In the spirit of “back to school” week, I thought I’d drop a line about what I learned this summer…

Nutrition / Cooking: Heidi Swanson’s Cookbooks. One of my yoga students brought one of her books into class back in May and I immediately subscribed to her blog and bought the cookbooks for myself. Her blog is She includes (relatively) fast, easy, healthy, and really delicious recipes using whole (mostly veg) foods. The books and blog contain well-written commentary and food ideas along with beautiful photography.

Yoga: Ray Long’s Yoga Mat Companion Series. I’ve been a fan of his book “The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga” for several years, but was introduced to his “yoga mat companion” book series during a yoga therapy training I participated in earlier this summer. The books are amazing and his website ( has an “anatomic pose viewer” showing 360 degree illustrations of proper alignment in 25 classic yoga poses. It’s pretty freaking cool.

Acupuncture / Herbs: Hmmm what can I say here… I’m up to my eyeballs in books and study guides about Chinese Herbal Medicine. One more year until I take the herbal board exam. I’m nearing the end of this very long road and am constantly amazed by what the Chinese learned over the course of a few thousand years by “simple” observation.

I love that as complicated as the human body and nature sound when broken down to their smallest cell and micronutrient, they actually sound quite simple when casually examined through the eyes of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

TCM talks of cold and heat and wind and damp. We discuss the transformative qualities of Yin and Yang. We talk of deficiency and excess. We are taught that there are 4 Vital Substances. That in nature there are 5 flavors, 5 seasons, 5 elements. That within the human body there are 12 primary meridians, 8 extraordinary vessels, 6 external evils, and 7 emotions. We study the 8 principles, the 4 levels and 6 six stages of disease. Simple, right?

Students (and patients) of TCM quickly learn that these simple sounding words and phrases are actually part of a complex and elegant form of medicine that evolved over the centuries by observing how the human body is in constant struggle to live in harmony with Nature. The more I learn about TCM, the more I am in awe of the vast world around me.

In other news… I’m teaching another TCM / Yoga “Five Element Flow” Workshop from 1pm-3:30pm on Sat. October 22nd at Namaskar Yoga. More information about the workshop and registration can be found at

Please let me know if there’s a topic you would like for me to write about in a future post or if you have any questions. My email address is

– jb