What is Karma Yoga?

Karma yoga meditation is one of the four main yoga paths which include karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga. All four yoga forms help the yoga practitioner to become aware of, to acknowledge and to accept the true wisdom of the Divine (union with Brahman). Karma yoga encompasses both physical and mental actions carried out from birth till death by an individual. According to the concept behind karma yoga meditation, an individual consists of iccha (desire), jnana (knowing) and kriya (feeling), all three of which formulate his/her karma. The practice of karma yoga involves giving up ones ego and acting in a selfless manner. Karma yoga meditation teaches you to do good deeds without expecting any reward or gain in return. Essentially, it involves the acceptance of the power of the Divine, and the cultivation of the belief that real authority rests in the Hands of the Divine and is not within the reach of mere mortals.

The Main Principles of Karma Yoga

Karma yoga meditation teaches yoga practitioners to accept certain principles which will help them to live a peaceful and good life.

The Importance of Duty

According to this principle, all individuals have the option of choosing good thoughts and actions over evil ones. The challenge is to tune into the path of righteousness and good deeds, and play a positive role in this world.

The Importance of Motive

According to Swami Sivananda, ‘give your hands to work, and keep your mind fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord.’ Your outwardly actions hold no real value if they are not governed by pure and well-meaning motives or thoughts. A good deed that is carried out simply to get fame, importance or praise is not really a good deed in the true sense of the word. The arrogance behind that good deed overshadows and nullifies the intrinsic value of the seemingly positive action.

The Importance of Doing Your Best

Karma yoga teaches the yoga practitioner to perform every action and deed from the heart without any fear of what others might think or whether it will be perceived as being good enough. Your motivation behind any action should be to maximize good and to reduce evil, so keep that thought in mind as you give every action your best shot.

The Importance of Giving Up

This karma yoga principle teaches the yoga practitioner that we humans have no control over the way things pan out in this world. We might perform an action hoping for a particular result, but it is God who controls everything and in the end, things may turn out to be diametrically different from what we expected. Karma yoga teaches the yoga practitioner to give up those expectations. It emphasizes that an action should be carried for its intrinsic value, and that the consequence of that action should be left up to God.

The Importance of Serving

This final karma yoga meditation principle stresses the importance of cultivating and nurturing humility, patience, tolerance, unity, respect and love. Once the yoga practitioner fine tunes these good characteristics, he/she will see karma yoga come into practical use with every action he commits and every thought that he conceives.

