Welcome to our leadership blog series! This month, Wildeby Borges Diaz -the Chapter president of Puerto Rico’s Turabo Chapter – discusses how the elements can be thrown awry by the stressors of life and naturopathic medical school, with tips that may help bring them back in to balance.
Honor the Elements in You
Have you ever wondered why is it that some of us like the forest more than the beach, or the beach more than the forest? Why some people feel relaxed under the shade of a palm tree on a warm, sandy beach while others feel the same way in a totally different environment? Why you might love hot, humid weather even though you were born in a cold, snowy city?
I have definitely wondered!
In my journey as a naturopathic student I have always felt a very strong connection to ancient healing practices. Learning philosophies like traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy during my first years of naturopathic school opened my mind to a hidden way of understanding life. However, it was when I traveled to India to pursue my studies in Yoga that I fell in love at first sight with Ayurvedic medicine. This ancient healing philosophy dates back over six thousand years (~4,000 B.C) and is founded on the simple belief that the human body is a reflection of everything that is in the Universe. Everything that exists is composed of a unique, mixed recipe of the elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. The exact recipe with which you were born was determined not only by your parents’ own recipes, but also by the influence of these elements in the environment in which you were conceived, the predominant mental state and elements of your parents in the moment of your conception, the influence of astrological events existing during your birth and your mother’s exposure to the elements while carrying you in her womb. If you know and understand the elemental combination in you, then you have a clearer idea of why you are the way you are.
Being a naturopathic student while being able to learn this amazing ancient philosophy has been a great journey for me. The moments in which I have found myself with an elemental predominance of air and space, the anxiety kicks in and I find myself overthinking about the future and distressed. When fire is high I often experience strong burn-out headaches, fatigue and obsession with finishing immediate goals. If water and earth are predominant I experience lethargy, fullness and apathy. The way the elements behave in you is no different from the way they do in Nature and the more able you are at recognizing them in yourself, the more ready you will be to return to a balanced state. When anxious, try grounding and warming yourself with water and earth elements that bring heaviness and cohesion. Go for a hike in a dense forest, hug and breathe with trees, sunbathe barefoot on a warm sandy beach and visit thermal baths for some salt hydrotherapy. When excessively active and burned out, try cooling and hydrating yourself with a calming stay under the shade of trees while enjoying the fresh breeze on your face and a full glass of natural coconut water. When lethargic, lazy and heavy, try to incorporate the elements of air and fire to break inertia and regain your energy. Going for a jog, walking outside on a sunny day, increasing spices in your diet, socializing with friends, or practicing warming pranayama (breathing exercises) like Kapalbhati or Bhastrika will instantly bring you more energy.
So the next time you feel distressed, anxious, achy or moody, try going back to Nature, observe your reactions to different environments, weather and temperatures. Get to know and honor your elements, this may be how you start to better know yourself (and others!).
Author: Wildeby Borges Diaz
Wildeby Borges and I’m a current 4th year student at University of Turabo in Puerto Rico, and actual president of NMSA’s Turabo Chapter. I love Naturopathic Medicine and believe in our guiding principles very deeply. I’m a 200hr Hatha Vinyasa RYT and dog lover. I enjoy hiking, meditation, hugging trees, planting and connecting to nature in every possible way. I really look forward to continue growing our chapter at Puerto Rico and helping our community through the love of our profession as future doctors. I believe in the power of community and understand that I’m the motor to guide my group, but every student is the fuel to keep it going, together.