Attuning to the Season of Summer

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Attuning to the Season of Summer

Summer is about the Fire Element and all about being light hearted, expressive, creative and fun. When the Fire element is in balance a person will be joyful, full of energy, have clear speech and heartfelt communication with others.  


Too Little Fire - In life like in nature there is always a flip side and imbalances do exist. A lack of Fire can be expressed as an inability to speak, lethargy, lack of joy, depression and an inability to love or feel love. If you feel that you may have a lack of fire doing an energizing Fire Sequence in the morning can help to get you out of your funk :) Try out Christian's Fire Sun Salutation below.

For a more complete practice do the following:

1) 5 rounds of Sun Salutation A

2) 5 rounds of Christian's Fire Sun Salutation

3) 10-15 Breaths in Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)

4) 10-15 Breaths in Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

5) 2-5 Minutes in Savasana (Relaxation)

Too Much Fire - During summer it is more often possible to experience an excess of fire energy which can express itself with compulsive behavior, a desire for permanent joy, aggression, impatience, going too far and inappropriate laughter. If you have had some of these tendencies lately doing Chloe's Fire Moon Salutation below will help to cool your body down and rebalance you. This sequence brings some of the water element into the practice to balance the fire.

For a more complete practice do the following:

1) 5 rounds of Sun Salutation A

2) 5 rounds of Chloe's Fire Moon Salutation

3) 10-15 Breaths in Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward Fold)

4) 10-15 Breaths in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

5) 2-5 Minutes in Savasana (Relaxation)


Diet for Summer - The important thing here is to stay hydrated especially if you are in a warm area drinking water regularly and promote hydrating foods. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is also fantastic to keep slim and energized in the summer.

  1. Fruits are perfect for summer as they are light, fresh and sweet. Hydrating fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, pomegranate, kiwi and berries are great options. You can also choose to cut up some fruit and put it in your water to flavor it (avoid drinking ice cold water).

  2. Use mint, basil, rosemary, lavender, parsley, origano and/or lemon to flavor your foods. Stay away from overly fiery or spicy foods in summer as they can raise the heat in the body.

  3. Prioritize an anti-inflammatory diet eating lots of veggies such as green leafy vegetables, bok choy, celery, beats and broccoli and limit your intake of sugar, vegetable oils (extra virgin olive oil is ok), additives, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and any foods you may be allergic to (e.g. gluten or lactose).

  4. You may find your body likes to eat lighter during the hotter hours. 


Understanding how natures energies affect your wellbeing and having tools to balance it is key to your personal health. Remember that summer is all about fun, passion and love so make sure you let yourself experience all of that. Go on a nice date, do a fun art class, eat some good food, let your self relax, go on holiday or just dance in your underwear to some amazing music in your room!

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Stay Balanced through the Winter Season

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Stay Balanced through the Winter Season

Winter is here, are you ready?

First of all let me use this opportunity to give you our warmest greetings for the Holiday Season and New Year. 

Winter is here and most of you in the northern hemisphere surely can see the changes in the weather and the nature around you. For nature life seems to be on hold, a lot of animals hibernate, the trees are completely leafless and the ground is cold and bare. We all know what winter looks like, but how does winter affects us as human beings? Personally for me it's the hardest time of the year, so much so that I have managed to spend the last 7 years in warm countries so I don't have to deal with the winter. And guess what?... It's not enough! Even if you try to trick nature, nature is stronger! Even if you live in a warmer place, unless you are deep in the southern hemisphere, you will still be affected by winter, somehow. 

It is well know that the change in seasons can effect our bodies both mentally and physically. Nature goes through constant cycles manifesting the seasons and essential changes that we need to be connected to for our personal health. Yoga Healing Nature provides you with some directions on how to be more sensitive to your own nature noticing changes and imbalances happening with the transition between seasons. With the tips we give you you can work towards a happier and healthier lifestyle in tune with nature.

Winter embodies the more Yin aspects of life with its cold, dark and inward energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is related to the element of water which is associated with the kidneys that distribute water in the body and the bladder that holds water. The kidneys are of great importance, because they contain and store our fundamental essence called Jing. The concept of Jing is comparable to our DNA, it determines our basic constitution, and represents our ability to grow from an embryo through all stages of our life and continue on to create new life.  Therefore it is important in these cold months to keep warm and especially strengthen and cover your kidneys as well as protect your ears as it is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine that the cold enters through the ears.

