We have now, officially, entered into the holidays.
And, for most of us, this is the time when we go far away from our normal routines for eating, drinking, sleeping, exercising and the general schedules we are used to. We communicate and socialize more often and with larger groups of people. We are generally busier with more cleaning, hosting, cooking, projects and travelling.
So, I thought I would provide a few feasible wellness tips for keeping balanced during this holiday season.
As I sit down to plan the last installment of our Yoga & the Chakra series, I am looking for a way to explain how it is that the final chakra in this energy lineup isn’t really a chakra at all.
The crown chakra doesn’t have any true and specific characteristics like the other chakras below it. No exact color, element, sense organ, anatomical part or yoga pose can be assigned to it. Its petal count is 1000 which is defined in the ancient texts as infinity. Resting at the top, it isn’t a center of energy at all but instead a magnificent opening for receiving and transmitting.
As our universal connection, this last energy matrix is a place for all of the accumulated chakra qualities to converge and merge with the macrocosm. The crown receives its opulence when all of the other chakras below it are collaborating and supportive of one another.
So, how can I explain this in real life experience?
Most yoga students begin the practice of yoga to learn and benefit from its physical postures or asana.
It’s the way that I got started. As a former dancer, I was drawn to the slow movements and deep sense of alignment that the poses provided. At that time, I didn’t realize that I was simultaneously tuning into my breath.
Sedona is famous for its red rocks, wonderful hiking and energetic vortices. As some of you know, our family lived in the area for about 15 years before moving to Prescott. During our time in Sedona we did a good amount of hiking and, of course, experienced the choice places for shopping and dining. So, for our return anniversary trip we were looking specifically for a place where we could just nestle in and drop off the grid for some peace and calm.
We sure found it. The Orchard Canyon on Oak Creek was just what we were looking for and more. And what was really amazing is how gorgeous the creek was during the tail end of our monsoon season.
We drove up to the area around noon following a long morning of rain. We were familiar with the fact that the access road to the resort could have some water covering it – but, there was a lot more than we bargained for…
This past week was filled with challenges… making me grateful for the tools of yoga that I have honed over the years. The ups and downs – I will spare you with the details as we all have challenges – left me feeling negative and imbalanced.
Last month, my husband and I started a commitment to road trip every month or so to explore the wondrous surroundings of our southwest desert location. In the past, we’ve done some traveling to Joshua Tree, Bisbee, Moab, and other Colorado locations but when we lived in Sedona, that locale was excellent for exploring and hiking so we often stayed put. Other trips were primarily based on family visits, leaving us little opportunity for new wanderings and discoveries.
Recently, we planned a three day trip to Escalante, Utah.
In the midst of summer, many of us are feeling the power of heat or fire. Although we can’t control the weather outside, we can learn to balance our inner fire to make the external heat more tolerable.
For some of us, the heat of summer is especially intense because we get overheated internally. We get aggravated from the list of chores we need to get done, the people in our lives inflame us because they aren’t doing things the way we think they should be done or, because we just can’t find enough time in our day, we tend to burn the midnight oil – which creates even more heat.
The primary way to get our inner fire under control is to balance the energy of the solar plexus chakra. If we can tame the fire within, we are able to cool and refresh ourselves both inside and outside.
If you are feeling insecure, unsure or fearful, you need to ground. This condition happens to all of us at one time or another. Transitions, major changes or traveling have the potential to uproot us. While we know that nothing is permanent, we still need something to hold on to.
The COVID pandemic has left many of us reeling, feeling unsteady and uprooted – from our routines, from our families and our friends, and from ourselves. We have had to wonder about how we are getting food, work, and for many of us, a roof over our heads. All of this scarcity has challenged our survival and sense of security. It has even led to anxiety and fear.
So, when we become upended, we know that it is essential that we gather our roots and establish ourselves again. But how can we do this?
