Fall is upon us (yes even in Hawaii). It's the time of year when things start to ramp up and we can all get stretched a little thin. Now is the time to stock your cupboards with a few herbs to support your heath through the holidays and beyond.*
Mamaki is a nettleless nettle endemic to Hawaii (only found here). When made as a tonic or tea from the leaves, this plant is especially invigorating. It cleanses the blood of toxins, relieves stress and fatigue, and balances blood pressure.
With a long, long history of use in both the kitchen and the medicine cabinet, Sage supports the health of mucous membranes, especially the throat. Even though it is part of the mint family, it, unlike mint, has warming properties. You can use it as a gargle or a tea to support your throat health.
Astragalus is an adaptogen often used in Chinese medicine. Adaptogens help the body to adapt and deal with stress which creates a normalizing effect on your body and its processes. Astragalus supports and strengthens your immunity when you're running on empty. Made from the root, it's easy to take this in tincture form, you can add it to soup stocks or take it in powdered form.
Hawthorn supports a healthy heart and emotional balance. It helps you to remain open, forgiving wrongs and going through life a bit more gently, while also supporting our heart organ physiologically—ensuring it's pumping blood and assisting our circulatory system in doing its job. It's an herb to use daily in tonic, tincture or tea form because its effectiveness comes from use over a long period of time.
Elderberry is so much like food and can be consumed in large quantities, it's an awesome (and safe) herb to feed to your entire family. Elderberry helps our bodies maintain their normal immune response and optimizes immune function. It's delicious when combined with honey, hence elderberry syrup!
The Elder flowers are also useful for supporting your sinuses and maintaining a healthy inflammatory response. Elderflower is great in tea and also in tincture.
Happy stocking up yogis!
*PS—we are not medical professionals, so here's that disclaimer: do your research, see your doctors.
Sure, you might be able to flatten your chest to your knees and your bow pose is more split than struggle, but if you forget about your feet, eventually your practice and your body will suffer.
Feet are our foundation. It seems obvious, but they are often an overlooked element of our practice—of our lives, really.
That stops today my yogi. That stops today.
Those little muscles in your feet, the ones that hold the tiny bones together and decide if the rest of your body stays in alignment, yea those need to be stretched and paid much attention to.
You wouldn't build a house on a faulty foundation, would you?
Let's hope not.
When you look after the health of your feet, things like hollering hamstrings, stuck hips and bellyaching backs start to feel better.
How to Love On Your Feet
1. Pay Attention: Do You Pronate or Supinate?
How do you know? Take a look at your shoes, if they're worn on the outside you supinate or roll outwards, if they're worn on the inside, you pronate.
You want even wear, on your shoes and your bod. Start by noticing how you stand and how walk. Course correct as you move through your day and pay special attention when you're on the mat.
2. Stretch Your Toes
This one might be painful, but it's worth it. Our toes grip all day long, this stretch will move them in the opposite direction.
Sit on your heels with your toes curled under you. Okay, you might not actually sit on your heels, but get as close as you can. See if you can get all 10 of your toes to touch the floor. Breathe.
3. Do Some Foot Yoga Before Bed
It's a thing. Lace your fingers through your toes as though you were holding your lover's hand (it'll probably feel like they've become very small). What we mean is, expect a tight fit.
Play with spreading your toes wide and circling your foot. Then give yourself alittle massage and say thanks. After all they've carried you for years.
Spending five minutes a day on the health of your feet will cause happy ripples of relief through your entire body. It's worth it; give it a go.
The Yoga Nest is a yoga studio in Kailua Kona, HI that offers vinyasa, power, yin, restorative, and meditation classes. We also host yoga-related workshops, events and more!