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It's been awhile; how are you all feeling now that we are in the heart of the Spring season and creeping closer to Summer?
I was just back in North Dakota visiting family for a few days and it was MUCHO cold; like 38 degrees in the morning cold! Chicagoans, East Coasters, what's it been like in your neck of the woods? Fellow West Coasters: how has Spring felt for you?
I got to thinking about where our Modern Yogi Wisdom conversation on Ayurveda, Understanding our systems as elements, and the dynamic practice of allowing those elements to balance. I'd hoped to make this a video, but my computer felt otherwise (it kept disconnecting me!). Maybe we'll do a follow up video convo :).
I'd been feeling pretty balanced before leaving, but then a few plane rides across the country (MASSIVE AIR/SPACE= VATA!!) and a rapid shift in climate (about 20 degrees cooler and much more MOISTURE- Cold, Damp= KAPHA!) left me with some chest congestion and draining sinuses (Kapha) and achy, cracking, stiff joints, along with increased anxiety and broken sleep (Vata).
And the question that arose for me was: "When you notice MORE THAN ONE element out of balance, WHICH ONE do you balance FIRST?"
From what I've read and learned in Ayurveda and Eastern elemental theories, we often START with the most SUBTLE element: air, space, VATA.
Because, the subtler elements are more DYNAMIC; it is easier for them to slide in and out of balance quickly. And because Vata is the energy of MOVEMENT, it can excite/deplete other elements, making them appear imbalanced in their own right. So, one way to begin working with your system to create balance is to balance Vata, first.
Well, let's think about the qualities of Vata: light, mobile, dry, cold, quick.
So to balance this energy, we can intentionally draw in opposing qualities. We can SLOW DOWN our pace and REST MORE. We can layer our bodies, ESPECIALLY our feet and heads (socks and hats/headbands/scarves) to keep them warm. We can do activities that bring warmth into the body, but in a slow, steady way: walking, "slow flow" yoga, tai chi, qi gong. We can drink our water and other beverages at room temperature or warmer. We can decrease raw, frozen, chilled foods and increase warm, cooked foods and add in a bit of oil: olive, sunflower, coconut, ghee/butte (if dairy is tolerated) to lubricate the dry/popping/aching joints.
Do this intentionally for a few days and notice how your system responds; what new messages is it sending you?
I hope you find this LOONNG post helpful, and PLEASE feel free to comment and share any insights or questions that arise.
With so much love to each of you!!
P.S. Awesome photo cred goes to Eat Taste Heal <3
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Spring is in the air; we can tangibly FEEL it now. Even my family and friends in North Dakota have been telling me that they’ve seen multiple days in a row above 50 degrees! The sun shines longer, the light of day stretches further, and often when we are aligned with the rhythms of the Mother Nature, we begin to feel a lightness and renewed sense of energy along with her. The change of the seasons can also be a difficult time, as they represent TRANSITION, and our human systems tend to like to maintain constancy and consistency! As the seasons change, we are also asked to change: our routines, our diets, our activity levels, our focus.
Spring is the season of CLEANSING AND CLEARING OUT. We purge what can feel like darkness, heaviness,and dullness of winter, and through the process, create a lightness for creation of new (just as Mother Nature begins to create sprouts of new life in the ground). In our society, it seems the most top-of-mind way to cleanse is through diet alone: juicing, fasting, and kitchree cleanse programs flood our inboxes. While this can be a worthwhile endeavor if we are feeling congestion, mucous, bodily or mental heaviness, there are other ways to cleanse and lighten up.
On a flight home at the end of the month, I was listening to the “Kate and Mike Show” podcast with @katenorthrup about how to “cut through the noise” of the internet by simplifying who we follow. They acknowledged how we are BOMBARDED with information and stimulation full time if we allow it to be, and how we can easily get swept up in the tidal wave of societal “consumption”. And just as consuming too much food can create heaviness in our systems, so too can overconsumption of media create heaviness and confusion. Bottom line: to create balance, we need to BALANCE consumption with creation- how often do we actually TAKE ACTION on the information that we consume? How often do we PAUSE after a video or email, and reflect on how it impacted us? THIS IS THE PRACTICE. Kate recommended that we choose three: podcasts, blogs, or the media of your choice. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a general guideline to create ease in your clearing out process. Here are the steps:
I hope this practice serves to lighten your burdens, create internal space and freedom, and clearer focus.
P.S. If you are interested in deepening your practice of Dynamic Balance, please JOIN OUR NEXT MODERN YOGI WISDOM GATHERING on AYURVEDIC DIET & LIFESTYLE
P.P.S You can listen to our previous discussions HERE