The Best Years Group methodology is focused on the optimal functioning of the body, mind and spirit.  The theories and practices that have been presented to you are cultivated from time-honored eastern life sciences blended with modern day western science and technology. Our goal has been to expand your knowledge while improving your well-being; to guide you to practices that allow you to live better, not just longer.

Our belief is that human beings are the balance of the interactions between awareness, environment and health. To steer you in a direction that works for YOUR body, we focused on the 3 key western systems: gut, heart and mind health, overlaid by the 3 main elements of eastern philosophy: air, fire and earth. The beauty of combining these concepts is that you can become aware of how things work together inside your body, and also how your inner environment functions in the outer world. These are the tools we can use to optimize our health.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Think about your journey. What element drove each of your 3 key systems? Did you discover common themes or did each of your systems have different elements? Most of us have one element that is dominant, but all 3 are always in play. When you can understand your body and its messages, you can intuit what your body needs and make the necessary adjustments to bring it into balance. 

For me, my digestive system tends to be high in earth but my cardiovascular and nervous systems are predominantly air. Therefore, I feel best when I eat foods that are astringent, light, and high in fiber and I don’t eat or drink past 7pm in the evening. My movement practice is focused on steady but not strenuous activity like hiking and swimming and I prioritize meditation and sleep so I can improve my mind’s tendency for overthinking and running out of steam.

Systems and Elements Review

Here is a quick review of each system’s tendencies, tips and tricks–by element.

Gut Health

Your dominant element for gut health can determine the strengths and weaknesses of your digestive environment.

Air

With a predominantly Air digestive system, you will benefit from consuming warm foods. Temperature matters, but also amp up the spices like cumin, ginger, and black pepper. For you, routine is the key for your digestive system to function optimally. Developing a consistent rhythm or schedule to your eating will help your body and mind find calm and stay balanced. A tendency to be inconsistent with your mealtimes as well not stopping, sitting,  and chewing properly when eating may cause your stomach to gurgle or create gas. This is a sign that you are not getting the most from the foods you are consuming. For consistent energy, stick to a schedule with sleeping and eating.

Tendencies:

  • Constipation 
  • Fast metabolism 
  • Low appetite 
  • Gassy/Noisy stomach

Tips & Tricks:

  • Prioritize a regular routine around mealtimes. 
  • Keep calm during meals, avoid multitasking while eating.
  • Eat larger quantities without overeating. 
  • Fats and oils are beneficial for the air digestive system. 
  • Eat warm foods and spices. 
  • Cooked vegetables are best.  
  • Avoid cold, frozen or raw foods. 
  • After eating, take 3 deep breaths to engage digestion.

Earth

Earth gut trends towards a general sense of sluggishness. To feel full, bloated, or heavy after meals is common and metabolism can be slow to kick in. To balance this, aim for consuming light meals within a certain time period. Adhere to a longer fasting period between the last meal of the day and the first meal the following day.

Tendencies:

  • Larger frame 
  • Slower metabolism  
  • Bloating 
  • Sluggish digestive system 
  • Emotional eater
  • Cravings for sweet, salty  and oily foods

Tips & Tricks:

  • Eat less and move more. 
  • Avoid mucus-forming foods such as dairy products. 
  • Consume foods and spices that provide a little heat (i.e. ginger, garlic). 
  • Avoid cold or frozen foods and beverages. 
  • Reduce intake of all fats
  • Do not snack from dinner to breakfast.

Fire

Although you feel like you’ve always been able to eat/drink anything, excessive eating (especially spicy/salty foods) and drinking alcohol are a sure way to create more heat and inflammation. Increasing cooling foods and decreasing dehydrating beverages like caffeine and alcohol will help support your natural high-energy self. Make sure you have regular meals, even if it means taking snacks along with you as you move through your day. Remember life is an adventure, not a race to the end.  Cultivate moderation. 

Tendencies:

  • Steady metabolism 
  • Hot (both tempered and intolerant of heat) 
  • Strong appetite Indigestion 
  • Tendency for loose or frequent bowels 
  • Sharp or sour stomach 
  • Producing large amounts of urine and feces 
  • Enjoys spicy foods and cold drinks

Tips & Tricks:

  • Have regular mealtimes; Do not go too long between meals. 
  • Eat in a relaxed environment. Try not to watch or read news while eating. 
  • Avoid foods and drink that create heat or acidity. 
  • Eat cooling, non-spicy foods. 
  • Stay hydrated. 
  • Limit salt intake.

Heart Health

Your dominant element that runs the heart and blood environment can help us develop a personalized movement plan that keeps the ecosystem of the blood running smooth, without traffic jams!