Imbalances that can manifest themselves at this time of year are either a lack or excess of water energy. When the water energy is lacking it creates stagnation in the body and in nature water that is stagnant can become polluted and poisonous. If your water energy is deficient you may experience fearfulness, inability to stick to anything, tendency to depression and even a loss of libido. On the other hand when the water energy is excessive it can lead to overflow and in nature too much water can destroy. Signs of a water excess, may include recklessness, over ambition, over dominance, excess sexual desires and jealousy. When the water energy in your body is in balance however you will be able to flow with life, be calmer, comfortable in your own skin and able to grow. Find a few tips below to keep yourself balanced this winter season.

Maintain your energy levels - Keep your energy levels balanced. Things that can deplete your essential Jing energy in the body are stress, being overworked, excessive worrying, misuse of drugs, too much alcohol and too much sex.  

Get plenty of rest - During this season it is very important to get plenty of restand it is advisable to try and go to sleep earlier and wake up a little later. This will help to replenish energy levels needed for the upcoming expansive springtime.

A positive mindset - As your energy levels may be lower in winter keep your thoughts and mindset positive. This is the perfect time to take on more introspective practices such as Meditation and Pranyama practices such as Nadi Shodhana. 

Yoga asana - Take a look at our video: Elemental Yoga sequence for Winter and practice it daily, to help stimulate the kidneys keeping them warm and strong. It is important to prioritize forward and back bends during the winter months. The following asanas are very rebalancing:

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward Bend Pose)

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

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Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Nourishment for Winter:

1) Watch your intake of salt as it affects the kidney function and try to substitute it with products such as organic soy sauce or tamari and miso. 

2) Drink plenty of water. 

3) Important winter healing foods are kidney beans, buckwheat, kelp, red cabbage, water chest nuts, blueberries and cranberries. 

4) The best cooking method for winter is steaming.

The above suggestion are general and are based on Elemental Yoga Therapy. Elemental Yoga Therapy works by finding your own personal imbalances and by adapting and designing a practice for the individual. If you feel like you need to work more in this direction feel free to contact us for a personalized program.

 

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Be ready for Spring, Yoga Healing Nature seasonal attunements.

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Be ready for Spring, Yoga Healing Nature seasonal attunements.

Spring is here are you ready for it?

 

Spring is here and although many of us are looking forward to this exciting time of year sometimes certain unexpected imbalances can occur... It is important to remain aware of the body’s tendency to become imbalanced as the seasons change. Here are a few Yoga Healing Nature tips to properly balance your system with this exciting transition into Spring.

Spring is the time of the year when nature really speaks to us, with it's expansive energy, everything around us changes bringing new color and life. All the buds shed their protective layers, very useful during winter, but now no longer needed, expanding into beautiful flowers. The Spring season is related to the Space Element, also called Wood Element in traditional Chinese medicine and in your body is connected to your Gall Bladder and Liver meridians. Hence when moving into spring it is important to bring attention to these areas of the body helping you keep in balance with your natural clock.

When the Space element is balanced one achieves a clear overview about their life, has good planning abilities, strategic skills and is very confident about which directions things should go. I'm sure everybody can benefit from more of that! On the other side when the Space element is out of balance we can feel very indecisive, have a lack of control, difficulty in planning, poor judgment and/or lack of coordination. All of this can lead to becoming a more controlling, angry, resentful, opinionated, stuck and inflexible person.

These imbalances are all matters that can be addressed through making small lifestyle adjustment and becoming more attentive of certain things. Here are a few of the best things to do to keep your balance throughout the Spring season.

 

 

Detox.

A gentle Liver detox is really helpful in this time of the year, get in the habit to squeeze the juice of half lemon in a cup of water (better if at room temperature) first thing in the morning. This will gently help your liver to get rid of extra unneeded fat.

 

Light fat free Diet. 

The best way to get the right nutrients needed for every seasons is to eat seasonally and locally and spring has plenty of rich and colorful foods to delight you with something different every day... Avoid fatty foods like butter and cheese, if you eat fish go for light white fish other than salmon     for example, or if you eat meat go for some organic chicken breast, other than pork or beef. With your cooking try to boil or grill your food other than frying it.

The Yoga

Yes this is where all the magic happens... In Elemental Yoga we use the meridian lines to activate the energies of each organ and in the case of spring the Gall Bladder and Liver meridians. Through asana practice we can bring energy to these organs to balance the Space Element.

