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Tune into Spring, the Wood Element, and Heal Anger

Tune into Spring, the Wood Element, and Heal Anger

Spring is the element of WOOD and the color GREEN.

The ancient Taoists (Prounounced “dao-ists”) looked to nature to understand the human body, mind and spirit. They were philosophers and we need to be clear, Taoism is not a religion. When we tune into the movement of the seasons, we reconnect with and maintain our vitality. Just as with our circadian rhythms, our seasonal rhythms affect our health. Eating with the seasons is an excellent foundation to thriving health.

Spring- Wood – Green, Liver,
Liver out of balance = Anger
Liver in balance = Flow

In Spring, Yang is Rising

Let’s look around, what do you see? Trees starting to leaf out, flowers begining their bloom, greens pushing up? This is YANG rising. This is the start of the great in-breath – the height of which is the heat and outward orientation of summer. Yang is rising, the rivers are flowing, the birds are chirping and making nests, we all come out of hibernation.

The LIVER is the organ associated with spring. If our liver is in balance we experience free flow of qi (energy, emotions). If our liver needs some support, we may be quick to anger, snap at loved ones, or experience a low slow simmer of anger. Also, referred to Liver Qi Stagnation. I suffered with this for years. It’s true. Part of this is constitutional, meaning I have a tendency towards this, my family has a tendency, essentially – lots of – um- venting. Living in the south has been a balm to my constitution. I deeply enjoy – and have learned from- the kindness and generosity of spirit I have met in this region.

One of the solutions to opening up the free flow of liver qi is to take an aimless walk. This is for real, and it works wonders at opening up the free flow of liver qi. There is also a wonderful Chinese Medicine herbal formula called, Free and Easy Wanderer. Also, very helpful. These work wonders in conjunction with acupuncture which will support your liver and it’s reflexes. Feel free to ask us more about these remedies.

Healing Foods

Foods to add in to your diet are – Greens, Greens, Greens. Greens impart, light, flexible energy to us. Bitter Greens and herbs, support the liver directly. Dandelion, Broccoli Rabe, and Nettles are especially helpful. Chickweed is growing abundantly, add this to your salads or smoothies. When working with the more bitter greens, please be sure to have them with plenty of healthy fat, it cuts the bitterness and adds a nutritional punch. Health fats would include  Avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass fed butter, and for those who tolerate it- bacon fat. A wonderful tincture to support the liver is Milk Thistle.

But truly, any greens- the fresher the better. These new greens that sprout up are here to help us clear away stagnation. Here is a fantastic Nettles Pesto recipe that I love to make with Fresh Nettles every spring. I usually do a green juice cleanse and my spirit and my body feel lighter and more upbeat.

Helpful Stones

A wonderful stone for this time of year that would support the free flow of liver qi is Amazonite. Known by the ancients as “Heaven flowing into the river stone.” It is calm, tranquil and supports us.

Here are some other thoughts to help us tune into the beauty of Spring.

  • Young plants
  • Spring fever- is Yang Rising
  • Moved by nature – Emotions, awakening
  • Nature sings, puts on a show
  • Slough away the old, the dense
  • Joyousness and Cheer
  • Tending to the garden can bring joy and connection

As we align our hearts with Nature, we arrive more deeply into balance.

Interested in Acupuncture or Health Coaching? We're Here to Help. Schedule Now.

 or Call our office 828-333-5087​ to discuss your options.

Three Essential Components to Staying Conscious, Mindful, and at Ease

Three Essential Components to Staying Conscious, Mindful, and at Ease

We are living through stressful times. It’s time we elevate our lifestyle to incorporate a foundation of health that will keep us healthy, grounded, and centered in our everyday lives. If we follow this three basic practices, we can come back to center as we navigate through our everyday experiences. If we get triggered, we can come back to center. With a simple daily practice we can bring these into our everyday lives helping to keep us healthy, our immune system ,strong and our spirit resilient. It’s what we need in these times.

The three essential components to staying conscious, mindful and at ease are 

  1. Breathing
  2. Hydration
  3. Sleep

Breath Deep, from the Belly

The breath is the Organizing Principle. Proper breathing allows the body to extract Qi (Chi) from the air just as we extract nutrients from food. When we practice mindful breathing we connect the brain and the heart with the kidneys and all the organs can communicate. We feed our life force.  Now more than ever, we need to recognize the shift from self-care to essential practice. 

