Friday, August 29, 2008

sketching again...

A couple of years ago I began sketching daily, and I kept an online journal of some of my sketches.

Yesterday I began sketching a bit again...inspired by the yoga I've been doing (and a bit by the Olympic gymnastics.)

They're a bit light because I did them in pencil, but I think you can see them.

(I also posted this on my Raw Food and Juice Blog...sometimes it's confusing having two.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Healthy Homes - An Introduction to Vastu and Feng Shui

Today I was reading Yoga+Joyful Living Magazine, and I learned about Vastu, or the "yoga of design." It's like feng shui, which I've been thinking a lot about lately as we try to make our home more healthy and comfortable.

What I've always liked about the yoga/ayurvedic/Indian systems is that their five elements are: fire, water, earth, air and space, which makes more sense intuitively than the Chinese five elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Of course, having studied the Chinese five elements and the whole acupuncture system, it makes a lot of sense to me now and I love working within that tradition. Yet the five elements of fire, earth, water, air and space are what I would have guessed the five elements to be, looking around at the world.

Vastu and Feng Shui (which translates as wind and water) are both about how the energy flows in the home. The ideal of course, is to have a smooth flow, a sense of harmony, without energy becoming stagnant or rushing out anywhere.

In Vastu as in Feng Shui, different areas of the home correspond to the different elements. The correspondences are slightly different between the two, and being more familiar with Feng Shui I am a bit more comfortable with their corresponding directions/areas. However, there are certain principles of Vastu that stuck with me after reading the article:

  • "The principles of Vastu connect the dweller of the Vastu home with the subtle laws of nature, such as the energy grid of the earth, beneficial earth energies and cosmic energies from the sun." (from p.58 of the July/August, 2008 issue of Yoga+Joyful Living.)

  • I love the idea of space being an element, versus being ignored. The universe (and ourselves) is mostly space, but we are always so much more focused on the stuff.

  • In Vastu, as in most philosophies of healthy home living, there is emphasis on natural materials: tile, stone, wood, brick, bamboo, etc. Natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool, hemp, flax and linen are also nice elements to bring into the home decor.

  • Beauty is an important element of Vastu. You can follow all the rules of good energy flow, but if the space is not beautiful it is not fully Vastu.

  • The way to beautify the home is to look to nature: space is decorated with stars and luminous bodies, the earth is decorated with plants, trees, mountains, oceans, etc. The beauty you choose for your home should nourish your soul.

I'm going to try to include more posts on Healthy Homes, Feng Shui, and healthy cleaning tips (using essential oils is an amazing way to enhance good qi in the home!), since that is so much of my focus right now!

Peace and Health,
xoxo ~ Melissa

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Acupuncture and the Olympics

Have you been watching the Olympics? Having competed in gymnastics myself (oh so long ago!) I especially enjoy watching the gymnastics.

It turns out that American gymnast Nastia Liukin - the winner of the women's all around - receives weekly acupuncture treatments! (And also regular massage, both available at the Birch Center, check out our services page.) Very cool! I've seen it written quite a few places, but one article I found to share with you can be found here.

I also read that basketball player Yao Ming has been using Traditional Chinese Medicine (which usually consists of acupuncture, tui na massage and/or herbal medicine) to treat an injured foot.


Upcoming Events

In other news: we have two upcoming events that we're very excited about! If you didn't receive the message in your email yesterday, then you may not be on our mailing list. You can sign up using the box on the right hand bar of this blog (below "About Birch Center"), or simply click here.

In conjunction with PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), we're hosting two events during their Local Food Week in September.

On September 24 we'll have a Raw Food Demo and Dinner right at the Birch Center. On the menu are: green smoothies, butternut squash soup, nutmeat burritos with salsa and guacamole, nutmilk chai and fruit with chocolate sauce for dessert. More details and registration information can be found on our events page.

Also, on September 27 (Saturday morning) we'll be doing a Wild Edible Walk! So many people have asked about doing one this year. I hope you will join us. We'll be sampling sumac lemonade, and you'll receive handouts and recipes. For information can also be found on our events page.

We hope to see you at one or both events, and please sign up for our mailing list if you haven't already!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Great Vacation

We're back from a great, whirlwind vacation! We headed east, visiting friends all along the way. We stopped at our friends's new farm in NY, visited cousins there as well, bumped into long lost friends in a Boston whole foods market (!), visited other friends in Boston (with three of the kindest girls ever for Ella to play with), visited Chinatown with those friends:

went to the ocean with friends in RI, visited more friends outside Worcester, MA where Ella was treated to a hilarious swinging poi routine by "the funniest guy in the world":

back to NY, then home. All in one week: phew!

So, we're back in the office now and returning calls and emails.

See you soon!

~ Melissa