If you are an expert yogi, you want to concentrate your practice on any type of side stretches and side strengthening, (like extended side angle and side plank) this will activate your Gall Bladder energy, and for the liver you want add to your practice some deep twists.

Since your Liver is one of the largest organ that sits on the right side of your upper abdomen and lower ribcage any deep spinal twists will squeeze this organ and in turn this helps to cleanse and stimulate your liver. Follow the link to my video for a short 20minutes yoga sequence to practice during spring or to add to your existing practice.

Elemental Yoga aims to rebalance the body through the practice of yoga, meditation, good nutrition and small lifestyle adjustments. Feel free to get in touch with us to receive and initial free consultation online.

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Elemental Yoga sequence to attune to the changes of the Autumn season.

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Elemental Yoga sequence to attune to the changes of the Autumn season.

As we are well into Autumn now have you felt the effect of this season on your mind and body? I certainly do... In fact it is totally natural to feel a little lost in between the end of the warm and celebrating feel of Summer to the more simple and restoring energy of Autumn.

This transition is well known to bring some imbalances and at Yoga Healing Nature we are all about bringing you back to balance. Here is a small sequence you can practice at home to get more in tune with the changes happening. You can also read our last blog for more useful tips on this topic.

Following this particular Elemental Sequence and Seasonal attunement through Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation will prepare your mind and body system to the changes typical of this season. I will also give you some off the mat tips to make the the most out of this transition.

These are a few lifestyle changes and tips for your yoga practice that will help in this time of the year.

This season is all about letting go and embracing change. The organs expert in change and letting go are your Lungs and Large Intestine. They both have the ability of keeping what you need and letting go of what you don't need. Keep the following in mind as your 'off the matt' focus for the weeks to come ;) 

  • Letting go of what you don't need and what is holding you back.

  • Embracing Positive Change to support the release of what is holding you back.

  • Eat seasonally and locally. 

  • Practice your Yoga Breathing and Meditation more than ever before.

Short Yoga Practice

Use this Elemental sequence every morning to balance out the Air Element. This will work on stimulating your Lungs through breath and your large intestines through asana. 

Practice time 20 minutes.

1) 'Seated Yogic Breath' 3 min. (You can set your phone timer for 3 minutes to watch time)

This classic Pranayama technique, is very simple and it works on cleansing your Lungs and activating their energy.

Sit nice and tall, bring your left hand to your abdomen and your right hand to your chest.

  • Inhale deep into your abdomen, you want to feel your left hand move away. Keep inhaling into you chest till you feel your right hand moving away, at this point inhale a little more till you feel some sensation in your upper lungs right below your collarbones. 

  • Exhale heavily through your nose letting all the air go out of your body. At the end of your exhale you can use your abdomen to squeeze the rest of the air out.

2) Dynamic transition from 'Downward Dog' to 'Upward Dog' - Also called the 'great releaser' in Chinese Medicine for it's positive effect on constipation. Move rapidly between these two classic Asanas, to alternatively contract and lengthen your belly.

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  • Exhale in Down Dog contracting the abdomen.

  • Inhale into Up Dog relaxing your abdomen (keep your toes tucked under).

  • One breath for one movement.

  • Repeat 12 times then relax in Child's Pose with your knees together.

3) Dynamic Movement from 'Three Leg Dog' to 'Knee to Nose'.

This exercise brings energy to your large intestine and it is important to practice on your right side first to stimulate the ascending colon and then on the left side to stimulate the descending colon.

Begin with your right leg.

  • Inhale bring your knee up to the sky and work on stretching the right side of your belly.

  • Exhale knee to nose, contract the right side of the Belly.

  • Repeat 12 times each side.

Close the Asana practice with a few minutes in Savasana, "corpse pose", to absorb the effect of this practice. Keep you body completely relaxed and your mind free of thoughts.

 

Meditation

As you bring yourself to sit up crossed legged take a few moments to concentrate on your breath. Try to find 3 things that you can let go of and try to think of 3 things that don't serve you anymore. These can be anything from material things to emotions, relationships, habits or behavioral patterns. Try to think of anything that is holding you back and what you can do to change them. 

Keep this actions as your off the matt purpose for the weeks to come. It is very useful to keep a journal noting down these purposes, so that you can see any improvements or changes in a few weeks time.  

Remember Elemental Yoga is a form of yoga therapy that is suppose to assist you on a one on one consultation session and to be personally tailored for each individual client. These tips are general adjustments and suggestions based on the season of the year and they do not represent any type of therapy cure or substitute to any medication. Please consult your doctor before taking on this practice in case of any acute or chronic illnesses or during pregnancy. 

