And it should be, right? Nourishing the body has many meanings and we can’t ignore that what we put into our mouths effects our energy level, weight, mood, sleep, digestion, and overall health.
We all have strong opinions about what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat.
An insight from yoga practice is the realization that we are energetic beings and that everything we do, from what we eat, to what we think, to how we move and behave, either nourishes this energy or depletes it. We glean a new understanding that "we are what we eat" and begin to subconsciously shift food and lifestyle decisions.
According to this ancient wisdom, incorporating all 5 tastes (which correspond with the 5 Elements) into a meal satiates the palette, regulates emotions, strengthens the internal organs, aids digestion, and improves immune function.
Everyone faces them. Some are happily avoidable, others succeed in temping you to dive in head first, eager to greet them.
Any single challenge can be perceived either as an opportunity or an obstacle depending on your point of view. Which will you choose?
As I introduced in last week’s blog, late summer ushers in the season associated with the Earth Element in Taoist practice and TCM, and this particular Element's attributes make right now prime time for a self-imposed challenge of opportunity.
Craving one last summer fling, like an end of season...
(Why these are different from the Ayurvedic Elements is a topic for another time.)
My mentor shared this idea with me recently, although I’m not sure where he heard it…
He explained that the joy of anticipation culminates three days before departure, and that the actual experience never lives up to the mind’s vision.
I argued that if this is true, then we all need to upgrade our vacay mojo!
However, this week I find myself exactly one month out before I leave for my 3 week Greek adventure and my excitement feels ready to bubble over the top!
(One of those weeks will be spent with those of you joining us on our epic Odyssey to Delphi Retreat Sept 1 - 8!)
I actually considered packing today. Packing, unpacking, and repacking thrills me for weeks in advance of a trip because it draws out the joy! So maybe there is a touch of truth in this 3 day anticipation culmination idea…!
I had the joy of seeing “The Greatest Showman” Hugh Jackman (also the one and only Wolverine, if that’s more your style!) in his one man show in Philadelphia.
Apart from being totally amazing and entertaining, he shared something profound that I can’t stop thinking about.
His dream was to come to Hollywood and be in a movie musical. His dragon was the fact that he was a small boy, half a world away, in a small Australian town…how was he ever going to get to LA and be in showbusiness?
He captured the whole audience with this truth because everyone can relate to this.
Luckily, as I remind my students all the time, impossible things happen in yoga everyday and we can learn from this!
If we let the dragons scare us off, we’d never even get started.
I thrive on routine yet I love to travel and be new places. Routine helps me feel safe and soothes my anxiety while travel wakes up my creativity and reignites my ability to find adventure in all things - even the familiar when I am back home again.
Being away from my beloved studio practice does take it toll, physically and emotionally. Luckily, I've been able to team up with First for Women Magazine to offer a series of postures to keep any unwanted summer heat at bay, whether it manifests in the form of stress, stiff, tight muscles from long rides, or anxiety. (And to my diverse readership, this sequences is appropriate for all genders, not only women)
Do you remember your outlook from January? Did you have a vision for how you hoped the year would unfold?
I’m not big on “resolutions” for the new year, but I do enjoy a “word” for the year. I choose a word that encompasses a feeling I want the year to embody as a whole or a direction I want to move toward.
A clear goal with precise action steps is great, but sometimes tunnel vision of specifics blinds out additional opportunities that can yield the same (or better) results by a different course.
In Sun Tzu’s classic text, The Art of War, he teaches that only a foolish general goes into battle without a plan, but a general who sticks to the plan while in battle is equally foolish.
In a similar sense, I’ve learned that goals and methods are continually in flux and often resources appear...
As a yoga teacher, I see this almost daily, expressed physically in class when the student on the mat is eager and willing to do “more” to deepen the postures: stretch further, kick harder, engage muscles with the dedication of an olympic champion.
But when the pose requires letting go and doing less instead of more, resistance sets in and sometimes even confusion, a lack of understanding for how to do less.
“Doing” embodies a more tangible thought process and effort.
“Letting go,” on the other hand, feels like doing “nothing” and is counter-intuitive. I see students (and myself) experience this as labored breathing, physical pain, and ultimately in reaching and maintaining a plateau in improvement both on and off the mat.
It happens every year: Summer bursts in and the power of the season is either harnessed or wasted...
Summer's Fire Element makes this the season of the tongue! Talking, connecting, being together in community are all signs of living in harmony with the seasonal energy.
This means you feel more awake, alive, and ready for action, and in command of your physical form.
The Sun will reach its zenith at the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. providing the most hours of daylight. Across the ages, ancient cultures celebrated Midsummer with fertility and harvest rituals and community events.
We all feel it: that desire to be out doing, connecting with friends and creating the experiences that make summer so memorable.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and 5 Element Theory stems from these Ancient Taoist Wisdoms. The Summer Season connects to the Fire Element in early summer (now) and the Earth Element in late summer, which begins about 6 weeks after Solstice.
The ancient masters studied the naturally repeating phases in nature and connected these rhythms to the human body, mind, and spirit. They observed a direct positive correlation...
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