Source: Fitness Republic

Seven Forms of Hermetic Meditation

The mind all by itself is capable of many amazing operations, some which have been reintroduced to Western audiences in just the last fifty years or so by the influx of Eastern spirituality and their various meditative techniques. Of course, all of these practices have been part of our own Western esoteric tradition for hundreds of years, but for some reason it seems easier for most people to except exotic ideas when they’re being delivered from an equally exotic, far off place. Perhaps this is why it is said that no man can be a prophet in his own land.
            Hermetic Adepts, however, have practiced the following meditative disciplines for ages, and have used these to obtain each of the many benefits promised by the more popular Eastern spiritualities, as well as a few other benefits with which you may not yet be familiar. These seven important forms of Hermetic meditation will each be explained in greater detail below.
Contemplative Meditation
Contemplative Meditation is the studious consideration of any object, idea, or action. This form of meditation is the closest to one’s usual mental operation, although it involves a greater amount of focus being directed inward and onto the subject matter being considered than one is probably accustomed to.
If it’s an image that’s being considered within the mind, then this form of meditation can be much like the astral meditation which will be described latter. One should visualize the object under consideration from a variety of perspectives, such as being very close to it, and from various angles, even from inside. The object should be dissected and subjected to as many outside influences as one can imagine, from elemental influences, such as heat, cold, moisture and dryness, to animal, mechanical, chemical and temporal influences as well. All possible transformations of the object into any other objects should also be considered. One should examine each of its five sensory qualities individually, as well as how each of these relates it to similar objects. Finally, one can even imagine being the object itself. These are only a few suggestions from which one may begin.
Ideas being considered may be complex philosophical issues, riddles or even single words. The mind can free associate or simply concentrate so much attention onto the idea that it becomes simply an object to merge one’s consciousness with completely. As with the object focused meditation above, one’s actual execution of this operation will depend on the goal of the meditation. Is the purpose of the meditation to understand something, or simply to focus and quite the mind itself? Merging with the object of contemplation in such a way would perhaps be better classified as a form of No-mind meditation, which we will examine next.
However, I would be remiss if I ended this introduction to contemplative practice without first pointing out the enormous benefits of applying such contemplative techniques to the study of specific physical actions. This is sometimes referred to as a praxis meditation, and a great number of modern sports psychologists have verified the surprising benefits of simply pre-visualizing physical actions, within the mind’s eye alone, in order to improve one’s performance of the same. Studies have shown that purely mental exercises such as these are actually effective at training one’s muscle memory and, even more surprisingly, can even be used to improve physical skills almost as effectively as conventional physical practice alone. Obviously individual results will vary, based upon what we’ll call one’s contemplative aptitude, but obviously there’s a tremendous value in being able to improve the actions of the body through the proper application of the mind alone.
No-Mind Meditation
No-Mind Meditation involves the quieting of all mental activity for as long as possible so as to become fully present and still. As stated above, some contemplative practices can be adapted to this end, focusing with intense concentration on a single object or a sound, which in eastern practices are referred to as yantras and mantras, respectively. Other popular techniques involve focusing on, or even counting, every breath. Yet another technique is to examine a cube of sugar as it dissolves within a glass of water, and then using this image to help mentally dissolve each of the objects in one’s immediate surroundings, including one’s own body, until there is nothing left.
This practice of forgetting one’s self can be difficult at first, but if one is patient, not allowing the mind to get too disturbed by its own initial reluctance to quiet down, with regular practice one will find it less and less difficult to maintain an undisturbed state of restful inner silence for increasingly long periods of time. As with any meditative practice, or anything for that matter, start small, be patient, and progress will eventually come.
Energetic Meditation
Energetic Meditation involves the gradual development of one’s awareness of, as well as one’s ability to direct, subtle energetic currents within the body. This energy is called different things in various traditions, such as etheric energy, orgone energy, animal magnetism, energeia, élan vital, prana, mana, vril, chi, qi, ki, odic force, or, even more simply, the force. Modern scientific approaches to this energy have equated it to the bio-electrical currents that run throughout the body’s nervous system, although reducing it to such a merely mechanical force undermines a great deal of the psychic applications which are available to those who become adept at the energetic manipulation of this mysterious occult energy.
Energetic meditation can be done in variety of ways. Some people find it easier to visualize this energy; softening their vision and watching it dance across the surfaces of organic, and even sometimes inorganic, objects around them, Some people claim it’s easiest to see it flowing between their own hands as they concentrate on moving the energy between them. Others find it easier to simply feel it circulating inside them, and, as stated above, some can even project this energy from various parts of their bodies, such as from their hands and feet, or from the various chakras located across their bodies. The number of postures, visualizations, and breathing exercises which currently exist to help one awaken his or her awareness of this mysterious energy are far too numerous to list here, but, thankfully, none of these are terribly hard to find if one knows how to use the internet.
Astral Meditation
Astral Meditation involves the mental projection of one’s mind to another place outside the body. This is also known as bi-location, or an out of body experience, or even more commonly, astral projection. The development of one’s aptitude in astral travel is developed by first learning how to become more mindful of and lucid within various dream states. This typically is where one is most likely to encounter and become comfortable with one’s astral body.
Another place where people often encounter the phenomenon of astral projection is in near death experiences, although I hardly suggest that one use this as an intentional avenue for practice. Once again, as with energetic meditation, there are various esoteric groups active today, most of them with an online presence, who are willing to offer a wide variety of specific meditative techniques, all designed to aid one in the eventual acquisition of an out of body experience.
Mnemonic Meditation
Mnemonic Meditation involves the construction and use of memory palaces, which are an ancient mnemonic technique that makes it possible to retain and recall a great deal of information with ease. A memory palace doesn’t have to be a real place, but the usual method is to utilize any large structure with which one is familiar, and use the memory of that location to provide a mental space for the storage of various things that one wishes to commit to memory.
The sort of things that can be memorized with this method need not be restricted to physical objects alone. Classically, this technique was most often used to memorize long speeches or to commit long tracts of poetry and verse to memory as well. To do this, these would first be broken up into shorter segments and then mentally stored at various locations within one’s memory palace. To recall these segments, one would just mentally move from place to place within the palace. Those who’ve learned how to properly operate this powerful mnemonic device have found that nearly any amount of information stored this way becomes surprisingly easy to recall.
Dramaturgic Meditation
Dramaturgic Meditation is the use of a meditative state to conjure and converse with spirits within the mind. This can be done in basically one of two ways, which are known as evocation and invocation. Evocative meditations place the spiritual intelligence being contacted outside of one’s own ego, meaning that one does not psychologically identify with the force in question, even if one technically acknowledges the primary role of one’s own mind in the facilitation of this experience. For this reason, evocations have classically employed the use of a magic circle, or some other geometric shape, into which these intelligences are projected and sometimes even constrained. This, of course, is objectively false, since the entire operation truly takes place within one’s own mind, but such precautions can be very beneficial to preserve the perceived boundary between the spirits mind and one’s own.
Such precautions become irrelevant, however, when one engages in the other form of Dramaturgic Meditation mentioned above, which is known as invocation. Typically one uses invocation to invite the presence of some supposedly higher intelligence, such as a god or an angel, to assume a degree of control over one’s mind, actively identifying with and becoming the divine spirit in question. Some people even do this with demons, although this seems to me to be a far less prudent practice. However, as previously mentioned, anything contacted within one’s mind, in theory, already lies within, so perhaps it’s not as dangerous as one might think. Perhaps.
Moving Meditation
Moving Meditation involve the merging of one’s mind and body together through physical movement to achieve ecstatic states of consciousness. Although similar in many ways to the no-mind state described above, this ecstatic meditation is not preformed in stillness but rather through dance, martial arts, and even sport. Indeed, moving meditation can be integrated into any physical discipline where one might be said to achieve a unique state of focus and dynamic flowing awareness which is completely beyond what one typically experiences within his or her normal human consciousness.
            Suggestions for achieving such a state include, obviously, an intense amount of focus and concentration, but also a certain degree of relaxation is necessary as well. An extensive amount of practice of whatever kinds of movements are being used to carry one into this state may also be necessary, since one must be able to stop consciously thinking about what needs to be done and simply become one with the action. In the case of ecstatic dance, rhythmic bass has traditionally been thought to aid one’s transition into this higher state of consciousness as well.

