"Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." -  Malcolm Forbes

I love going back to school with my colleagues in midlife. Truth be told, many of us never left school…we’ve just kept changing our majors! Research shows that mastering new skills helps our brains stay agile and our social networks robust. According to the American Council of Education, more than 50% of students in the US are older adults for an approximate total of 8 million. The Apollo Research Institute projects enrollment to continue to grow by 20 percent by 2016.

The best part of our cerebral wellness adventures are the class trips. Every year, a group of lifelong learners caravan to a new destination to validate our research and apply our knowledge. We’ve visited holistic learning centers like Kripalu Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, the largest yoga based retreat and educational center in North America. While visiting, we merge our love of learning with our interest in holistic modalities to restore and endure in a world rife with the demands and detours of daily living. We’ve enjoyed the Kripalu community while rejuvenating with daily yoga, meditation, hiking, biking, cross country skiing and lean, green, clean cuisine to recharge our batteries. According to an ancient Ayurvedic proverb, without a proper diet, medicine is of no use but with a proper diet, medicine is of no need. We wish it were all that simple!

Our last transformative escape included rest and relaxation through mindful massages and meditation modules. This year, however, our self love mission during February will focus on learning about the gift of Ayurvedic nutrition. Ayurveda is among the oldest forms of practiced healthcare in the world today with origins rooted back over 5000 years. At it’s core, this Indian based wellness system is a science of self understanding with the goal of attaining optimal health alongside nature’s rhythms. The foundation of Ayurveda is found in the the five elements of ether(space), air, fire, water and earth. Turns out we each have very individual doshas or constitutions which can be understood and then supported by customized lifestyle choices. This includes recommendations on food types and its preparation, specific dosha appropriate herbs and spices, pulse awareness, behavior modifications, yoga and oil based massage therapies to enhance one’s vitality, longevity and overall health. We loved the notion that a full life well lived according to Ayurvedic principles is one filled with physical and emotional nourishment….a perfect modality that prioritizes open minded learning and self love in a month that celebrate’s Valentine’s Day!

Jamaica Yoga Teaching AdventureJamaica Yoga Teaching Adventure

DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated business/wellness spokesleader that keynotes, consults and coaches on enlightened leadership themes in the corporate, wellness and convention space. Learn more at donnalyn.org/workshops or on Facebook & Twitter @DonnaLynSpeaks Locally, she's an insurance planning entrepreneur, leadership trainer and adjunct professor of economics and business.