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April 14 2024 Embracing Spring Renewal: Nourishing Body and Soul with Tree Pose, Daffodils, and Asian Inspired Salad



Despite the weather, or perhaps because of the greyness, I have had gardening on my mind. I have been especially struck by how vibrant the daffodils appear this year; perhaps because spring has seemed so dreary, the vivid yellow of the flowers and the forsythia bushes have seemed especially bright and my thoughts have been about planting. Planting in terms of spring gardening, yes, but also in a more abstract way about life in general. Spring makes us think of shoots growing up from the earth, of rebirth, of new beginnings. I think about planting seeds of hope, cultivating new interests or behaviors that we can tend and encourage. Perhaps in our yoga practice we plant the seeds of an expanded practice, growing by five or ten minutes a day, nurturing our body and soul. Like small plants, this habit cannot be rushed but gently coaxed and, if we tend it, it will grow. I am planning to focus my yogic growth on some spiritual study, perhaps revisiting the Bhagavad Gita for a few minutes each day after my physical practice, planting some seeds for some sacred growth. I also plan, as soon as we get some sun, to get into my gardens to plant some actual seeds!


Our (Spring) Practice – Tree Pose (Vrksansana)



Tree pose invokes spring. Leaves budding on the trees, brilliant greens coloring the often-dreary spring sky and later flowering with brilliant colors – what is more inspiring than a tall, majestic tree?  Let’s channel our inner (majestic) trees and practice this beautiful pose this week.


Tree pose helps strengthen our core and legs and stretches our groin and opens our hips.  Building balance is important especially as we age; balance, along with a strong core, will help keep us active and healthy for a long time!

  • Start in mountain pose (tadasana), hands at heart center.  Check in with your alignment head to feet, and that your feet are rooted into the floor evenly through all four corners.

  • Begin to shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don't lock the knee.

  • Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your ankle, calf or inner right thigh.  If on the ankle, you can keep your toes on the floor, hip is open to the side.

  • Press your foot into your leg and your leg into the thigh, engage your core, focus on your drishti (focus point that is not moving). Take 5-10 breaths, adding your arms (branches).  Remember, it is most important to maintain humor, smile and breathe.

  • Don’t forget the other side.


Meditating On The Beauty of Spring



Daffodils by William Wordsworth


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not be but gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed ‘and gazed ‘but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.


Nurturing with Food – Asian Inspired Salad with Ginger Dressing



My closest friends know that salad is my favorite food. Not some little lettuce, tomato, cucumber salad, but big, beautiful salads with lots of greens and interesting ingredients to savor. Even when eating Asian food, I can appreciate a salad which many people do not think of. I came up with this recipe and like it anytime, even if I am not having my favorite Pho or Thai dish alongside.



Enjoy!

See you on the mat!

 

 

 

 

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