At birth all people are soft and yielding
At death they are hard and stiff
Live plants are tender and yielding
At death they are brittle and dry
When hard and rigid, we consort with death
When soft and yielding, we are followers of life.
-Tao Te Ching (76)
Flexibility is a key reason people often choose to begin a yoga practice. By the time many people arrive on the mat, there is a rigidity that has set into their bodies that is yearning to be stretched out, opened up.
At the age of 95, my grandmother was still able to bend over and touch her toes. As a child, I remember her bending, legs straight, and placing her palms on the ground as she explained that if I practiced this everyday, I would never lose the ability to do it. I think about this every morning when I get on the mat. On the mornings where I don’t really feel like getting on my mat, I remind myself that this practice, if done regularly, will keep my flexible. Will keep me open.
The practice of flexibility, as it turns out with most things in yoga, is really about so much more than increased physical mobility. Embodying flexibility teaches the spirit this practice, as well. We stretch our limbs, and we are reminded that our minds are also capable of this. We have the capacity to be strong in our beliefs, while also stretching into the flexibility that allows are minds to grow. We realize our capability to extend into new ways of thinking, instead of remaining rigid.
The tree has always been a wonderful metaphor for this concept. Rooted sturdily in the ground, it does not blow over with great gusts. Instead, it flexes and bends with winds of change. A tree too rigid, or dead inside, will, indeed, blow over. Likewise, one whose roots are too shallow or weak, will not hold up to storms. We must strive to be like the tree. Rooted firmly, authentically thrumming with the truth of who we really are, and flexible, able to bend and sway to the music of change.
Bringing this wisdom to the table, we recognize how easy it is to get rigid around food. How often have you felt pulled into defining “how you eat”, or even labeling yourself as a certain “type of eater”?
I often tell my clients, “when you define, you confine.” Through the various seasons of life, the nutrition needs of the body regularly shift. While remaining rooted in basic health tenants will serve you well, being too steadfast in a definition of how to eat will likely leave you vulnerable to missing key cues from the body.
Doing this in your relationship with food requires a strong connection with your inner wisdom. Here are three of my favorite ways to strengthen this connection:
Before deciding what to eat, close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. Let your mind shift out of thinking and into feeling. Begin to identify what your body needs.
Connect with outside nature daily. Being in nature will help you to connect with your inner nature. Take cues from nature. What food are naturally growing at this time. These are great indicators for what your body will likely be calling for.
Become aware of self-imposed food rules. Explore ways to poke holes in these constraints, so you can remain open to your changing needs.
As always, if you want help drawing into deeper harmony with your relationship with food, set up an appointment with me to explore working together!
Every Thursday - A.S.K. (Agriculture Supported Kula) Farm to Kitchen Cooking Class!
Focusing on locally grown, seasonal food - what it is, cooking/storing ideas, and a recipe demonstration. This will be a live Zoom session with opportunities to ask questions and connect in community. First session is free. Follow this link to register for Thursday's class!
TBD (Soon to be rescheduled due to COVID) - True Nature Retreat More info here
Are you yearning to immerse yourself in the peace and harmony of nature? This three-night magical retreat will connect you in a meaningful way with mother nature, drawing you more deeply into connection with your inner nature.
We are more excited than ever for this retreat as it will likely come at the perfect time for all of us to immerse in community once again. It will be a time to reflect about the unique situation we all currently find ourselves in, both inwardly and in connection with others. We know that our time in nature together will provide a beautiful space to process and heal.
Nestled in the heart of a beautiful Oregon forest, next to a babbling creek, we will gather for meditation, yoga, guided forest bathing, crystal sound bowl healing, and fireside gatherings.
You will join with nature and connect in spirit with those around you, while still enjoying space to retreat and tend to the needs of your soul. Each day we will wake and gather for morning meditation and invigorating (yet suitable for all levels) yoga. Following breakfast, we will feed our spirit with nature! Moving through the forest in a meaningful way will allow you to fully absorb the magic and access a true state of inner harmony. Lunch will be a collective effort with the guidance of Katrina, a passionate Nutritionist and food-lover. Afternoons will be open for you to nourish yourself with whatever appeals to you. Hiking, enjoying the creek's swimming hole, visiting with friends, relaxing in the hot tub, reading in a hammock... all options in this lovely setting. Late afternoon, we will gather for restorative yoga and sound bath, followed by dinner. Before heading to bed, we will circle around the fire to reflect and enjoy.