In the summertime I do my best to get outside as much as I can. Mostly you’ll find me in alpine lakes and rivers. I feel a kinship with water. When I’m floating, diving, splashing, letting myself sink and bob back up again, I feel closest to what I would describe as “my nature.” If all of the elements of nature had their own language (and I don’t doubt that they do), I’d speak Water. So it has been with much joy that I’ve hopped in a few rivers and lakes so far this summer. Last weekend was a special water experience when The People’s Yoga and I led a trip to the White Salmon River combining yoga and white water rafting. SO MUCH FUN!
The healing systems of yoga and Chinese medicine have a deep affinity for Water and all the elements that together make up our world. Understanding and being in relationship to these elements and how they behave inside and outside of our bodies forms the basis of health, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of disease in these systems of medicine.
Being close to the elements is healing. Most of us know this instinctively. Even if we only get a few hours out on a trail among big trees, those quiet moments often lead to some kind of internal reorganizing that leaves us feeling more settled and integrated. The choice to “unplug” alone has great benefits, but the healing that comes from being in relationship to the stuff we are made of, rather than the stuff we make, is humbling, inspiring and soothing all at the same time. At least that’s how my experiences in nature translate.
I hope that you have lots of opportunities to speak your elemental language this summer, whether it’s Tree or Dirt or Mountain or Water, and that what you hear back in your native tongue is salve for your soul.