For any questions I'm here at your service and feel free to contact me anytime.

Namansté

Christian.

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Attuning to the Fall Season

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Attuning to the Fall Season

How to be ready for the changes that the Autumn Season brings.

As the summer comes to an end the days become shorter, the weather a bit cooler and in most places the wind starts rising to help the trees get rid of their old foliage. During this season similar patterns happen for us Humans: this is an exciting time of the year that promotes change. Change is geared towards simplicity, taking time to organize ourselves and have clear judgment over what we need and what we can let go of. We want to simplify our lifestyle, just like the trees shedding their beautiful foliage and we want to dedicate ourselves to our own projects rather than our external appearance.

Ancient remedies to cure with the seasons

In Chinese medicine, like many of the ancient healing systems there are different rituals for each season. According to this ancient healing system the Autumn season is connected to the Air (metal) element. The organs related to this element are the Lungs and the Large Intestine. The Lungs have a great role in deciding what we need and what we don't need and keep us spiritually connected to the Cycles of Life. Similarly the Large Intestine has the same role in the form of retaining nutrients from food and disposing of what is toxic and not needed within the body. During Autumn it is important to focus on strengthening and nourishing both the lungs and large intestines. A powerful way to do this is through what we eat.

In fact as nature around us changes its energy with the seasons it will offer us foods that will give us the right nutrients and compounds to heal our organs through out the year. For example Broccoli is a seasonal autumn vegetable and scientific research shows that it can help heal lung disorders; click here if you want to know more about this research.

Eat seasonally

As nowadays we have the luxury to be able to buy fruits and vegetables from every seasons and from different countries it becomes really hard to know what is in season and what is not. Because of this we might be missing out on the possibility to strengthen ourselves by supporting our immune system just by eating seasonally and locally. The latter is very important because the area where you live in provides the nutrients you need for your body to deal with cold, hot and damp according to that specific area and climate. Each season brings the fruits and vegetables that we need, to heal, cleanse, and bring energy to the organs related to that season. For example apples are well known for many health benefit, including the effect they have on your large intestine. By providing extra fibers the apple can rebalance the large intestine and aid with elimination. 

Also I must say that the fruits we find in Autumn like pomegranates, apples, squash etc. are super rich in nutrients. They have been growing through the hottest part of summer and hence carry a lot of that warmth stored in them. This warmth transforms into nutrients and compounds that will support your immune system now that you need it most.

So get your big pots out and start being creative in the kitchen making delicious soups to bring warmth and fluids to your bellies.

Here is a large list of foods that should not be missed for the Fall Season and there is something for every taste!

 

  • Squash

  • Pumpkin

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

  • Garlic

  • Onions

  • Fennel

  • Autumn greens

  • Arugula

  • Radicchio

  • Peppers

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Mushrooms

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Asian pears

  • Parsley

  • Persimmons

  • Pomegranates

  • Cranberries

  • Parsnips

  • Radishes

 

Emotions and imbalances related to the Autumn season.

In nature everything is connected... The purpose of this article is to give you practical tips to adjust to the changes that you may go through transitioning into Autumn. This includes emotional changes.

The emotions related to the Autumn season and the Air element are of grief and sadness. In fact in autumn the energy of the Air Element can become a little unbalanced and we often feel like we have been cut off from other people and sometimes even ourselves. This caters to a more depressive nature and causes an inability or difficulties in receiving the rich experiences life has to offer. Because we cannot let go of our accumulated baggage we can become blocked on a mental and/or emotional level. This can often result in feelings of bitterness, guilt, cynicism or even suspicion. Hence why it is essential to embrace the 'letting go' of the Autumn Season.

When the air element is balanced autumn results in a very exiting season where we can connect to the 'contracting' energy of this particular time of the year allowing us to reflect inwards rather than the expansion elements of Spring. In Autumn we can embrace ourselves and simplify our diet, lifestyle and habits helping ourselves to clear what we don't need. This is a good time for us to embrace change and letting go. 

Your yoga practice during this season should include rhythmical breathing exercises and postures that helps create movements in your large intestine. This in turn will help in case of constipation or other digestive issues. 

For more specific lifestyle tips or a personalized yoga practice to help you with some of these imbalances please contact Christian at Yoga Healing Nature.

 

 

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