If you were opening my presents on Christmas day you would see a common theme: elephants!
My family got the memo on my minor obsession with these gentle giants! Their intelligence, instincts and family values have captivated me and I believe they have such a great message.
Here are five lessons we can learn from them and apply to our everyday life:
1. Listen to your elders.
Elephants are born with fewer survival instincts than many other animals. Instead, they must rely on their elders to teach them the things they need to know. They’ve been there and done that. Easier said than done, right? Yeah, for me too but they’ve seen a lot of change and you can learn from the good and the bad. Of course every situation is different and sometimes you can learn what not to do, and if your elders are anything like mine you’ve learned not to leave the house without wearing lipstick!
2. Have thick skin.
An elephant’s skin is extremely tough and measures about an inch thick. I’ve learned that this one takes major practice. With the Internet these days everyone is a critic and everyone has an opinion (I’m sure I’ll get a couple of opinions with this blog). Instead of getting emotional about things, take a deep breath and walk away. Hey—at least you put yourself out there!
3. Eat your fruits and veggies!
Elephants are herbivores. 75 percent of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. It’s no wonder why Americans are suffering from digestive and heart diseases and cancers. An apple a day goes a long way!
4. Touching is an important form of communication.
Individuals will greet each other by stroking or wrapping their trunks; the latter also occurs during mild competition. Older elephants use trunk-slaps, kicks and shoves to discipline younger ones. You can interpret this one a couple of ways, but everyone raises their kids differently! What I want you to take away from this is to shake hands, hug and kiss. Touching is one of the greatest forms of communication and hugging is actually shown to reduce heart disease—it relieves tension, stress and it’s great for relationships!
5. Drink more H2O!
When an elephant drinks, it sucks as much as two gallons (7.5 liters) of water into its trunk at a time. Then it curls its trunk under, sticks the tip of its trunk into its mouth, and blows. Out comes the water, right down the elephant’s throat. Water helps you look and feel younger, it lubricates the joints, it’s great for your skin, aids in weight maintenance and detoxifies! Depending on your level of activity shoot for one to three liters a day.
Like a lot of wild animals, elephants need our help—poaching has dwindled their numbers immensely and with ivory products in high demand elephants are in danger! Please check out the International Fund for Animal Welfare http://www.ifaw.org/united-states to see how you can help.
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
Heidi Templeton is a Tampa Bay Area yoga instructor specializing in vinyasa, hot and standup paddle board yoga. When she’s not practicing asana, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up vegetarian dishes. Heidi is sharing her love for all things health and wellness on www.facebook.com/HeidiFit.
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Assistant Ed: Jennifer Townsend
Ed: Kate Bartolotta