Greetings and namaste!
It's August, and it's midsummer here in Tennessee! I hope you all have been able to stay relaxed and cool so far this pitta season, while still enjoying the beauty, peace and abundance mother Earth has to provide us this time of year. Here in Tennessee, there are so many state parks, swimming holes, waterfalls, lakes, hiking areas, neighborhood parks, nature preserves, farms, community gardens and so much more, so hopefully you have found time in your schedule to go out and get into nature!
Besides getting outdoors and being in nature, another easy way to attune with the natural rhythms of the seasons is by EATING what's IN season. One of my favorite things about summer is the bountiful and healthful eating that is available to us. If you're not sure where to get local, seasonal food, I'd recommend checking out the downtown Nashville Farmer's Market at the corner of Rosa Parks Blvd & Jefferson St. It is open every day 8am-8pm and also has a food court that offers various local & international menus, and there is an international grocery store inside that carries mainly Indian ingredients--a great place to take your Ayurvedic cooking ingredients list. In addition, you can visit one of the many weekly neighborhood farmer's markets such as the 12S neighborhood farmer's market every Tuesday 3:30-6:30pm at Sevier Park, the east Nashville farmer's market every Wednesday 4-7pm at Shelby Park or the west Nashville farmer's market every Saturday 9am-12:30pm at Richland Park.
If you're ready to take the plunge and dedicate yourself to a full growing season of local, farm-fresh veggies, I would recommend joining a farm CSA, which stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." Pretty much, you become a paying member of a farm and you're provided a weekly share of fresh-picked crops that you pick up at a designated location. I have been a member of various CSAs since 2012, and for the past 4 or 5 years I have been a member of Jeff "The Barefoot Farmer" Poppen's Long Hungry Creek Farm, which is located about 70 miles northeast of Nashville in Red Boiling Spring, TN. What I love most about my CSA is there are flexible payment options that make it affordable & accessible. In addition the CSA is organized like a private farmer's market with other local vendors that join weekly or monthly so you are able to pick your own veggies and purchase other items like eggs, tempeh, cheese, mushrooms, bread and even local ethically raised meat if you eat meat. Also, there is a monthly potluck so folks can gather together and share meals, which creates an uplifting and inclusive community around the farm.
In yoga, the term "Sangha" in its most basic understanding means positive associations/ community, so the way I see it, Long Hungry Creek Farms has developed and, quite literally, nourishes a vibrant, diverse, loving sangha that comes together through a sense of "livity"--a Rastafari term that refers to a connection to Divine vitality through natural, healthy living. If yo want to find out more about my favorite CSA visit The Barefoot Farmer's website or email the CSA director Natalie Ashkers and let her know that I sent you :-)
While there is more to Ayurvedic meal planning than just eating seasonally, getting in the habit of learning to eat what's in season to the best of your ability is a great way to tune into the Earth's seasonal patterns, and connect to your own subtle seasonal patterns, too!
Next month I'll offer an Ayurveda 101 in the concept of the 3 doshas of Vata, Pitta & Kapha, how they interact with the hours of the day, the four seasons and your body's unique doshic constitution (called your prakriti) and what happens when your doshas become imbalanced/ disturbed (called your vikriti). Then for October, November & December I'll dive deeper with demystifying the doshas starting with the "master dosha" Vata. Stay tuned!
Make sure to keep any eye out for my new Sept-Dec 2018 class schedule! I'm letting go of a couple studio classes, and will be adding some new classes in the upcoming months. One confirmed new classes is starting in September I have a new FREE WEEKLY PUBLIC CLASS at the Vanderbilt University Black Cultural Center!! Every Thursday 6-7pm you'll be able to join me for "Air & Earth" vinyasa flow & restorative mix-up. This will be an all-levels class, so everyone is welcome regardless of skill or experience! I won't be teaching the first month of this class, but I have a wonderful yoga teacher and good friend Tanisha Hubbard filling in for me while I'm gone.
In addition, I have added a new monthly community meditation class at the Downtown Nashville Public Library! This is also free and no experience is needed! Join me the 1st Monday of every month 12:15-12:50pm for a guided group meditation on the 2nd floor of the Downtown library in the Children's Theatre.
I would like to share some news on my personal journey:
On August 30th I am taking a month of rest, relaxation, travel and adventure for all of September! My partner Trevor and I will start by driving to Albany, NY, to drop off our little fluff-puff of a dog, Casey, with his parents. Next, we will travel even further upstate NY near lake Champlain to visit his grandma, and I am so excited to meet her! After that we drive to Boston on September 4 to catch our flight over the pond to Frankfurt Germany to start our European adventure. We'll stay with my older brother Jason and his wife at their home in Kaiserslautern--about 100 miles southeast of Frankfurt--and I'm going to join him a couple night while he streams his live video-gaming channel on Twitch.
A word on my older brother. He kinda plays video games for a living! Well, before that he served in the US Navy & Army for maybe 15 years and the last place he was stationed before he was honorably discharged/ retired was in Germany. He met his now-wife--a lovely German woman named Katherina--on a train, or something equally romantic and quintessentially European. They fell in love and he decided to stay and immigrate to Germany. One of my mom's three kids had to follow in her footsteps of moving to a different country, so I guess it is Jason! Anyways, Jason has been making people watch him play video games since he was a kid. I guess he's always been really good at playing video games, winning all the levels, beating all the bad guys and finding all the cool stuff. It started with making me and our little brother Jay watch him play, and sometimes getting our mom & dad to watch him, too. Then it expanded out to making his friends watch him play. Well, fast forward 30 years and somehow he manages to get people to pay him to watch him play video games. I don't understand how people pay to watch others play video games, but after 15 years of military service he's making money doing something that he absolutely loves, so I'm happy for him.
So, after watching my brother play video games in Germany (lol some things just never change), Trevor and I will head to Zurich Switzerland and ride our bikes approximately 60 miles to Lucerne. From there, we'll head to Milan Italy and visit the Bianchi Bicycles factory & café--I'm also hoping to visit the Gucci shop and try on clothing I can't afford but maybe get a couple photos wearing some haute couture threads. After Milan, we'll head to Rome and apparently try not to get robbed, scammed, attacked, kidnapped, hacked, or any of the other wild things folks tell us can happen while we're there. I'm excited to see the tourist attractions, and apparently Rome has a thriving vegan & vegetarian food scene so I'll be ready to eat, drink & be merry. Our last stop in Italy is south of Pompeii in Agropoli for a week-long yoga retreat with one of my teachers and dear friends, Jennifer Campbell-Overbeeke. We fly back to the US on September 23 and will arrive in NYC on the 24th. From there, we'll visit my family and I also hope to make it to a yoga class at either the Jivamukti Yoga Center or the Dharma Yoga Center. Then We head back to Albany for a wedding, pick up our dog and head back to Music City on September 28! I already know I'm gonna miss everyone while I'm gone, but I am excited for this month-long excursion and all the new experiences to take in. If you're interested in joining me "going live" to watch my brother play video games, visit https://www.twitch.tv/tek_maki sometime between the dates of 09/05-09/07. You'll catch a glimpse of me doing what I've had to do for a very long time; watch my big brother play video games.
Love & Light <3