A Simple Way to Begin.

  1. At night before sleep, while resting in bed, place one hand on the belly and one hand on the heart. 
  2. Take a deep cleansing breath and  exhale strong. We are ready to begin, 
  3. With your hands still in place, breathe in slowly into the abdomen, feel the belly rise. Inhale to 60% capacity. 
  4. Exhale long and slow. The exhale should be double the length of the in-breath. (Want to know why? In stretching we stretch deeper, we release on the exhale. In Martial Arts we kick or punch on the exhale. The action or the release happens on the exhale.)

As you practice nightly, you allow your body to come into the Parasympathetic state (rest & digest). This was considered self-care prior to 2020 and it is now essential. 

You can also watch this Video: Qi Gong Breathing: 7 Minutes to calm body and mind

Welcome, Good Water

Proper Hydration is critical for all of the functions of the body. When dehydrated, the fibers of the muscle look like a dry lake bed. They lose their conductivity. This makes pain feel worse and can hinder or delay recovery. Even if sub-clinical, dehydration can cause muscle pain and tightness. Even if you drink water regularly,  you can become dehydrated.

How much should I drink?

Everyone’s hydration’s needs are different. But here is a general idea from what The Mayo Clinic recommends:

Around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men

Around 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for womenAn easy way to get your water in is to pre-fill your bottles of water for the day and make your way through them. Often we need electrolytes as well so as not to over tax the kidneys. Always be sure to drink clean, purified water without chlorine or fluoride. 

Rest Deeply

Now, more than ever we need adequate sleep. Life is stressful in a macro way, not just a micro way as it used to be. We are all affected by what’s happening in the collective, we need to sleep, to rest and to recharge our body, mind and spirit. Everyone’s sleep needs are different. Some need 8 hours, some need 10 hours. Experiment and see what helps you feel well-rested in the morning. 

See what bedtime works best for you. Often climbing into bed by 10pm allows for deeper rest even if reading for 20 minutes. For a good night’s rest, be sure that all cell phones are off and out of the room. Turn off the wifi in your home. Disengage from electronics, news and other stressful events 30min to 1hr before rest. Try some gentle yoga stretching with the lights low, drink some warm decaffeinated tea, practice deep breathing and then rest and repair. 

If you’d like support with a breath work daily practice, learning more about hydration or help with better sleep. Call us, we can help.

We're Here to Help. Schedule Now.

 or Call our office 828-333-5087​ to discuss your options.

Rawkos! A Fun and Healthy Travel Food.

Rawkos! A Fun and Healthy Travel Food.

Here’s a healthy, tasty recipe that will bring into you in the summer mode. This is a popular favorite from our Seasonal Cleanse. It’s great food to travel with and requires NO COOKING. Rejoice the Rawko!  It’s like a taco but it’s raw – not raw meat – raw foods (means no cooking, more enzymes, more energy, packed with flavor). We’ll admit, it can be a bit of an odd concept at first but once you try them, you may just be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

Make the Wraps

  • 1 Bunch of collard greens* There is a misunderstanding that collards are bitter, not so! Pair them with a protein and a fat and eat them raw and your will be forever changed.
  • Rinse and de-stem – leaving 2 halves (depends on how many people are eating– figure 2-3 wraps per person)
  • Pat those dry

Sweet Cucumber Salsa

  • 1 apple – peeled, cored, diced
  • 1 cucumber – peeled, seeded, diced
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion – diced
  • Parsley and/or cilantro – washed and diced
  • A few pinches of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt (these are quality high mineral salts)
  • Fresh squeezed lemon
  • Add all ingredients together, then add in salt and lemon – make sure it really gets on that onion! Toss, let sit.

