I have been thinking a lot about the hesitation that some people have before trying yoga. I was a prime example. I knew that yoga would help my flexibility and probably my chronic back issues, but I was nervous for those same reasons; would I be flexible enough, would my back prevent me from doing “well”, would I be embarrassed? Of course now I know how wrong I was. At the time I did not understand about one’s practice being their own, in fact I do not think I understand the meaning of yoga as a practice, not a perfect. In almost every instance of my trying new yoga studios, even in my earliest days, I felt welcomed and part of a greater community. I will admit, there were one or two times that I went to a class and did not feel good about the experience. Usually centering around not feeling welcomed by staff or being told just the basics of where to go. In one case, I was travelling. After I got back (and the class was great), I emailed the studio owner in response to one of those “how was your experience” surveys. I told her that while the class was super and the studio beautiful, I was a bit uncomfortable as the front desk staff was disinterested and not helpful to someone who did not even know where the changing area was! She wrote back immediately, apologized, and from that a connection grew and we have stayed in touch. I plan to practice at her studio when I go back to Greenville for my son’s “one year later” graduation in May. That experience has taught me again that yoga is a practice (for the studio owner as well) and we need to keep at it, not to be “perfect” but to continue to hone our craft of well-being, to help ourselves continue to grow physically, mentally, healthfully – or whatever our yogic goals may be. Back to the community idea which is what I really wanted to talk about. While yoga is excellent exercise, to me it is part of a greater journey of health, spirituality and oneness with the world. Part of that journey is the community that we meet along the way. Many of you know that I am a huge fan of Desikachar and his book, Heart of Yoga. I have probably read it 5 times and continually refer to it. His belief was that there is a right yoga for every person and not one size fits all and is why not every yoga community fits all. We adapt yoga to our bodies, age, health and cultural background. When we do this, each person’s yoga is their own, not the replication of some ideal. “Anyone who can breathe can do Yoga,” Desikachar would say. “It is the practical means by which the ideals of an inspired life can be actualized.” I celebrate your yoga journey with you and look forward to deepening our practice together! For more on Desikachar, check out the website
I would love some day to have a workshop series reading that book together. If anyone is interested, let me know.
Our practice – Chair Pose with Prayer Twist (Parivitta Utkatasana)
We have talked about the benefits of twisting in a yoga practice, the cleansing benefits as well as the indisputable benefits for spinal health and flexibility. Today I was thinking about one of our most challenging symmetrical poses, chair pose (also known as thunderbolt or fierce pose). It is powerful in its ability to strengthen our core, thighs, glutes and back muscles. Adding in the prayer twist adds in benefits of detoxification and digestive health as well as spinal mobility. Perhaps consider its multi-tasking benefits next time it challenges us!
For detail on proper alignment and modifications, I found this simple explanation in Yoga Journal, link follows. https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/5-steps-strong-alignment-revolved-chair-pose/
Meditation - The Power of the Sea
I walk to the beach almost every day, I believe that the power of sea water and air for me is healing. There is part of homeopathy that asks patients about their feelings about the sea and homeopathic physicians recognize the healing properties of it for patients of a certain “constitution”. If the sea is that for you, then you know what I mean. When I walk at daybreak, I always feel that the light at the beach in on an early spring morning is filled with so much promise.
"Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” - Christy Ann Martine
Perhaps spend some time this week reflecting on the wonder of nature - how powerful yet calming the ocean can be, and the simple joy that simply gazing and smelling the sea can bring. Yoga is anywhere, it is simply breathing and being - the poses are extra credit!
Nurturing with Food
The Best Zucchini Muffins Ever
For many years I have attempted to find a balance with healthful eating and the occasional baked good, to varying levels of success. My father got to the point that before trying anything he would ask if they were “fat free” - remember that phase? Maybe around 1990 or so, I should ask my friend Pat, we counted fat grams incessantly then and were huge fans of Susan Powter (you will show your young age by saying who?). Then came the gluten free phase (although I have not participated wholeheartedly in that), paleo, again not a fan being almost vegan - and now I think I have settled into my sensible place- trying to find healthful recipes that do not sacrifice taste and texture.
I am not even going to type this recipe up as it is one that I have not modified or changed from the original source- instead, will give you the link to Healthy Zucchini Muffins on the web site of gimmesomeoven.com. A few adjustments that I made:
· I did not have enough pure maple syrup so I used a little honey also, I think either would be fine.
· I used cashew milk but if you are not trying to be dairy free, I am sure regular milk would be good.
· I am using all the frozen zucchini in the freezer. So, a bag labeled 4 cups when defrosted and drained equals the 1 ½ cups in the recipe. I am quite sure mine were zucchini heavy so do not be afraid to use more even if using fresh!
· I am going to try adding some blueberries next time and maybe a banana….
If you substitute something for the eggs (flax?) would love to know how they turn out as well as any other comments.
These are good, very good! https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/healthy-zucchini-muffins-recipe/
See you on the mat