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.
Traveling to southern Arizona over Thanksgiving, I was captivated by the vastness of the desert sky, the grasses blowing in the wind as they caught the golden yellow fire of the sun, a morning’s early shower that generated a most tremendous rainbow and the sturdiness of the saguaro cactus that were dotted throughout the landscape, their arms pointed every which way like signposts.
The building blocks of nature: space, wind, fire, water and earth were so well represented in that one breathtaking viewpoint. And, amazingly enough, what we see all around us exists deep within us too.
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.”
The great sea Has sent me adrift, It moves me as the weed in a great river, Earth and the great weather Move me, Have carried me away And move my inward parts with joy. – An Eskimo Song
Now that we have created breath awareness and discovered some new ways to expand our breathing vessel, let us address the quality of the breath. This week, I will introduce some simple techniques of pranayama or breath control.