By Stephanie Coutant-Matsen
We are upon the often busy, BUSY season of the holidays. In my fifteen years of teaching yoga, students consistently (albeit temporarily) miss their yoga classes during this time of year because of travel, family commitments, parties, and the usual business of the holidays, myself included.
While this is certainly understandable, and our intentions are good, we often cheat ourselves out of health and joy as a result; the very things we’re supposed to be celebrating! This is not so good and we suffer for it as do our family and other loved ones.
Whatever our practice is, and however we define it, it is just that – a practice – which by its very definition means we have to keep doing it in order to receive its benefits; joy, peace, health, prosperity. What better way to give THANKS and GIFT ourselves and others? I’m a spouse, a mother of three children, a daughter, a sister, aunt, and friend, and I DO and CAN set the stage. If I’m stressed, sick, and exhausted from the “to do list”, how can I be truly present in my relationships and give thanks and love the way I wish to? And not just this time of year, but if there was a more perfect time to focus on these things, when would that be?
We have an abundance in our society of what it is described in the ancient healing science of Ayurveda as VATA energy; the energy of air and ether, fast moving, light-weight, and sometimes dizzying manifesting in hurrying, scattered thoughts, eating on the go, feeling overwhelmed, and ultimately this “unearthing” or “unrooting” can cause erosion of the nervous and immune systems. It is NATURAL for this time of year (Autumn), in accordance with the earth’s rhythm for this vata to increase, but in excess can cause great imbalance in our bodies, our behaviors, and our lives. How do I balance vata and GROUND through this season you ask?? Practice your Yoga. Practice, practice, practice. And if there’s absolutely no possible way to get to class, fifteen minutes on your mat at home or in your relative’s guest room or even bathroom can go a LONG way; I speak from experience having sought respite on my mat on several Thanksgiving occasions. The old adage holds so very true, “We reap what we sow”, and it’s my opinion that we reap so very much more than we sow when we participate in regular practice. I hope to SOW with ALL of you this season on the mat as we hold space and community with and for each other to ground into what is most important to us in our lives this season and always.
SHANTI – Peace
A Recipe to help balance VATA and feel all around good
(especially before bed)
Taken from the book “Eat, Taste, Heal” by Thomas Yarema, MD, Daniel Rhoda, D.A.S., and Chef Johnny Brannigan
Warm Cardamom Milk – 2 servings
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil stirring frequently over medium heat. Pour into 2 mugs and enjoy!!