January 17, 2021
Hope you are well. The beginning of every year is always a bit frenetic; we are full of resolutions and admonishment for ourselves about holiday indulgences, spending and other "sins", and bad behavior. I suggest that we start this new year being a bit gentler with ourselves, not take on heavy or overwhelming resolutions but embark on small changes. Maybe a 15 minute walk at mid day, one day a week of plant based eating, one day a week without wine..... :) Even better, once a week "pay it forward" in the DD line, once a day randomly smile or compliment someone, once a day focus on something to be grateful for 15 seconds. OK!
We had a few new readings this week at the end of class. I think the one that got the most conversation is worth repeating. I saw it in a book I read in yoga teacher training called Buddha's Brain - the practical neuroscience of happiness, wisdom, and love. The quote by Nkosi Johnson was at the beginning of a chapter called Strong Intentions and read "Be all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are."
Just a reminder, if you have a strap and block please "bring" it to class. In one class this week we also used a tennis ball for some foot massaging, so if you have one bring that as well. If you have two blocks i would like to try a supported fish pose over the next week or two, so have them handy. I am working on a you tube channel (or my son is) as I made some short videos to share but was having trouble uploading them to email because of their size. Sam will have that in draft form this evening and I will let you know later how to find it. First up will be a 10 minute core strengthener.
I chatted with some of you about fire log pose, also known as double pigeon and agnistambhasana in Sanskrit. This pose stretches the outer hips intensely, particularly the piriformis, which is often the main culprit of sciatic pain. This also opens the hips and the groin, and releases tension, anxiety, and pent-up stress. Note: Warm up the body and hips before trying this deep hip opener. I found this helpful instruction in Yoga Journal (some paraphrasing).
How to do it: Stack the legs ankle-to-knee, ankle-to-knee like fire logs. Flex the feet and actually let the top foot hang off the bottom thigh a bit if this is accessible to you, framing the knees with the feet. Sit on a block, or place blocks/a rolled blanket/towels under the thighs for greater access in the pose if the hips are too tight to move into this without props. Once set up, fold the upper half of the body forward. Keep the sit bones on the ground and use the weight of the body to move more deeply into the pose. Breathe evenly and deeply and hold the pose for 2-10 minutes on each side.
Finally, wanted to share a recipe that I make all the time in the crock pot for vegan split pea soup (speaking of resolutions). I adapted it from the Moosewood Cookbook-one of my favorite cookbooks and constant go tos. I will put it on Instagram later with photos.
Vegan Split Pea Soup
Into a crock pot put: 2-3 ribs of celery, 2-3 carrots, one onion chopped. Add 3 cups split peas (i use green or yellow or a mixture), one thinly sliced potato, 7 cups of water or veg broth, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, a bay leaf. Turn on crock pot and let it cook, stir it if you are around. Ready on high in maybe 3 hours. Less if you like the peas more firm/whole. I sometimes add a can of diced tomatoes or 1-2 fresh diced. When ready to serve, serve with a drizzle of sesame oil and fresh chopped parsley if desired. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Enjoy, have a nice week. As always, reach out with any questions or ideas.