The Fall Zen Retreat
Liza Puglia is a busy girl these days. Not only is she the rockstar chef of Nola restaurant, Nola beer nights and opening up a new gastropub in Palermo, she and I have joined forces to pioneer Chinese Medicine based healing through food, yoga and acupuncture meditation style retreats. Welcome Armonia Argentina retreats!
Yeah, we know that sounds like a lot but it is quite the amazing combo. Our vision is to combine our love for healing through food, Liza’s incredible cooking skills, my background in teaching yoga as well as being a Doctor of Chinese medicine ( acupuncture + herbs)
Our first retreat Fall Zen, went great! The retreat which included a group of amazing women was dedicated to honoring the Fall Equinox through Yoga, Meditation, Acupuncture and Food, based off of Chinese medicine seasonal principles. It went a little something like this~
~ Learning all about Fall in Chinese Medicine – How the Lungs and the Large Intestine rule this season along with the energy of letting go and taking in the new. We learned all about the Metal element which is the element of Fall and how to keep it in balance.
~ Yoga – Gentle and restorative focusing on the Lungs + Large Intestine which are the two main organs in TCM associated with Fall.
~ Acupuncture Meditation – Since the most important part of yoga is when the body can completely relax and soak in the benefits of the practice, otherwise known as Shavasana. We decided to take this to another level by incorporating acupuncture and kirtan (meditative chants) during the meditation. As a singer, an acupuncturist and a long time practitioner of yoga – this meditation was pure bliss! I choose points that allowed the body to go into a deep relaxation, letting the Qi flow in a balanced way, radiating nothing but tranquilo.
After it was time to wake up we gave all of the ladies a nice warm cup of brewed Chinese herbal tea nourishing blood, Qi and the yin of Fall.
~ Letting go.. That is what this whole lovely day was all about. What are we ready to let go of, like the leaves from the tree falling to the ground, giving nourishment for the soil and the gifts of harvest to the months that lay ahead. What are we ready to bring in, like the pure Qi and breath, into our lungs, our bodies and our lives.
And what better way to focus on these thoughts and intentions then to write them down.. So with that, we did a journaling exercise – giving everyone the space and time to connect with themselves and the idea of letting go and bringing in..
~ Healing through food! As we all know, Liza can cook – and thank goodness for this because we were lucky enough to not only eat her delicious goods but also get a little cooking lesson in too! Liza taught us all about the tastes and properties of food associated with TCM ( traditional Chinese medicine) during fall. We learned how pungent foods can nourish and protect our lungs during the season when our lung Qi can become weaker. We also learned why we need to eat warming foods to stoke the inner fire instead of cold raw foods which can lead to damaging of the digestive system during the colder months. The amazing thing is that this is all incorporated into Asian cuisine and culture, not just the medicine.
So in honor of this we ate leek soup, chicken soup, roasted carrots and yams, roasted apples and pears and watched a cooking demonstration of braised pork shoulder – All of these foods are considered foods of Fall in TCM with different properties and medicinal values.
With bellies full and happy peaceful hearts our day retreat came to an end. A little urban oasis where we can tune out for a moment from the grind and go within, spend some time with ourselves; Relax, Rest + Heal.
Stay tuned for more Urban Zen day retreats in the near future and also upcoming 5 and 7 day retreats!
Acupuncturista, Herbalist and Nutritional Therapist @ Acupuncture Buenos Aires