Well, we are on to day 2 of the 3 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse and today I am not talking food, we did enough of that in the last two weeks. (Follow me on Twitter for Green Smoothie Coaching). This is a healthy life blog and there is so much more to a healthy life than just healthy food. Obviously, a healthy diet is a massive part of it, but a preoccupation with healthy food is a disease unto itself and it takes more than just food to nourish us.
Today kiddle mckiddles, we are getting personal. The photo above was taken about a month ago when Josh and I spent the weekend in the woods with David Wolfe. On our last morning, we found the cottage area surrounded by deer. Six of them! It was pretty magical.
Still in my jammies without time for shoes, I tiptoed along the dirt path to follow them. As David Wolfe explained, being barefoot on the earth, grounds us. And it does. With everything going on of late, I was desperate to get my feet back on this earth and my brain a little less frazzled.
I don't believe in coincidence, so it made perfect sense that in the midst of my busiest week of the year, and on the exact date that marked the 3 year anniversary of my moving down to LA to seek treatment for Crohn's Disease, my all time favourite yoga teacher, Bryan Kest, would be teaching his first Toronto workshop at the yoga studio I normally practice at, only a five minute bike ride away. If you read my book, you are well aware of the influence Bryan had on my healing.
A hug from Bryan likely would have been enough. 3+ hours of yoga was exuberantly awesome. At the risk of spewing out hippi-dippyness, my soul soared. I was reminded of all the reasons why I fell in love with yoga, why it played such an important part in my healing and why, while living in Santa Monica, whether I was having a good day or a bad day, I made it to yoga.
I first walked into Bryan's studio having never done yoga. I didn't know who he was or what I was in for. Bryan's yoga is strong. There is no nonsense, no right or wrong, and no goals. Just movement. Three years ago, when I heard him speak about true health, the shitty self-criticism we spin in our heads, the stress we create in our own minds that tears our health to bits, and how inferior we make ourselves feel as we chronically compare ourselves to others, I had tears rolling down my cheeks.
I'd never heard anyone say these things. His words and this philosophy resonated deeply. Bryan was my first introduction to the notion that our health has nothing to do with our vanity; that it is not about how we look, but how we feel. The purpose of yoga is to make us feel good. This is the yoga Bryan teaches and that is the nutrition I teach. He reminds us that yoga is not about getting stronger, more flexible, or skinnier, but that there is absolutely nothing wrong with how we are right now. In my book, I talk about the lessons I learned from Bryan, about vanity versus wisdom and how the integrity of the web, depends on the resiliency of every strand.
Being back in Bryan's class last Wednesday, and hearing the same words that so affected me three years earlier, I realized that as my first great teacher, his teachings have infiltrated and influenced my practice as a nutritionist. From the beginning, I have stressed the importance of feeling good and how as a result of achieving health, we achieve perfect beauty and what nourishes our soul, nourishes our health and that we are just as we should be right now.
The two hour yoga flow with Bryan and 60 others was crazy hot and humid and I had sweat burning my eyes. It was hard, I was tired, but completely blissed out. As I told Bryan after the class, I didn't want it to end. I woke up the next morning feeling like I had come back down to earth after spinning in circles for too long. As per usual, soon after getting out of bed I began thinking about what I had to do for a presentation that day, all the follow-up work that clients were waiting for, about the prep I needed to do for a workshop, about the emails I knew were waiting and the blog I needed to write. I thought about these things, and then put my shoes on, grabbed my ipod and hopped on my bike.
Reconnecting with my yoga practice reminded me that above all else, my own health comes first, as should yours. We can only ever give to others as well as we give to ourselves.
Before I left Santa Monica three years ago, I gave Bryan a note thanking him for providing and facilitating an environment where my mind could get out of the way to let my body heal itself. The gifts he has given me are innumerable and my gratitude for what he offers, shares and inspires is infinite.
In response to the thank you note I gave him, he sent me a note back with the subject line "Aloha Little Sister":
" I just read your card and wanted to thank-you as well. You have something emanating from you that has been a tremendous benefit to our classes here. I could literally feel the difference when you were practicing in my class. I'll just have to leave it at that because i won't be able to describe it. Again thank you...
Till then, may Toronto bask in your glow and wellness be yours!!!!
Love sweet love! We never know what goodness we might be sharing that affects others. What are you giving out today?
Even if you don't practice yoga, download his MP3s. You will benefit. Here are some samples off his website.
Scooch to the middle of this one: