May Day always feels like the perfect celebration of Spring, calling up images of maypole dances and revels beneath the stars - perhaps memories from another lifetime, as I don't think I have ever actually danced around a maypole!
Of course, in central Texas the fresh flowers of spring arrived on the scene a few months ago, but last week I went to a part of the world where Spring was still young - Seattle, Washington. The annual conference of the National Ayurvedic Medicine Association brought together over 300 Ayurveda practitioners, students, and teachers. It was thrilling to feel the joyful camaraderie of a robust Ayurveda community right here in our own country.
I was particularly touched by the opening keynote talk by David Crow in which he defined Ayurveda as "the science of nurturing and protecting life." He gave a call to action to preserve our plant allies, both known and unknown, to recognize in them the generosity and selflessness that they embody. In a talk by Michael Mastro, my passion for Vastu (the Indian system of placement akin to Feng Shui) was reignited (more on that below). I was also inspired by a workshop with Dr. Light Miller on women's rituals and ways to honor the stages of a woman's life.
Upon returning to Texas with Mother's Day on the horizon, I found myself reflecting on the relationship between healing, health and mothering. I am blessed with a wealth of mothers in addition to my dear biological one. Mother's Day gives us a chance to acknowledge the mothering priniciple wherever she shows up in your life: your grandmothers, the mama birds tending their hatchlings in your yard, someone who "mothered" a particular aspect of yourself into its adulthood, the mother you've seen pushing a stroller around your neighborhood, the mother of your inner child (in other words, YOU!), our mother Earth.
If you feel so called, start cooking up a way to honor one or more of the mothers in your life on Sunday, May 13. It could be as simple as a hand-written note mailed in advance, or a small altar of found objects placed at a significant spot, or a letter you write to someone who has passed that you read aloud in a ceremony you design. Give yourself time in advance to get creative and juicy!
May the mother in each of us be nourished and revitalized this Spring. May we all feel the presence of the mother in our own life and may we mother the children of all species around us.
In peace and light,
Upcoming Events with Ivy
Thursdays, 7:30-8:45 pm
Yoga Yoga South, 1700 S. Lamar Blvd.
This class emphasizes gentle movements with periods of longer holding of postures. It is appropriate for beginners as well as experienced practitioners.
Monday, May 14, 8:15 sunset (and most other Mondays)
Amala Foundation, 1006 South 8th Street, Austin
Check fire schedule on Ivy's website 24 hours in advance to confirm
Create Harmony in Your Space with Vastu
Vastu, sometimes referred to as the Indian Feng Shui, is the ancient art of placement. Some experts teach that Vastu actually preceeded the development of China's version. While Feng Shui considers the front door as a primary reference point in home design, Vastu always refers back to the cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) as it works with the universal movements of energy or prana through a space.
According to Vastu principles, each direction corresponds with one of the five elements: the NE is Water, the SE is Fire, the SW is Earth, the NW is Air, and the center is Ether or Space. It is ideal to have expressions of these elements in their "home" quadrants in your house (or any given room, or the property as a whole), as this creates harmony with the natural energy that gathers in these places.
Accordingly, the NE quadrant is a good place for water features like a fountain or a picture of water. It also serves as the entry point for vitality and spiritual energy into a space, so it is an ideal location for an altar or for meditation. It is best not to have large pieces of furniture in this corner of a room so energy can flow easily here.
The SE is an excellent place for fire elements like the stove, a fireplace, or a hot water heater. Conversely, with its affinity for Earth, the SW quadrant is optimal for bed placement to afford deep, restful sleep and for heavy or large furniture. The NW quadrant, as the home of Air, tends to attract mobility and restlessness - great for a guest room rather than your own bedroom.
Much has been said about the optimal direction for placing the head while sleeping. Since we spend so much time in this position, the energy we attract here can affect us on subtle and gross levels. Michael Mastro teaches that placing your head in the South while sleeping is the best for healing and stress reduction, while placing your head in the East is optimal for spiritual awakening and for children.
For optimal movement of energy, it is important to keep the center of any room empty, allowing Space itself to be at home here. For this reason, many ancient homes were built with a small courtyard in the center. It is said that the heart of a space is in its center, so openness here creates health and clarity.
Applying even one of these principles in your own home or workspace can invite natural energy and harmony into your life in unexpected ways. Try it, and let me know what you experience.
Fire Up Your Digestion with Yummy Beverages
Lassi is a diluted yogurt drink that is designed to assist with digestion. Traditionally, a half-cup only is drunk after meals.
2 cups water
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (organic is best!)
2 tablespoons Sucanat or other sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. Blending the yogurt kindles the agni (fire) principle.
Digestive Tea (affectionately known as "CCF tea")
1/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/3 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup water
Boil the water and add the spices. Turn off the heat and cover. Let stand for five minutes. Strain and sweeten if desired (try an unrefined sweetener like maple syrup or Sucanat).
Yoga with Ivy
Wed. 7:30-8:45 pm
at Yoga Yoga Westgate
Thur. 7:30-8:45 pm
at Yoga Yoga South
For more info, click here...
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