto theirs…  My jaw dropped when the speaker explained that if you wear lipstick a lot then you will consume 1.2kg of lipstick in your lifetime. Gulp. Literally.

wellness retreats:audience

I seriously questioned what I put on my skin too post this talk. If you put garlic on your feet then 10-minutes later you can taste it in your mouth. So imagine what happens to your makeup. Yeah, you soak that right up too… ew!

So when I heard that Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (often in foaming facial cleansers or body wash) is a chemical also used in industrial cleaning guff this also sent me scrambling through my bathroom cabinet when I got home. It’s a message I need to hammer home to my friends…

So this brand’s argument to “move to a natural approach” was convincing. And the tips for great skin were brill. I soaked those up.  Just not Sodium Lauryl Sulphate any more!

Meanwhile, Jenny’s talk was all about lifting the energy of your home, and life, through the principals of Feng Shui. Her tips were about trying to attract more chi (positive energy) and to deflect “sha” or rather disruptive energy.

She told the audience to “open your eyes to what surrounds you”. She talked about how to soften harsh edges of your home, how decluttering can be good for the mind and energy of a room and she urged us all to go home and “throw away or give away 9 things you don’t need”.

“It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel,” she raved.

She talked about the five elements (fire, earth, metal, wood and water) and how to balance these for more harmony in your environment. I loved her explanation of why we should have plants in our homes:  “It’s living energy”.

Finally, each speaker was just long enough to keep me entertained and happy in my seat. It was a brilliant day and I left feeling inspired.

I’d recommend this retreat. – which is a beautiful day-long escape to rejuvenate.

ps you leave with a bumper goodie bag & then Melissa emails later with a catch-up letter packed too full of discounts from her retreat partners. It’s all part of her incredible caring approach to boost the power of wellness with a wide reach.

 *    *   *   *

Wellness Retreats NZ is holding their next retreat: Vitality Workshops – Retreat for Men & Women, October 4th – The Sapphire Room, Ponsonby Central. For more info check out their site by clicking here.

ps enter the draw to WIN chia seeds + entries to the Rotorua Marathon through Inspired Health’s Facebook page by clicking here.

Follow us on Instagram for more fitness & health inspiration – just click here


We’ar founder & designer Jyoti shares 10 health & happiness tips

jyoti (portrait)

By Rachel Grunwell

I caught up with the gorgeous We’ar brand founder and designer Jyoti Morningstar recently (this bronze beauty pictured throughout this blog). She’s lean, glowing, has a wide grin that’s full of pearly-whites, and her voice sounds like it could almost float on clouds. She’s such a picture of health and happiness. Oh yeah, she can design a killer sexy dress too, of course! She kindly shared 10 of her personal healthy and happiness tips with Inspired Health readers below!

IMG_06431. Eat seasonally and organise your meal around what’s in the garden. Choose organic and fresh foods too. In Jyoti’s garden currently artichokes are growing in abundance, she says. So she’s cooking them lots. She recommends cooking them for 10-15-minutes and then drizzling fresh and peppery olive oil on top and adding fresh rock salt and pepper. Add a leafy salad to the meal and perhaps some fresh buffalo mozzarella and a dash of lime juice and voila! “A 15-minute-meal and I’m in heaven”, she says.

 2. Eating mostly paleo is working for Jyoti. She’s eating minimal grains and wheat, no sugar “except for the odd hot chocolate”. This gives her an “even energy”, she says. She was sipping a hot chocolate on the day I saw her by the way – nice to see she’s partial too to the odd treat!

3. Do yoga and a simple meditation practice daily. Jyoti commits up to 90-minutes 5-6 days weekly for this. It’s not just about the exercise. She just loves feeling “blissed out”.

4. “Be in nature”, like the beach or bush “and do not have your phone with you”, she says. Have time to “absorb” your beautiful surroundings without constant facebook, instagram, texts, constant technology… “and this can have a powerful effect on the nervous system!”

5. Calm down and make a choice to feel happier.

jyoti 2 (relaxed image)

6. Be inspired. Do things you love like see great art, buy a beautiful magazine that you love, turn on music, whatever makes you happy and smile… “Just do it!”

7. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. “Some people shine the light on the best part of you and reflect that back,” she says. It can be someone who laughs at your jokes or who simply understands you “at that heart level”… Avoid people who make you feel bad – “prune them out!” she adds. Seriously.

8. Make love, have cuddles, kiss and be physical. Snuggle up to animals, spend time with animals and kids too and have fun just playing with them, she says. “Put away your phone and do it! Make the choice to be present.”

Jyoti (with animal pic)

9. Have friends over for a simple meal – instead of eating out. Enjoy simple pleasures and just slow down.

10. Assume the best case scenario. “We tend to be too hard on ourselves. Be kind to yourself,” she adds.

Meanwhile, the We’ar eco-luxe brand (for yoga and off-duty pieces, i.e. on the mat and off the mat) has released its 2014 Summer range – ‘Halcyon Rock’. Inspired Health has some of these gorgeous pieces featured on our product page.

I’m told this collection is pitched at the free spirited traveller who is equally at home in the city and wandering bare-foot on beaches or by rivers. It is all about a casual, rock and roll vibe. There’s lace, organic cottons and fine linens & more…

jyoti (with statue) Halcyon Rock is for people who want to express personal style through their unique lifestyles, says Jyoti.
This season’s garments have been chosen for their softness in feel as well as their great eco-footprint. “We’ar wants you to experience how good it feels to live in natural fibres that support a healthy body and beautiful life”.

‘Halcyon Rock’ is made up of three principle colour pairings: Mexican pink with guava, rose gold with midnight blue, and tender green with hemlock (plus these can be matched with dry, sandy taupe or matt black pretty pieces too). There are sexy dresses, loosely fitted tanks, bamboo yoga bras, yoga leggings and pullovers, to name just some pieces in the cool collection.
The ‘Halcyon Rock’ range is available online at and in both Auckland stores (Ponsonby Road and Waiheke). Or if you are in Bali at all, then check out her store there too (I know I’d love to!)

Elite marathoner Stephen Lett’s top race tips + Rachel’s yoga poses for runners

stephen horizontal

By Rachel Grunwell

I chatted with elite runner, Stephen Lett, about some top marathon tips. 


Stephen, a physiotherapist and Pilates instructor, who works at Peak Pilates & Physiotherapy on Auckland’s North Shore, has sweetly given some cool training tips for those doing the Auckland & New York Marathon events.

Stephen’s Top Tips:

1. Don’t go out too fast at the start “is the Number 1 Golden Rule”. If you’ve “stuffed yourself” in the beginning half then you are “going to die” in the latter half. Control yourself!

2. Keep hydrated – “because obviously you’ve got to run a long way!” Auckland can be hot too at this time of year, he says (while, NY will be cold, so make sure you’re warm enough). Drink often and properly at water stations – stop to do this perhaps… “rather than dumping Powerade over yourself and getting all sticky!”

3. Use fuel you’ve tried out prior to race day.

4. Get to the race early and in time to use a loo. “Don’t get caught with your pants down so to speak!” Stephen jokes. It’s all about preparation and you want to have gone to the toilet and be ready and relaxed at the start. Follow the 6-Ps: Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance, he quips.

5. His last words of wisdom: “Breathe through your diaphragm and enjoy the race!”