Lululemon shares fall after chief executive Christine Day steps down

When Lululemon Athletica Inc. announced yesterday that Chief Executive Officer Christine Day was leaving the company, investors bolted.

Day, 51, had been a Wall Street darling. Sales have tripled in the past three years and the shares had risen more than fivefold since June 27, 2008, the day before she became CEO of the Canadian yogawear juggernaut. And while her reputation took a hit earlier this year when the Vancouver-based company was forced to recall pants that became transparent when wearers bent over, her announced departure caught many analysts by surprise.

“It’s certainly shocking, it’s a stunning announcement in no uncertain terms,” Camilo Lyon, a New York-based analyst for Canaccord Genuity Corp., said yesterday in an interview. “It’s perception that’s going to drive the stock, and the perception is going to be that there’s really no one that’s driving the strategic vision on a day-to-day basis.”

The shares fell the most in 18 months.

Day, who will stay on until a replacement is found, is leaving at a time of mounting challenges for Lululemon. Nike Inc., Gap Inc. and Under Armour Inc., attracted by the premium prices women will pay for quality activewear, are all piling in. To keep growing, Day was moving the brand into running and golf apparel while opening stores in Europe and Asia.

Though Lululemon’s stores are among the most productive in retail, that isn’t sustainable as the chain expands, John Zolidis, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group in New York, said in a note to clients yesterday. What’s more, the company may have to cut prices as competition increases or fashions change, he said.

Personal Decision

“This was a personal decision of mine,” Day said on a conference call after the company reported earnings. “It’s never the perfect

time to leave a company you love.”

“The timing’s right to bring in a new person to lead,” she also said.

Lululemon was founded by entrepreneur Chip Wilson in 1998 after he took a yoga class and found clothing then available wasn’t ideal for yoga.

