August 14 – Musing on Simple – Cat (Maryjaryasana) and Cow (Bitilasana) – Zucchini Cucumber Gazpacho
I have been struck by how the simplest things can bring so much pleasure and contrast that with how much energy and planning I often put into the next big thing. That might be a vacation, or party or even the planning of some major purchase. I often think about the happiness that this thing or event will bring me, and often it does. I spent some time practicing yoga around the full moon this past week. On Saturday evening my husband made sandwiches and we sat at the beach and watched the sunset. Another day I spent several hours at the beach with a friend. I read my book and took a short nap (something I never do). Reflecting on the week, and the work and family stresses that accompanied it, I realized how these simple outings and experiences were so special and how they lifted my spirits. We often take these simple things for granted, and they are right there ready to fill our hearts, always accessible, if we just open ourselves up and appreciate them.
Our Practice – Cow (Bitilasana) and Cat (Marjaryasana) Pose
The gentle sequence of moving through cow and cat pose has been a part of my daily routine for many years. It is a great way to start the day, warming the spine, and prepares us for additional movement and poses. It just feels great. Simple. In a short article I read in India.com the author suggests that this fusion of two stretches, is “beneficial for your body and mind”. He goes on to suggest that it should be done every day as it “powers up your brain and improves focus, coordination and mental stability” while also improving “blood circulation between the vertebrae” and helps relieves back pain and stress. The latter part I can attest to.
The sequence is simple, however, taking your time and moving through the full range of motion slowly enhances the benefits for me.
For details on the practicing the pose and its benefits, check out this article from Greatist.
Meditation – Joy In The Simple Things
As we move throughout our day let's find appreciation and pleasure in the simple things that surround us.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive”. – Elenora Duse
Elenora Duse (1858+1921) was an Italian actress, rated by many as the greatest of her time. She performed in many countries, notably in the plays of Gabriele d’Annuzio and Henrik Ibsen.
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter. To be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” – John Burroughs.
John Burroughs (April 3, 1837 – March 29, 1921) was an American naturalist and nature essayist, active in the U.S. conservation movement.
Nurturing with Food – Cucumber and Zucchini Gazpacho
I had lunch at a local farm to table oyster bar recently, Matunuck Oyster Bar. It was, as usual, very good. It was a very hot day, and they were serving a cucumber gazpacho. A relatively new fan of cold soup, I found inspiration in their version to develop a recipe for gazpacho including both the cucumber and the zucchinis that were over running our garden. I developed this recipe after studying many others and tweaking to my taste. Really good at the beach on a hot day!
See you on the mat!