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Tomorrow, I get braces on my teeth.  I’ve started a separate blog focused on that, but instead of making it a mere chronicle of braces, it focuses on “What’s in a Smile“.

Not that I want to jinx things with such gloomy titles as “anticipating pain”, but really, let’s face it, it will be painful.  I know.  I had braces as a teenager, many years ago.  This time, I  have more tools in my toolkit, including my acupressure and TCM training.  So, I’ll take the opportunity of this dental experience to explore more avenues to health and wellness.

So, the first thing I note is that the body part governed by the Water Element, which we’ve talked about this winter, is our bone structure.   And certaingly the teeth and jaw are the prime recipients of stress and movement for braces.  So, I guess you could say that I’m acting “in season” to start addressing my teeth.  After all, wintertime is a good season for soups and more “watery” culinary fare, so this is my chance to dig out those recipes and use the blender.

To be more specific about teeth and the meridians, it is said that there is a tooth-to-meridian association.  In other words, all the meridians are connected.  So one important intention for me to have it to pay attention to the pain, and understand that while I may feel most pain in my jaw and head, that since my body is an interconnected whole, it is possible that I may feel out of sorts in other areas of my body.

I went to my regular yoga class this morning, and their was a substitute teacher. His training and style is different from my teacher’s (which is Anusara), so we did a lot more vinyasa* flows than we do in my teacher’s classes. This means that we moved from asana (pose) to asana more quickly than I am used to.

Both my body and mind resisted, but somewhere between downward dog and cobra pose, I thought, “Hey, this is more of that go with the flow stuff.” So, while my teacher is away for a few weeks next month, I think I’ll seek out some more “flowy” classes, to give me some more chances to bring flow and flexibility into my life.

I was happy to see how this initially trying experienced turned out to be a gift for my yoga practice, and my life off the mat, too.

* Definition of vinyasa (source: About.com):

Breath-synchronized movement. When used to describe a style of yoga, Vinyasa means that poses will flow from one to another in conjunction with the breath. Vinyasa in also used as a noun to describe the series of poses that are done between Downward Facing Dogs as part of a Sun Salutation sequence.

The word “flow” keeps popping up for me. It is a propos the current season, winter, so in honor of all the water that’s been falling (and falling and falling in the form of snowflakes in some parts of the country), I want to share a relevant experience I had a couple of weeks ago when I was taking care of my toddler nephews while their parents are away.

My everyday life usually doesn’t include parenting, so that weeklong experience was quite a lesson in learning to go with the flow.

water flowingOverall, the experience was a delight–they are fun kids–but wow!, they take a lot of energy and patience. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Water Element reminds me to go with the flow, like water like a river, twisting and turning around rocks and boulders, making its way towards the sea. It doesn’t get hung up on those obstacles, spending energy on fighting what can’t be moved.

So, in those (many) moments when my patience was tested, I asked myself, “Why fight what I can’t control?”

So, take some deep breaths and let it flow.