Air

Air Heart folks may find themselves having bursts of energy and want to accomplish a lot in a short period of time because the stamina will likely run out. Instead of chasing the clock, the key to balancing air is to focus on a slow and steady pace, particularly in the morning. Practice lying in bed and taking some deep breaths followed by sitting up for a few more breaths instead of standing abruptly.

Tendencies:

  • Cold extremities 
  • Low blood pressure  
  • Dizziness when going from sitting  to standing 
  • Anxiety or fearful thoughts 
  • Dry skin / dehydrated blood 

Tips and Tricks:

  • Take your time getting out of bed 
  • Stay warm 
  • Keep hydrated 
  • Consume foods that nourish the  blood 
  • Consume foods high in relaxing  minerals 
  • Choose exercise that grounds  and stabilizes

Earth

Earth Heart needs more assertive forms of exercise to aid in getting the necessary nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to all parts of the body and avoid traffic jams. Holding yourself accountable and providing healthy rewards are great ways to stay focused on maintaining the habit of daily exercise.

Tendencies:

  • Water retention  
  • Swollen wrists / ankles 
  • Shortness of breath when exercising
  • Fatigue despite little activity 
  • High cholesterol / triglycerides 
  • High amounts of sugar in blood  (glucose) 
  • Depression or feeling stuck

Tips & Tricks:

  • Increase circulation with cardiovascular  activity, preferably in the morning before  consuming food. 
  • Consume foods that naturally thin the  blood 
  • Consume foods that naturally detoxify 
  • Surround yourself with healthy environments (positive people & activities)

Fire

Fire Heart is naturally inclined to prefer high-energy exercises such as running, weight lifting or competitive sports yet also is more likely to incur injury or inflammation. This season of life offers the opportunity for finding a more moderate approach to staying fit. Outdoor activities such as biking and hiking can provide a canvas for appreciating nature’s cycles and perhaps stopping to smell the roses.

Tendencies:

  • Red face, especially at tip of nose 
  • Skin rashes 
  • “Hot” blooded / intolerant of heat 
  • Elevated blood pressure 
  • Irritability 

Tips and Tricks:

  • Moderate rich foods and alcohol consumption 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Develop a 70-80% plant-based diet 
  • Maintain flexibility in muscles  (remember the heart is a muscle)

Mind Health

Think of your mind as your body’s computer system that directs all functions in response to our internal and external environments.

Air

The predominantly Air Mind learns quickly and forgets quickly. Your fast mind gives you an edge in creative problem solving. In stressful or worrisome times, you tend to be a light sleeper and often under eat when stressed. 

Tendencies:

  • Quick to learn, quick to forget
  • Tendency towards anxiety, fear, or worry
  • Impulsive decision-maker
  • Lose appetite under stress

Tips and Tricks:

  • Finish your creative projects.
  • Declutter your space.
  • Reduce tension in the body by stretching daily.
  • Eat, sleep and eliminate on a schedule. 
  • Write in a gratitude journal before bed to reduce worry.

Earth

Earth-minded folks tend to be calm, cool, and collected with a slow and steady approach to life. You prefer routine and need a bit of a push to get going but can show great stamina and resilience. Since the earth mind can use a little boost to get started, consider energizing the mind by exercising first thing in the morning. This will rev up the engine for the day. 

Tendencies:

  • Kind-hearted and nurturing
  • Slow to start but concentration and focus is sustainable
  • Needs 8 hours of sleep to feel rested
  • Tend to eat when stressed
  • Can feel low emotionally from time to time

Tips and Tricks:

  • Wake up early and exercise before breakfast.
  • Challenge your mind. Sign up for an online or in-person class about something you are interested in learning.
  • Avoid naps. Try meditation instead.
  • Shake up the routine to avoid feeling stuck or in a rut.

Fire

The Fire Mind tends to react strongly to challenges leading to purposeful and resolute actions. You never give up and are very dynamic and goal oriented. Under stress, you may tend to feel anger or judgment as well as digestive disturbance. 

Tendencies:

  • Sharp memory and attention to detail
  • Information seeker
  • Tendency towards irritability/Anger/Judgement (towards oneself and others)
  • Sensitive stomach when stressed

Tips and Tricks:

  • Start a mindful morning practice! Before you head straight for coffee and news, hydrate and meditate.
  • Pace yourself throughout the day to avoid burnout. Take a 30 minute power nap or horizontal break mid-day to re-energize.
  • Get in nature (garden or exercise outside) to give the mind a rest.
  • Incorporate grace and laughter. You don’t have to strive for perfection!
  • Optimal bed time is 10pm and avoid blue light in the bedroom.
Back to…

Mind Health: Series 8

Don’t forget to check off the series items as you complete them!

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