Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When we are connected to the earth we all feel more grounded, confident, stable and strong. Cross country skiing has taken me to some very beautiful pieces of the earth in this county. We are so fortunate to have the Haliburton Ski Nordic Association and all their volunteers who work really hard to provide arguably some of the best (if not the best) cross country skiing in Ontario. Several times this winter I’ve been out skiing and had moments where my breath is taken away. It is such a beautiful winter. I can’t get enough of the white snow against the brown and grey trees when I’m in the woods. It is so simple and so inspiring. No matter what kind of a mood I start the ski in, I’m always happier and more energized by the end. I actually think I’m a better person, a nicer person, when I ski. I’ve been contemplating why this is. What is it about being outside, being in nature and being so physically active in my body that is so refreshing and rejuvenating and leaves me feeling so alive and so grateful and strong. The yogi’s would have a theory (they always have these possibilities to consider) about what happens when I spend time with my feet moving on the earth. For many of us our lives are so busy and full and we get disconnected from the earth and from the planet and from our bodies. And I know I can start to feel lethargic, depressed or even anxious. The yoga tradition recognizes and honours that everything in nature is made up of five basic elements (earth, water, fire, air and space or ether) and that our bodies are each a microcosm of the macrocosm. Our bodies are made of the same materials. We are earth, water, air, fire and space. Each of the five elements represents a state of matter. Earth is not just soil, but it is everything in nature that is solid. The earth element in our bodies are our bones, flesh, teeth, nails, skin, tissues and hair. Water is everything that is liquid. Air is everything that is gas. We can use the knowledge of these elements to attain greater health, knowledge wisdom and happiness. For instance, connecting “the earth” in my body to the earth beneath me can help me feel grounded, stable, anchored and consistent. Drinking water can connect me to the water that flows all over the planet and the liquids that flow within me (blood, lymphatic fluid, synovial fluid, urine etc.). Our bodies are made up of 80 percent water. When we can remember these connections with gratitude we can all experience a feel of abundant well being, vitality, groundedness and a sense of belonging. So going for a ski, snowshoe or walk in the winter can not only fill you with the beauty of the trees and snow, but can help your body feel more alive, connected and happier. And that is always a good thing.