For many of you, this site has been the home of Yoga Posts for over 4 years. When it began, the purpose of the blog was to supplement my classes and provide more information on the topic of yoga. It originated from a desire to share knowledge with my students near and far as we became separated by space and time. It was a venue for documenting discoveries, resources, and inspiring yogic journeys. Eventually it lead to the publication of my first book entitled “Yoga Posts: Building a Steady Yoga Practice One Week at a Time.”
When I left Sedona, after 15 years of living and teaching, I thought the time had come for the yoga posts blog to end. Although I was retiring as a yoga teacher to many students, I wasn’t ready to end the connection I had cultivated.
So instead of completely wiping out the blog, I chose to rename it. And, since the name of our new street was Wellness Way (not kidding), I selected it as the blog’s new title. Keeping the old site alive still allows us to access all 212 original yoga posts right here – just use the search bar to revisit challenges, tips and the methodologies I have shared with you.
My plan was for the renamed blog, On Wellness Way, to reflect a broader journey. One that could document my own intention to create a healthier lifestyle, incorporating fitness, essential oils, gardening, plus yoga and all the other ways we can enhance our joy, vibrancy, sustainability and longevity.
So, as I settled into my new community last spring – creating a home and checking out my surroundings – I was looking forward to the journey ahead…
…of course, never expecting what was to eventually happen.
The COVID pandemic made many of my new health goals occur much faster than I ever predicted. Not wanting to shop at the big box stores for groceries or anything else, I turned to my local farmer’s market and discovered a plethora of resources: local produce, eggs, bread makers, honey harvesters, and flower growers just to name a few. Suffice it to say, the months of March through June were awesome and I learned how to create so many delicious and nutritious foods. I purchased an Almond Cow to make my own nut and oat milks, started a small backyard garden and incorporated daily hiking and essential oil recipes into my life. I was truly on the road to greater wellness!
Then a series of events occurred which turned everything upside down. My step-father was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer. As he transitioned into hospice, I felt that it was imperative to give my 81 year old mother the support she needed. I had quarantined well for 4 months so I didn’t have worries about being contagious. I felt it was safe to stay with my mother and accompany her to the hospice center (unlike hospitals and nursing homes, hospice allowed visitors so that their loved ones could say goodbye). And, I am thankful for the opportunity because after a mere 4 days, my step-father passed away.
Unfortunately just prior to his passing, I began to experience symptoms typical of COVID-19 which made it impossible for me to continue connecting with my mother. I felt her pain as, all alone, she mourned the death of her husband.
After 2 weeks of fever and weakness, I started to bounce back. Luckily, my mother (to this day) never presented with any symptoms. I then began the task of helping her reinvent herself after 30 years. So many things to contend with after such a life change. Interpreting trusts, wills, bank accounts, charge cards, utility bills and relocation options was overwhelming to all of us involved. The months of July and August were a blur. But I have not regretted having my mother closer than ever and helping her transition to a new home nearby.
It’s interesting how life provides you with exactly what you need. My journey this spring, with all of its twists and turns, has provided me with a greater strength and new perspective on the value of health. I have learned so many new life lessons and have a ton of helpful tools to add to my bag.
As part of my path to wellness, I am starting to delve into Ayurveda a bit more. I find this to be such a natural extension to my yoga teachings and practice. It will be a great new exploration for me and I hope to finish the first stage (wellness counselor) next fall.
But for the time being, and because I still love to share, I am developing a series of classes on the use of essential oils in yoga practice. I hope to launch my new zoom classroom soon and will keep you “posted.”
There is a lot of information to be had on the subject of contentment. How you get it, ways to keep it and why it is so important.
Happiness is vital to our physical and mental health. When we are happy, each day is a joy to greet, we look forward to being with others and eagerly anticipate our future.
There is a reason for this. When we are happy, those feelings of positivity connect us with the universe. When we are in sync with nature, we are aligned with the vibration of love, joy and contentment. Attuned to the universal flow of energy, we accumulate support and guidance and are able to receive what it is that we most desire. Wow, that sounds powerful, doesn’t it?