With a canny blend of fashion and lifestyle marketing — along with offering free yoga classes, it spotlights local “ambassadors” who “embody the Lululemon lifestyle” — the retailer has built a cult-like following since moving into the U.S. in 2003.

Day joined Lululemon in January 2008 as executive vice president of retail operations after 20 years at Starbucks Corp., where latterly she led the coffee chain’s Asia operations.

When Day took charge, Lululemon had 87 stores worldwide. Today, with the chain pushing into Asia and Europe, it has 218. In 2009, the brand started an online store. In the first quarter, Lululemon generated 15.6 percent of sales on the Web, an increase of 40 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Bikram Yoga

Along the way she won a reputation for delegating authority to the leaders on her team, encouraging collaboration and creativity from design to merchandising.

Then trouble hit with the see-through pants debacle. Lululemon in March said it was recalling certain shipments of black Luon pants, which accounted for about 17 percent of all women’s pants it sells, and cut its sales forecast for its fiscal first quarter.

Two weeks later, the company announced that Chief Product Officer Sheree Waterson would be stepping down. Lululemon said that while the defective pants had met its testing standards, those protocols were incomplete and didn’t adequately examine all the variables in the fabric’s characteristics.

As the company phases the pants back in and implements the new quality controls, some analysts suggest the error may have been the product of zealous growth that is ultimately unsustainable. Zolidis wrote in a note that the company’s execution problem showed the company has strained its infrastructure as it accelerated growth.

“Over time, we expect sales growth to slow and operating margins to contract due to factors including maturation in Canada, pressure from new stores in the U.S., and increased competition,” wrote Zolidis, who has the equivalent of a sell rating on the shares. “Longer-term, fashion and entry into international markets are also risks.”

Lululemon said comparable-store sales increased 7 percent in the first quarter and forecast same-store sales would grow 5 percent to 7 percent in the second quarter, citing the “soft launch” of black Luon pants into stores and online. That growth compares to a 15 percent gain in the second quarter a year ago. Comparable-store sales in Canada were “somewhat negative” this quarter, Chief Financial Officer John Currie said on the call.

Spring Styles

Currie also said some spring styles didn’t sell as well as expected, forcing Lululemon to mark down about 15 percent of its product

compared with its usual 10 percent to 12 percent.

Lululemon said yesterday that net income for the quarter ended May 5 rose 1.4 percent to $47.3 million, or 32 cents a share, from $46.6 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier, the company said in the statement. Analysts projected 30 cents, the average of 25 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 21 percent to $345.8 million.

Lululemon is preparing to open stores in London next year and add showrooms in China, Day said on the conference call. The company has already introduced showrooms in Germany and Singapore to test the markets as it focuses on Europe and Asia.

Tennis Apparel

At the same time, Lululemon is adding apparel for new sports to its stores, introducing golf and tennis this spring. Day said the new lines have received “terrific” feedback, with polo shirts selling out online in less than 48 hours.

Lululemon’s attempts to diversify come amid rising competition. Gap’s Athleta is borrowing from its rival’s playbook, hooking up with local yoga instructors and has sponsored classes such as Mommy & Me Yoga. Like Lululemon, Athleta has trained staff to make garment recommendations tailored to customers’ pursuits — a half-marathon, say, or paddle boarding.

Although Athleta is much smaller than Lululemon, with a total 35 stores as of Feb. 2, Gap plans to add 30 locations in 2013, Gap Chief Executive Officer Glenn Murphy said in February. The stores are often located near Lululemon locations and offer similar products, often at a lower price.

Under Armour

Under Armour also is looking for a larger piece of the women’s activewear market. In February, it opened a test store in Baltimore to appeal more directly to women, adding natural light and softer colors. Like Lululemon, Under Armour is advertising the apparel as sport- and street-appropriate. The company plans to open a second location this year.

The shares fell 16 percent to $69.51 at 9:50 a.m. in New York after sliding as low as $69.25 for the biggest intraday decline since December 2011. The shares had gained 7.9 percent this year through the close yesterday, compared with a 15 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

“Ms. Day’s departure, along with the recent departure of the chief product officer, continues to bring a new level of uncertainty to the LULU story,” Howard Tubin, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets in New York, wrote in a note to clients.

Investing the Downward Dog Way? Adviser Suggests Deep Breaths

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new record this past March, Brent Kessel awoke at 3:30 a.m.

