Archive for Nature

Travels to LA

I wrote this blog post from California, where I spent a week on vacation visiting family and friends – most of whom have relocated here from back East.  It always interesting to travel and see the differences in cultures and lifestyles, and given the vast expanse and diversity of the United States, we don’t even have to travel abroad to experience this.

One of my favorite things to do when I first arrive somewhere is to go for a walk or jog, and sightsee along the way.  Especially if I have been on long flight, a walk outdoors seems to reset my body and psyche.  As a New Yorker, I am accustomed to walking a lot during the day, and almost daily leave extra time in my commuting schedule in order to walk through the park as part of my commute before hopping on the subway.  We New Yorkers probably don’t even realize how much extra walking and subway stair climbing we do as we make our daily commute and errands around town.  Many health and fitness coaches recommend using a pedometer or smart watch to record steps taken each day, and it would be an interesting study to compare averages between urban dwellers and those living in the country or suburbs. (Maybe someone has already done this….).

In LA, it is definitely a car culture as everything is very spread out.  Yet, given that the weather is so conducive to being outside many people hike the canyons on a daily basis – even if they have to drive back and forth to do so!  Last time I was here, I enjoyed hiking Runyon Canyon very much, and we enjoyed that hike again.  It is so important for urban dwellers, whether we are on the East or West Coast, to find those pockets of nature on a regular basis.  One never knows what interesting sights will be experienced, and each outdoor walk or run is always very different from the last – especially if we stay focused in the present moment, as our yogic and spiritual practices teach us.

LA tree

Saying hi, mid-run, to an amazing tree in Beverly Hills Park.

Tips for a Healthy Transition from Summer to Fall

With the changing of the seasons from Summer to Fall, it is especially important to stay in tune with one’s body and energy levels. We can give ourselves permission to adjust schedules as it starts to get darker earlier with temperatures dropping (especially in the mornings and evenings). I have noticed with the beginning of October that I am already wanting to sleep in longer, and to retire to bed earlier (and that comes from a devoted night owl!). But we notice in Nature how animals adjust to the cooler seasons – whether it is hibernating or migrating, and we too have an “animal” nature that is connected to the external Nature. Often in modern society, we feel pressure to ignore our internal clocks and senses, as our work demands do not change in accordance to external natural cycles. So what can we do to nourish ourselves in the cooler months, and with our shorter days?

Certainly, having more warming beverages and cooked foods will help. I have been adding a little ginger to my hot lemon water in the mornings, and that has felt energizing. I am aware of my pitta constitution under the Ayurvedic medicine model, so ginger should not be over-used, but ginger in moderation feels warming and kick-starts my digestive system in the colder mornings now.

Belonging to a local CSA (community-supported agricultural farm) has been wonderful as I am more in sync with the changing veggies each month. Not having grown up farming, and before the CSA membership having shopped in markets where everything is available at all times due to international shipping, I am now more appreciative of the natural bounty and when it is harvested. This past Thursday, we received acorn and butternut squashes, and potatoes for the first time since Winter. It was so fun to think about Fall recipes for the first time in a year, and to feel more in sync with Nature in my cooking (does boiling count as cooking? lol)! In any event, picking up these new starchier foods made me feel more excited about the Fall season, and thinking about the nourishing aspects of heartier meals.

There are also warming practices in yoga and qigong, through using various breathing practices (pranayama) and certain heating poses. We can explore that in our classes this month!

Please note that in addition to my normal schedule, I will be subbing 3 additional yoga classes in October: “Yoga and Qigong” at Integral Yoga and “Teen/ Tween Yoga” at UWS Yoga. I will be away on Thur., Oct. 8th as I am attending The Nature Conservancy’s annual conference in DC! On Monday, Oct. 12, Columbus Day, I am also away as I am guest ballet teaching in the Berkshires! Please see the side bar and my website for my full schedule. Thanks!