I write this post in advance of a trip I will take with my high school girlfriends; some I have known since I was 7. A long time. We are fortunate that most of us see each other at least a couple of times a year, remarkable since we are spread across the country.
We all, sometimes and unintentionally, take friendships for granted. If you, like me, have these enduring relationships, you may also contemplate how unusual it is and, more importantly, what makes them stay intact. My experience has taught me that solid friendships with longevity need the following ingredients: shared experiences (good and bad), compassion, acceptance, trust, benevolence, communication, honesty, respect, humor and, most important, hard work. Let’s face it, maintaining any relationship is a lot of work, friendships are no exception.
So, if you are as blessed as I am to have a good friend(s), do the work, cultivate it faithfully, you will be well rewarded. And remember, as Oprah said, “lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”.
While there are plenty of serious chats on these trips, there is also plenty of time for silliness and laughter. Sometimes it even revolves around my encouraging yoga practice in the sand and us all falling over giggling. Grab a friend, go for a walk, a yoga practice or a cup of coffee – just don’t forget to laugh!
Our Practice – (Laughing Through) Vrksansana – Tree Pose
Tree pose is one of the first balancing poses we try in yoga. As I have said to everyone in class, and I say this from experience, the most important thing to do in tree pose (or balancing in general) is to maintain a sense of humor and breath. Seriously, we all hold our breath and get too serious! This is yoga - not rocket science, thank goodness. We usually warm up with some other hip openers to prepare (figure four, lizard, knee to sky in down dog) and come to tree pose as a “peak” pose.
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, most important to maintain humor, smile and breathe.
Don’t forget the other side.
Remember foot can go anywhere on leg just not on the knee as that could cause injury.
Meditating on Friendship and Humor
“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows you are slightly cracked.”
“Friends give you a shoulder to cry on. But best friends are ready with a shovel to hurt the person that made you cry.”
“Good friends must not always be together; It is the feeling of oneness when distant That proves a lasting friendship.”
Nurturing with Food – Chick Pea Salad Sandwich (or not!)
Last time we were in Florida, my friend Pat and I made this salad twice (in a week). It is great in a salad or a sandwich, we will very likely be enjoying this on the beach as you read this!
See you on the mat,