What are nutrients and what is waste?
This has been on my mind since spending a couple of weeks at an ayurvedic center in India where most of the conversation is about digestion. Every experience or item we take into our bodies can be broken down into nutrients or waste. In an optimal state, we digest our experiences like we digest our food: keeping and using what serves, nourishes, energizes, and repairs us; letting go of all that doesn’t—all that would do our bodies harm if we held onto it.
Except rather than our digestive tracts, we use a little “organ” called discernment. And while our bodies separate nutrients from waste automatically—without any thought on our parts—discerning nutrients and waste in our daily experiences takes care, attention, and work. It’s not a mechanical process.
It’s a practice.
Being able to differentiate between the two is at the heart of healing and the center of understanding what a balanced life/yoga practice feels like.
As we make our moment-to-moment choices, are we moving toward, and holding onto, the things that actually sustain us? Are we letting go of the things that will block our healing, our growth, our flourishing?
I’ve found that the practice of slowing down—in whatever form “slowing down” takes—allows me to more clearly answer that ongoing question: Will this choice create more vitality, healing, and homeostasis, or will it ultimately make my psychic or spiritual “body” unhealthy in some way?
But slowing down my yoga practice in particular offers a profound kind of clarity, because I’m answering the questions about that “other” body while I’m tending to the material one: restoring over-used adrenals, steadying my shaky nervous system, supporting my parasympathetic nervous system… all of which, by the way, affect my literal digestion.
Over the last few years, I've noticed a palpable increase in anxiety and stress levels in the bodies of students I observe during practice—and based on personal experience, I know what that means in the realm of digesting.
So I’m holding space for you to give yourself the gift of slowing down, creating time for silence, for doing “nothing,” for propping your body up and placing it in positions that release the tensions you’ve been carrying from those daily experiences and encounters.
Let’s slow it down together, so we can see more clearly what’s worth keeping, and what’s not sustaining us and can be let go.