Hope you are well on this snowy Sunday. Today’s updates contain some tips on pigeon pose as Sunda classes had a focus on this asana, a deep hip opening that is helpful for stretching the hip flexors, opens the glutes, relaxes the piriformis and psoas muscles. I also have some additional reflection on some quotes and excerpts from Buddha’s Brain. Today I made a new batch of fire cider and share the recipe and its benefits below.
My new computer arrived, and I was able to finish editing two more videos. Today I put up a 30-minute flow class with core strengthening, check it out on YouTube! The link follows, it is also in the bio section on my Rockbriar Farm’s Instagram account and in the Facebook posts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhJAPlX7fi4&t=5s
I would appreciate if you could follow me on social media (if you use it) and feel free to share the posts and links as we develop our community, it helps!
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Sundays’ classes had a focus on pigeon, a deep hip opening that is helpful for stretching the hip floors, opens the glutes, relaxes the piriformis and psoas muscles.
Pigeon Pose has many health benefits. Physically, it stretches and opens the hips, stretches the thighs, glutes, piriformis and psoas muscles. Internally, it stimulates the abdominal organs and aids in digestion. It can work well to relieve sciatic and back pain and on a more emotional level it can help release built up emotions. As we noticed today, the pose challenges our ability to be in an uncomfortable position/situation. It can make you cry (and not from the uncomfortableness of the pose!)
As the pose is challenging, we approach it only after a series of more gentle hip openers. There are many options for doing this pose and the benefits are the same in any variation.
Starting in tabletop or down dog. Extend the right leg back behind you and then bring the right knee to the right wrist. The shin can be perpendicular to the front edge of your mat or in towards the groin, start slow! Root down through your front leg and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Avoid having one hip higher than the other, or one hip in front of the other (putting a block or blanket/pillow under the hip of the bent leg can help). Adjust the back leg so it is long and extended on the mat. The variation we did today was sleeping pigeon where we then folded forward from the waist, bringing your chest towards the knee and shin, coming down to the forearms or forehead, resting on blocks or pillow is a good modification.
I have spoken about a book from my teacher training called Buddha’s Brain, by Rick Hanson. The theme of the book centers on how great thinkers (Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed to name a few) were all born with brains essentially like anyone else’s and they changed their brains and their work resulting changed the world. The book is quite scientific (but also valuable for those without a scientific bent-like me) and discusses how the flow of thought can sculpt the brain and how it is possible to strengthen positive brain states.
Today I read a quote at the beginning of “The First and Second Dart”. “Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them”. I thought this was incredibly powerful and thought provoking and wanted to share a bit about the dart reference.
“Some physical and mental discomforts are unavoidable. These are the first “darts of life”. When we react to a first dart with one or more the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion-each one of which has craving at its center-we start throwing second darts at ourselves and others. In fact, we often toss second darts even when no first dart is to be found. Most poignantly, we sometimes throw second darts as a reaction to situations that are good, such as receiving a compliment.” He goes on to talk about the science of this and how practices of mindfulness, virtue and wisdom are the essential practices of the path of awakening. Worth a read!
Recipe for Fire Cider
I became convinced of the benefits of fire cider a several years ago, however, the seeds were planted earlier. When I lived in NYC in the 1980’s I met a woman from Jamaica who swore by bathing in a hot bath with vinegar when a cold was coming. I also learned firsthand the curative benefits of hot and sour soup for the same symptoms. The common ingredient-vinegar. Several years ago I started hearing about fire cider. Variations of the concoction I learned has been used as simple and effective remedy to relieve sinus congestion, ward off colds and flus, aid digestion, and increase circulation. Many people swear by drinking unfiltered (with the mother) apple cider vinegar, this is that on steroids. It can be sipped, mixed with other beverages, or used in cooking. I take a shot glass full every morning followed by water. Others I know mix it with hot water, lemon and honey and make a beverage. I don’t like the taste that much, especially in the morning and the benefits are best on an empty stomach.
There are many ways to make it but I suggest that you don’t over think it and stick to the basics which are curative and adjust to taste. I do not measure anything. Most recipes include ingredients like fresh horseradish, garlic, onion, ginger, and dried chile hot peppers. I add ground turmeric root to mine for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as slices of lemon (or lime or orange), peppercorns and sometimes fresh rosemary. I put it into a large class jar (or two) and pour Braggs unfiltered cider vinegar over it. I think this elixir is immune-boosting, antibacterial, antiviral, congestion clearing, and warming.
I chop everything (except the citrus) in the food processer, pack it into a glass jar and pour the vinegar over it. Let it sit 4-6 weeks in the basement (anywhere cool would do). Shake it when you think of it. Strain and put back in the jar and refrigerate.
If you are a recipe person, there are many online. You can also read about it in lots of sources, how to use it, take it and its benefits. You can also buy it in many health foods stores. If you get in the habit of taking it every day, however, you will want to make it yourself – it is expensive.