Rawko “meat”

Why the non-meat tacos – er- rawkos? Because they are delicious. Because raw foods pack an amazing amount of energy and vitality, and because everyone loves new and exciting foods that make them feel good with no negative repercussions.  So here you go:

  • 1 -2 cups of raw organic walnuts (again, depending on how many people you are feeding)
  • 2-6 TBS of gluten free tamari (go easy on this — it can get real salty quick)
  • Add to a high speed blender or food processor and blend it up

Making Rawkos

  • Lay your collard wrap on a flat surface
  • Spread 1-2 tsp of the rawko “meat” onto the wrap length-wise
  • Add some salsa (this offsets the heavy flavor of the walnuts nicely)
  • Here, I added some sunflower sprouts for some more green and texture
  • Roll up and enjoy.

You can pre-roll these and eat them on a car ride — or pack the ingredients separately and take to go and assemble on site. Enjoy!

4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Water

4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Water

What is the best way to Hydrate? There are a lot of differing opinions out there (much like with food) and many of them are sound and good. So how do you know which is best for you?

The Answer: You have to tune in and find out.  Here are a few quick tips on the best way to make the most out of drinking your water.

1. Drink 2-4 cups with lemon upon waking.

When we sleep, our bodies are very busy repairing and detoxing. When we awaken, we are actually quite dehydrated. When you wake up squeeze a wedge of lemon into a glass of water and drink it. The lemon helps cleanse your liver and flush out toxins as the water hydrates you. My Nana used to do this every morning. It’s a terrific way to start hydrating and getting in your glasses of water. Then drink a tall glass of water.

2. Don’t drink water while you eat.

When we chew, we release digestive enzymes –digestion begins in the mouth. If we down water with our food, we dilute our digestive juices and hamper, digestion and absorption. Wait 20-30 minutes before or after you eat to drink your water — in between meals.

3. Drink throughout the day, and stop a few hours before bed.

Start first thing in the morning. Drink water when you’re hungry instead of reaching for a snack right away. See if water can quench your perceived hunger. Timing differs for everyone, find your optimum stopping point so that you may have a full night’s rest without waking for trips to the bathroom.

4. How much?

While it’s important to hydrate, how much water depends on what you’re eating. If you’re diet is rich with raw fruits and vegetables, you’ll find you need less water. If you eat a lot of cooked foods (the water cooks out) you’ll require more water by the glass. It’s important for you to be the judge. In the winter we tend to drink less water.  A basic rule of thumb is the drink half your body weight in ounces. Example: 140lbs = 70 ounces of water per day.  Keep in mind, too much water drinking can tax the kidneys.

Not enough water can cause dehydration, increased appetite, dry skin, hair, brittle nails, sluggishness, constipation and whole host of other things. There are many health professionals that believe the root of illness and disease is chronic dehydration. Our job is to tune into our unique body to find out what it needs. 

When I follow the steps above, I stay regular (who doesn’t want that?), my skin looks great, my energy flows, and I feel good. I do however, have to make a conscious effort to hydrate, the habit comes and goes for me. What about you?

Test out steps 1 -3 for a week and let us know what you find out. How much water are you drinking now? What are your water drinking goals?

Read about Hydration’s Role in Healing.

Hydration’s Role in Healing

Hydration’s Role in Healing

Water affects every system in the body.

When we see muscle tissue that’s slow to heal –or the healing mechanism doesn’t spark in the body quite as well– often the culprit is dehydration.

 

Water helps keep the the muscles pliable. The muscle has a more difficult time healing itself after treatment if the person is not properly hydrated. If your body is well-hydrated before acupuncture the healing potential is heightened. It usually takes 2-3 days to become fluid. Many of us are chronically dehydrated.

Water helps keep the blood alive and healthy. Without water the blood gets sticky.

The body’s tissues are what holds the water in the body. The way to get the water into the tissues – here’s the secret: Drink a bunch of water and then stretch. If you sit still it will go right through you, if you move it will go into the the soft tissue of the body – the muscles and the fascia.

If the fascia is dry, the conductivity and communication in the body is hampered.

Whenever you have enough water in the fascia system – the connective tissue– the body can work more efficiently at immunity, tissue healing (muscle repair), oxygenation, brain function, and heart health to name a few.

Hydration goals: Drink half your body weight in ounces per day – for example 140lbs = 70 ounces water per day.

The quality of water is important. Taste and cleanliness are paramount  (no chlorine or fluoride) opt for local spring water.

Drink mindfully,  good water.

Read more about healthy hydration techniques in article 4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Water.