But the financial adviser, who co-founded a firm that manages more than $800 million, wasn’t up early because he was giddy about the market. He was hopping on a motor scooter in Mysore, India, to stand on one leg with the other leg behind his head and chant in Sanskrit at the school where a branch of modern yoga has its origins.

Mr. Kessel, who devoted himself to responding to emails from his clients and colleagues later that day, shrugs off the bull market.

“Everything is impermanent, especially the market’s level,” says Mr. Kessel, whose firm is Abacus Wealth Partners in Santa Monica, Calif.

Spencer Sherman, Abacus’s other founder, teaches his clients a breathing technique called “the Money Breath,” to get through tough financial situations: clients typically inhale for three counts, hold the breath for one count, and exhale for six counts.

Non-clients can buy “the Money and Spirit Workshop” home study course from the duo, available for $66.97 on a website that sells New Age products.

Some clients come to the firm through its advertisements in Yoga Journal, which in its April 2001 issue featured a bare-chested Mr. Kessel on the cover balancing on his hands with his legs tucked behind his arms in a perfectly executed “crow” pose.

“I think the very common reaction, even 15 years ago, would have been, ‘These guys are California quack jobs,'” says Mr. Kessel. “But if you actually came in and were a client, you’d find that we’re much more disciplined than a lot of the firms out there.”

He is one of a breed of financial advisers who are taking yoga and meditation out of the ashram and putting them into Excel spreadsheets. The values and teachings of these Eastern-inspired traditions, proponents say, impart a special kind of financial wisdom that, among other benefits, allows them to stay calm in crises and make holistic financial plans for clients.

George Kinder, a certified financial planner and Buddhist teacher who spends his time in Maui, Hawaii, London and Littleton, Mass., is widely considered the guru of this financial “mindfulness” movement, which has guided financial advisers seeking to add a spiritual element to their practices.

Mr. Kinder’s 1999 book, “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity,” applies ancient Buddhist principles known as the Six Perfections, which include patience and generosity, to contemporary money management, among other things. Mr. Kinder later developed “financial life planner” training, which teaches advisers to focus on the client’s life goals and use empathic listening skills when working with them.

The tradition is older than it might appear. The integration of yoga and money is seen in Eastern history, says Mark Singleton, who wrote his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Cambridge on the history of modern yoga.

While many ancient yogis renounced material possessions, others used yoga to gain money and influence. “They were the power brokers of medieval India because of these powers you can accumulate by doing yoga,” says Mr. Singleton.

The number of planners who have gone through at least one of Mr. Kinder’s programs, which always include a group meditation, has more than doubled in the past five years to more than 2,000, he says. So far, 307 have obtained the top “Registered Life Planner” designation, up from about 100 five years ago.

“People leave our training exhilarated,” says Mr. Kinder. “That’s very similar to a very deep yoga or meditative retreat. You go so deep inside yourself you’re sparkling.”

Messrs. Kessel and Sherman use a Kinder-influenced financial-planning approach at Abacus, and say they buy stocks and bonds based on research instead of “emotions and hot tips.” They typically prefer passive index funds to actively managed ones, and unlike panicked investors who fled equities during the financial crisis, they say they bought stocks the day the market hit its bottom in 2009, a move the firm attributes to disciplined rebalancing.

Jeff Bogart, like Messrs. Kessel and Sherman a Kinder disciple, launched Yogic Investing, a yoga-inspired branch of his Cleveland-area financial-advisory firm last year. “George Kinder’s stuff is groundbreaking and fascinating. Sometimes it makes me aware if people are stuck in the root chakra with their money issues,” says Mr. Bogart. The root chakra, an energy point located at the base of the spine, is associated with primitive survival needs, he says.

Those interested fill out a brief questionnaire online to “find out if you are a yogic investor!” He presented a workshop on yoga and money at the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival in New York state last summer.

Some financial advisers revel in yoga’s revelations.

While standing on one leg and attempting to lift his other leg perpendicular to the ground, Rick Salmeron, a certified financial planner who is president of Salmeron Financial in Dallas and who practices Bikram yoga, a type of yoga traditionally practiced in 105-degree heat, says, “I’m thinking of my clients who can’t help but be attracted to Apple at $600 a share or oil at $140 a barrel.”

