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The Season of Giving and the Importance of Self-Care

tea-mixes-deMy yoga teacher in Austin was one of the most generous, loving women I’ve ever known, so when she sat in front of class one day and confessed to us how selfish she is, we all laughed. She told us if she cut up an avocado for her family’s dinner, she always gave herself the firm, unbruised green slices. She went on to explain that it’s only because she always makes sure she gets what she needs (exercise, social time, alone time, unblemished food) that she can give her students, community, and family as much as she does. She filler her own cup first.

This is something we often forget to do, especially during this time of year when Christmas lists, holiday menu ideas, family visits, and school vacation take over our lives. We get so wrapped up (pun intended) in the spirit of the season and what everyone else needs that we forget what we need, saying “yes” when we should say “no,” and spreading ourselves too thinly.

The answer lies in balance—keeping your heart open, while protecting your own well-being—and the first way to do that is to stop. Just stop, even if it’s just for a minute, and observe yourself. Notice your own breath, the tension in your body, and the state of your thoughts. What are you taking on that you might not need to? What are you holding onto? This practice of self-awareness is the first step to self-care.

Eat warming, nutritious foods like hearty soups and dishes prepared with Indian spices like cardamom, ginger, and turmeric. Drink tea. (Make “tea” a link to our chai tea recipe, below.)

Stay active. Whether you bundle ip for a snowy walk in the woods or you roll out your yoga mat for an evening restorative class, just moving your body will help elevate your mood and regulate your emotions.

When you begin to turn the nurturing, loving spirit of the season inward, it radiates outward that much more brightly.

Have you enjoyed a cup of our chai tea at the studio yet? It warms your belly and helps that centered, connected feeling you get after a great yoga class last just a little bit longer. Want to make some at home? Try this recipe:

Homemade Spiced Tea
Makes one gallon.
Ingredients:
  • 4 quarts water
  • 30-40 whole cloves
  • 40-45 black peppercorns
  • 6-8 cinnamon sticks (If the sticks are very thick, use 4-6 sticks.)
  • 40-45 whole cardamom pods (Split or crush pods in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to release seeds, but do not remove pods.)
  • 14-18 fresh, unpeeled ginger slices (About 1/8-1/4 inch-thick)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3-4 decaffeinated black tea bags
Instructions:
1. Add all ingredients to water and bring to a boil.
2. Allow to boil for about two minutes, then reduce to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
3. Turn heat off and add tea bags.
4. Allow to steep for at least an hour before serving.
5. Strain tea thoroughly before serving.
5. May be refrigerated and warmed for up to a week.

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Surrender to The Journey

The kids are back in school. The tourists are gone. The nights are cooler. It’s almost fall, that time of year after the majesty of summer and before the insular peace of winter. In Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, each season is represented by a different dosha, or mind/body constitution—except fall. This is an in-betweenContinue Reading