Dear <<First Name>>!!
Right now we are at Borntorpet in Skinnskatteberg. The sun is shining, the air is fresh and it's spring in the energy. Me and Mats are here with Staffan Hammers from Vipassanagruppen to lead a silent Yinyoga & Vipassana retreat during this long weekend.
Over the next four days, all of us devote ourselves to sitting and walking meditation and some nourishing Yin yoga classes. The retreat was fully booked in just a few days. There seems to be an urgent need for reflection, rest, silence and insight. The stress in society is evident and me and Mats are convinced that one major reason for it is the overdose of all the information that get we in to our system. The mobile phone is at an arm length distance all around the clock. We never let the mind to rest, to just be, all the time we take in new impressions. It seams to be difficult for us to get separated from our devices.
During this retreat, we urged the participants to do just that, handing in their dear belonging for storage during these days. Last year during the same retreat there was some persuasion from our side, and despite that not everyone handed in their mobile phones. This time, everyone left it without exception. And immediately many sighs were heard: "I'm already relaxed" or "oh so nice that you have this" service”.
Overuse (which can be classified as addiction) makes us separated from the body, from the ground, the earth. Here in the countryside, in the forests of Bergslagen, we get the opportunity to return to here and now to the body. To the ground. To reality.
The Earth Element
The Earth element belongs to late summer (Indian Summer), which is its own season according to TKM, but it is also a kind of ”in between” element, between the seasons. Right now we are entering Earth, and its extra important to ground ourselves.
We should think more about how we eat, I write "how" because it is more important with which attitude we eat then what we eat. Counting, planning and controlling the food intake, for example by being obsessed with health food, counting calories, nutritional content, etc., is extremely unhealthy and makes our inner Earth Element out of phase. Of course, its not good to eat semi-manufactured products and what we call unhealthy food. But it's even worse to eat under stress, do other things at the same time and have anxiety over what we eat/do not eat. Simply over analyze and control our food intake.
An imbalance in the Earth element can be expressed by both physical (indigestion, acne, allergies, weakness, obesity, underweight) and mental / emotional problems (anxiety, a lot of thoughts, depression, OCD, insomnia, obsession with our outlook, insecurity, chronic affirmative needs, etc.).
When the Earth element is in balance, the other elements are also balanced. Therefore, it’s extra important to settle our Earth. To relax our diet, let go of control and eat in a balanced manner, ie three times daily. According to TKM (and Ayurveda), warm, cooked, homemade food is the best for us if we want to get grounded.
So avoid too much cold, raw food and choose soups, hearty casseroles and "cozy" warm homemade food right now.
For example, try my Earth Soup (its no soil in it though!). Inspired by the amazing soups we used to eat for breakfast / lunch in Burma, based on those I made my own favourite soup.
Also, here I've put together a very simple Earth Element Yin-Sequence to practise whenever you feel off the ground and need more Earth Energy in your system;)
Right now, walking meditation goes on outside our window. The participants move consciously and slowly, and if one didn't know what was going on, it looks quite strange. Like not much is happening, they only go back and forth. Same thing with sitting meditation and calm Yin yoga. Should someone peek through the windows to the hall, it would seem that not much happens. But we who have tried it know. We know how much actually happens. How much both the mind and the body is relieved by these quiet, but oh so effective methods. A deeper understanding into our own nature, calmness of the heart, less stress and, most importantly - freedom.
So simple, so minimalistic and therefore so balancing and - revolutionary.
We wish you a Mindful, grounded May!
Magdalena and Mats
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