Nature Supports Wellness through Living in Rhythm: A Conversation with Desi Bartlett
Time in nature supports wellness in so many ways. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I talk with my patients often about the importance of being in nature for healing, and I love the following quote by Hippocrates, “Nature Itself is the best physician.” Nature can be a great support for you for your practice. I had the opportunity to sit down with my body mind guide and healing arts muse, Desi Bartlett, to learn more about how the rhythm of our bodies mirrors the rhythm of the ocean.
In your practice, how does nature, and specifically the ocean, support health outcomes?
The beach and the majestic Pacific Ocean are my daily teachers. During the shutdowns of 2020, I would to go to the beach at dawn and sit and meditate. During that time, the beach was restricted because of COVID shutdowns, and I would wake up really early to connect to nature, before law enforcement arrived. I felt a little bit rebellious, claiming my right to connect with nature each day, and I remembered that humankind has been doing this since the beginning of time.
The ocean reminded me, and continues to remind me that life is cyclical.
War, disease, famine, and then the renaissance that arrives after these tumultuous events. I deeply feel the strife that our world is in, and carry deep hope for the renaissance that our children’s generation will usher in.
Your social media often posts astrological guides that include the energetic changes that flow with the moon; affecting the ebb and flow of the tide. How does the moon’s behavior affect the rhythm of our bodies?
My mother’s guru was Goswami Kriyananda at the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. I feel lucky to have grown up in this lineage and to have learned about yoga, meditation, and astrology as a child.
Astrology is a mathematical science based on the 360 degrees of a circle. The circle is a metaphor for the wheel of life.
Depending on what sign and degree the moon lands in, as well as the phase of the moon, we have a glimpse of the emotions of the day.
For example, if there is a Full Moon, it is the peak of the cycle, and a time to reap the harvest. If there is a New Moon, it is time to plant seeds. This applies to our emotional lives as well.
We can live in energetic harmony with the cycles of the moon like the farmers do.
In fact, I look at the Farmer’s Almanac daily to see what cycle of the moon that we are in. Just like the world has major cycles (the Yugas), we have monthly cycles of feelings and emotions.
Women feel this in the physical body with the menstrual cycle, which often aligns with the rhythm of the moon. What can you share about how the rhythm of the ocean can balance hormonal fluxes?
The endocrine system, which controls the hormones in our body, changes throughout our lifetime.
For example, a woman has a spike of relaxin 14 days before her menstrual cycle. Later in life, a woman’s estrogen levels decline and a man’s testosterone levels decline as well. When our hormones change, it is important to look at what we need to restore balance to our physical bodies.
If my body is signaling a decline in energy, I know that it is time to call you as my Naturopath (Dr. Natiya), and ask for bloodwork to test my thyroid.
The ocean helps me to remember that life is about balance. When the delicate ecosystem is out of balance, I can synchronize my breath to the waves, allowing me to go within and ask for guidance.
At our most recent photoshoot on the beach in Malibu I noticed that your yoga asanas and the flow between each matched the sound of the ocean behind and underneath us. Were you aware that you were moving with the waves?
Ah! I love this! I did not know that I was moving with the waves. As someone who studied dance for many years, I have a tendency to move to the music in my mind. The music that day was the melody of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, that music is available to all of us, everyday!
I especially love the beaches in Malibu…drummers, yogis, Instagram models, photographers and brides can be found everywhere. It is a good reminder of the different ways that we all express our creativity, as well as a reminder not to judge or compare.
You have a way of staying calm and centered even with balancing motherhood, designing yoga products, writing books, and offering a flourishing private yoga practice. This flow reminds me of the power and beauty of the ever changing ocean. How do you keep a flow within your busy life?
The Pacific Ocean is my teacher.
I connect with her every morning. Some days she sends me a message to wake up in the form of a cold wave or a jellyfish. Other days she rocks me gently and soothes my nervous system.
Remembering that every day is a little bit different, and that showing up every day is the work allows me to stay receptive to how I can be of service and to find joy in that expression.
Try this short healing meditation on your next beach walk.
Delighting the senses with the rhythm of the ocean.
- Touch: With bare feet walk into the ocean ankle deep and notice how the change in temperature makes your feet and ankles feel. How does the gentle hydrotherapy awaken your breath and your energy level?
- Sound: Listen to ocean (fluttering your eyes closed if the waves are small) and notice how powerful, full, or calming it is. Do you hear the sound only between your ears or does it radiate to any other parts of your body?
- Sight: Looking out at the ocean, try to expand your peripheral vision. How far can you see in front of and next to you when you consciously take in the whole scene?
- Smell: Take a deep breath and observe if you can smell the ocean, if it brings not only the salt but also hydration. Do you notice a change in how you breathe or how deep your breaths become?
Dr. Natiya Guin is a family medicine doctor and safe skin leader who enjoys healing skin from within, increasing client self-confidence, and magnifying whole person health outcomes. Deep Living Skincare by Dr. Natiya
Her vegan, organic line by Deep Living is founded on the belief that skincare should not only be healing, it should be safe. Her products are designed for all ages and are designed to be shared with the whole family.
Photos in article and meditation by Dr. Natiya Guin
Testimony about the author:
Dr Natiya is an amazing naturopathic doctor, who will guide and nurture you in discovering health, expressing your creativity and support you in seeing your magnificence. -Dr. Moira Fitzpatrick