Hope this Sunday finds you well.
Class schedule remains unchanged, Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30 and Sunday at 9:00 AM EST on Zoom, sign up through the website.
Please share the social media posts and the links to the YouTube videos as public, I appreciate your referrals very much. As always, if you or anyone you know is not practicing with us due to financial constraints, please message me privately. First class for new students is on me.
This week we focus on the power of friendship and how true friendship supports us throughout life. Having one good friend that we can count on is transformational; the friend that you may not talk to for months but will be there for you in an instant, mentally, or physically if you reach out, the friend that you can pick up with as if no time has passed, even if it has! I am very blessed to have these kinds of friends in my life, and I recognize the work that it takes to maintain these relationships. Sometimes I do better at it than others. Let us take this week to focus on friendship, its benefits, and the importance of nurturing it. Reach out to a friend you have not spoken to in a while, maybe invite them for a walk or to practice yoga with you virtually if they live far away.
When we talk about friendship in yoga speak, we think of the heart chakra. We know that physically yoga supports a healthy heart. In life, however, hurts, betrayal and other emotional experiences block our hearts-we allow this to avoid additional hurt or pain. This results in the heart chakra, one of the primary energy centers in the body, becoming closed or unbalanced. We then may find it difficult to experience love, compassion, grace. Physical ailments can also develop. As we work through our physical and mental yoga and meditation practice, we strive to open our heart, balance the heart chakra and be receptive to love and human connections, friendships.
There are many poses to encourage the heart opening, balance the heart chakra, and release tension including back bends like camel, bridge, and fish. This week we have started noticing the heart openers and discussed anjaneyasana (low lunge) with gentle back bend, arms in cactus.
The pose honors the monkey god Hanuman using his mother’s name, Anjani. Lord Hanuman is a central part of Hindu devotional worship, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The pose resembles a young, divine child (anjaneya), reaching towards the sky and the warmth of the sun.
Anjaneyasana (low lunge):
Starting in downward dog, inhale. As you exhale, step your right foot forward, between your hands. Lower your left knee to the floor, sliding the foot back until you feel a nice stretch in the left hip and thigh. Keep the hips low and level with each other. As you inhale, engage your lower belly and lift your chest away from the thigh, sweeping the arms up alongside your ears. Come into a gentle backbend lifting your chest toward the sky, arms over head or in cactus. As you exhale, lower your hands back down and step back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat on the other side
This week we read a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson on friendship. He was an American Transcendentalist poet, philosopher and essayist during the 19th century and started his career as a Unitarian minister. “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.
Nurturing Through Food
Here is my “recipe” for minestrone soup. I suggest you make this, pack some in a thermos and meet a friend for a walk and soup, socially distanced of course!
Vegan Minestrone Soup
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 onion, thinly sliced (any kind)
· 2 carrots, diced
· 2 stalks celery diced
· 2-3 garlic cloves diced
· 1 large can diced tomatoes.
· 3-4 cups beans (mixture of cannellini, kidney, pinto or whatever you have one kind is fine too). I use dry and prepare ahead otherwise canned is fine.
1 small zucchini, sliced
Cup or two of green beans or other vegetables chopped roughly
teaspoon dried parsley, basil, oregano, or other herbs to taste, use fresh if you have them.
2 bay leaves
7-10 cups of water or vegetable broth or more depending on how much beans and vegetables you add.
Note: I use whatever vegetables I have in my crisper in addition to the onion and garlic. It is not exact, today I made it with part of a zucchini, yellow squash, some green beans and broccoli because that is what I had. I have also used frozen vegetables to supplement in the past. I also do not add pasta like ditalini when making it but you could cook some separately and add when you serve it. (Otherwise, it gets mushy and sucks up all of the broth).
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Mix in garlic, onion and carrots, celery and sauté until just tender; approximately 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, beans, and some of the water. Mix in green beans and zucchini or whatever vegetables you are using. Sprinkle parsley, basil, oregano, bay leaves, any other seasoning, salt and fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes if desired; stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover, and let simmer 30 minutes, then turn off and let it cool to room temperature. This is not exact recipe so add more water or vegetable broth depending on how many beans and vegetables you use.
See you on the mat.