Mr. Salmeron recently considered holding a Bikram class for his clients, though only a fraction of them are regular yoga practitioners. “Investing is very emotional. Yoga keeps it all balanced,” he says.

He recommends Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana, a pose in which he stands with legs spread wide and grabs his feet in an effort to pull his head to the floor. “It gives my brain a tourniquet effect. It clears out a lot of the dead brain cells,” Mr. Salmeron says.

Other advisers try to be discreet about the New Age influence on their work. Nicholas Lee of Worcester, England, who trained with Mr. Kinder, meditates and faithfully uses a notepad with “Breathe in” printed on top of the pages and “Breathe out” at the bottom.

Still, he says, “you can’t put a sign outside your office that says, ‘Hello, I’m a financial life planner. I do yoga and meditation.’ I’m always a little bit cautious talking about it. You can very quickly appear flaky.”

Source: Wall Street Journal

Studies prove that being vegan is healthiest

This week’s issue of Time Magazine brings more documentation that vegetarians live longer than their meat-chomping friends.

A six-year study of 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, published in the current issue of American Medical Association’s prestigious Journal of Internal Medicine, found that, vegetarians and vegans have a 12 percent lower risk of death.

This is but the latest evidence linking meat consumption to killer diseases that kill 1.3 million Americans annually. It comes only two months after a discovery at the Cleveland Clinic that carnitine, contained in all meat products, is a major factor in heart failure.

Similarly, an Oxford University study of nearly 45,000 adults in last January’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to be suffer from heart disease than people who ate meat and fish. A Harvard University study of 37,698 men and 83,644 women, in last year’s Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart and cancer mortality.

Indeed, each of us can find their own fountain of youth by adopting a meat and dairy-free diet. Keep checking back on AUM for “vegan recipes” .

Stand-up paddleboard yoga in the Cook Islands

RELAX with a week-long retreat to the Cook Islands with prices starting at $1999, inclusive of flights, resort accommodation and a chance to do yoga on the water.

1 Retreat to Rarotonga

LOOKING for a holiday with a difference this winter?

Stand-up paddle-board yoga instructor Charlotte Piho is hosting three retreats in the Cook Islands over the coming months.

The week-long retreats will start on July 20, August 17 and September 7.

Prices start from $1999 a person, quad share, including flights from Sydney for bookings before June 30. The deal includes your stay at The Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa, daily breakfast and lunch, three dinners and airport transfers. Twin share rooms are available at an extra cost.Ph 1300 370 792 or see coralseas.com.au

2 Forte is luxury

A LUXURY resort will open at a restored fort in India this year.

Boutique Asian hotelier Alila Hotels and Resorts will open Alila Fort Bishangarh, about an hour from Jaipur in Rajasthan, and three hours from New Delhi.

The 230-year-old fort is perched on a granite hill with 2m-thick ancient walls that have openings for firearms and turrets.

Once restored, it will have 59 suites with large bay windows, day beds and footed bathtubs, a pool, two restaurants, a bar and cigar room and wine cellar.

See alilahotels.com

3 Old-school sailing

THE tall ship Lord Nelson arrives in Australia this year on a round-the-world voyage. Trips are available between Fremantle, Hobart, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and New Zealand.

No sailing experience is needed.

Prices start at $1770 for eight days from Adelaide to Melbourne in August.

Ph 1800 331 582 or see outdoortravel.com.au

4 Join the club

JETSTAR has launched its Club Jetstar membership program offering exclusive sales and discounts, with flights from $1.

It costs $39 to join, plus an annual fee of $39.99 after the first year. Jetstar chief commercial officer David Koczkar says more offers will be introduced as the program grows. The club is in addition to the airline’s JetMail weekly email offers.

See jetstar.com

5 Christmas comes early

SEVERAL Blue Mountains hotels are offering packages to celebrate Christmas in the colder months.

Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa Retreat at Katoomba has a Saturday night package, from June 30-July 28, priced from $299 a person that includes pre-dinner drinks, five-course dinner, Christmas songs and a cabaret show. Two-night packages are also available.

Redleaf Resort at Blackheath and Fairmont Resort at Leura are also offering packages.

See visitbluemountains.com.au

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