5 Lessons We Can Learn from Elephants. ~ Heidi Templeton

Via elephant journal
on Jan 24, 2013
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Photo: Jon Mountjoy on Flickr.

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 templetonHeidi 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

Photo: Flickr.


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8 Responses to “5 Lessons We Can Learn from Elephants. ~ Heidi Templeton”

  1. yogajanet says:

    I fell in love with elephants during my time in Kenya. My wonderful sister-in-law sponsered an orphaned elephant in my name for Christmas. Please consider this wonderful program. Elephants are being killed at an alarming rate, destroying family structures and the thread of memories that elephants are so reknowned for. They are being killed, all in the name of ivory. It is horrid. Speak out, sign petitions and lend support so these majestic beings are not wiped out and destroyed. http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/asp/orphans

  2. HeatherM says:

    Wonderful post and very timely re: Elephants. There are more killings reported now than back in the 80's. Apparently, the cost of ivory has gone up so much that poachers and just about any hunter is willing to do anything to get some!. Even to the extent of transporting by tying it to the bottom of ships. After inspections, they get the ivory back on board and away they go. I cannot recall the figure but the cost is outstandingly high for ivory, which is also coveted by religious groups for rituals.

    THE WHITE BONE by Barbara Gowdy is a lovely and really moving tale told from the perspective of MUD, an orphaned elephant who at birth has visionary powers.

  3. Carol Cassello says:

    Helo Heidi – I am Darlene Cassello's mother Carol. I want to thank you for mentioning the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in your blog. I have been working there for 11+ years and everyday I am amazed at the work that is done to protect animals in crisis worldwide. Let me know if you have any questions about IFAW's programs.

  4. John says:

    Great article Heidi! I always look forward to your entertaining yet inspiring insights to an overall happy and healthy life! Keep them coming and keep up the good work. Namaste!

  5. Elephants are some of the most beautiful and majestic creatures I've ever seen! I love the way you incorporate and compare their lives and their way of living to human's; seeing us side by side like that, you can definitely see where humans can learn a few things!

  6. Carolynn says:

    This is exactly the book I thought of when I read this.