3-Steps to Make Real Change Without New Year’s Resolutions

3-Steps to Make Real Change Without New Year’s Resolutions

So, 2020, eh? With all of the restrictions and constrictions we’ve been experiencing this year, let’s be sure to be even more loving to ourselves than ever before. Winter is a time of going inward, of being in the deep recesses of pre-creation, the place of potential, the place of darkness, the womb of possibility – before the seeds get planted. It’s a time of dormancy, of quiet, of stillness. We reside now deep within the kidneys, the place of our essence.

This is a good time for REFLECTION

Resolutions are abrupt, sometimes harsh, often with fearful, judgmental, guilt-induced roots. Resolutions are willful, aggressive and single-minded (often setting us up for a backlash).

Reflection is based in awareness, it is open, observational, gentle, expansive and unlimited.

One of the things that we’ve learned about profound and lasting personal transformation is that the temptation to speed along and make swift, hacking changes, doesn’t stick. If you’re ready for it, the ride is longer, deeper and ultimately more rewarding.

This takes different tools. The fun part is, these tools are creative and they run counter to the speed, end-gaming and competitive energy that for so long has run rampant in our collective culture. NOW –brought to you by the big slow down of 2020– we are already somewhat naturally more slowed. This is a place for gratitude to live.

As a soothing concept for our child, we have often provided the parable of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. In 2019, we were the caterpillar. Currently, we are in the liminal space – the primordial goo of undoing and recreating. The liminal space is ripe with possibility, it is transformation itself. This cannot be rushed, But it can be leaned into. It’s been long, but we need a bit more time, let us not rush it as it cannot be rushed.

Often, our greatest challenge is in our “inner work.” Why do we get stuck? Why do we sabotage ourselves? Why do we hold ourselves up to such high standards? Are you your own worst critic?

If 2020 has shed a light on anything, it is that NOW is the time to heal ourselves. It’s time for us to emerge and feel powerful without shame. It’s time to stop playing small.

We may not be able to control the pandemic but we can affect personal change. The turn of the New Year is a good time to reflect, release, and dream big. It is NOT a time to feel guilty, or redouble our efforts and make resolutions (also known as more rules).

Prior to March 2020, many of us suffered from subtle levels of stress, anxiety, perfectionism and fear, much of it we could not put a name to.  Have you been able to see where your shadows are? Have you discovered new priorities?

How do we co-create personal change that is expansive and effective? How do we leap from where we are now, to where we’d like to be?

Try this simple technique to close out the old and bring in the new.

Step1 : Reflect. Take a few moments before the old year ends and the new one sweeps in and simply reflect. Grab a journal or piece of paper and take a few moments to just sit and gaze. How was your year? Yes, there are the overt traumas and challenges of the collective and personal journey this year – but do you have any silver linings?

What was really wonderful? What would you like to shed- that no longer serves you?

  • Make a heading at the top of the page and call it “Reflections on 2020”

  • Now list out “What I would love to keep”

  • Then list out “ What I am Ready to Let Go of”

 

Step 2: Dream your future open. Clear out the future by being in the present. Sit quietly for 5  to 10 minutes, relax and do the work of it. Imagine that you can shed all that doesn’t work in your life. Gather it  and simply compost it into the earth. Now… think about 2021. It’s clean, fresh, unencumbered. What do you want to place there? What do you want to occur?

  • On a NEW page start with the Heading, “Visioning and Creating 2021″

  • Be free, open, and expansive. Use what you’d love to keep and expand upon it until it feels good to you.

  • Some really enjoy the process of creating a Vision Board.

Really see it. Claim it. Draw it. Write it.  Paint it. Sing it. Drum it. Create it into being.

Step 3: Be creative and play. We are creators (you know, we make life…)  so create! You don’t have to be a formal artist… just do something to let the energy flow. What might set your heart or spirit free—even for 20 minutes?

Get into the FLOW state. Color, draw, finger paint, do an interpretive dance, make a silly hat, make something.  Seal your intentions with creative flow.  Thank yourself and go and enjoy the rest of your day.

Remember, you are the conductor of the complex melody of your life. You are a being with power beyond measure.  Use your power of reflection and awareness to create.

Have a beautiful celebration to close out 2020 and Happy New Year – welcoming in health, vitality, and possibility in 2021!