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July 16-Soundtrack of Our Youth-Dancing With Abandon-Natarjarasa-Dancers Pose-Nana's Cucumber Salad

My husband Peter and I recently attended a Fleetwood Mac tribute band concert with some friends. I am such a Fleetwood Mac fan: I celebrated Christine McVie’s return to the band by seeing them twice during their “On With The Show Tour” in 2014/2015. I am so glad that I embraced that opportunity as my habit is often to put things off (especially if it involves staying up past my bedtime) as Christine McVie passed away this past year. She was my favorite. While at the recent tribute show, I found myself wondering, who are all these old people and how do they know Fleetwood Mac? Note, I was one of them!

As you listen to the soundtrack to your much younger life, it is easy to find yourself transported back in time and to get caught up in memories of a more carefree time. I think that makes us naturally feel happy.

There is science around the power of music and memory. Research shows that music has a strong impact on the brain function and the knowledge around this is being used in therapy for dementia and other memory disorders as well as anxiety, stress, and depression. There is evidence that these therapies may also help with learning disabilities and physical conditions including chronic pain, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. I know that certain songs from my teenage years provide a mood boost, who doesn’t feel better after rocking out to Don’t Stop, written by Christine McVie?

In the spirit of channeling joy through the music of our youth, let’s take our yoga (dance) off the mat this week. I suggest cranking up your favorite old tune and dancing while singing along. Today I am comfortable doing this with abandon while providing entertainment for my sons, husband, and pets - in 1977 I would not have been caught dead doing it - unless perhaps I had blown dried my hair, put on the right outfit and been with my posse at a school dance!

I love the contrast of one of my favorite videos of Fleetwood Mac performing Don’t Stop in 1997, 20 years after its release versus the official music video from 1977. Thee band just seems so much more relaxed and having more fun than in the 1997 one!

Here is the 1977 one:

The connection between music and memory is explored in the following article from the Washington Post.

Our Practice – Natarajasana – Dancer Pose

What pose invokes joy and music more than dancer? Rather than taking ourselves too seriously while trying it, let’s have some fun, maintain our sense of humor, and channel our teenage selves!

In addition to being fun, dancer pose is a wonderful pose for improving balance and concentration. It strengthens the feet, legs, core and arms while opening the front of the body as well as the hip flexors and shoulders.

  • Start in tadasana, mountain pose, standing firmly and focusing on a drishti out in front of you about eye level.

  • Bend your right leg and bring your left foot back to your buttock and hold your foot (inside or outside) with the same hand. Hold that pose, firming up the standing leg and finding your balance before moving on.

  • Keeping your torso upright, the chest open and the tailbone lengthening to the floor, start to shift your weight forward, hinging in the hips, pushing your left foot back and into your hand raising the leg until the thigh bone gets parallell (maybe) to the floor.

  • Lift your sternum in a gentle back bend. Knee is toward the ground (rather than opening the hip).

  • Lift your right right arm in front either parallel or next to your ear. Stay for 5-10 breaths, gently come down and repeat on the other side.

For more detail on the pose and its benefits refer to the attached article in Yoga Journal.

Meditation on Dancing and Joy

There is an India proverb that says, “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.”

“Yoga is a dance of dealing with what is and allowing yourself to fully experience whatever you’re experiencing right here, in the moment. In life, we so often resist what we don’t like or don’t want to do. Here, on your mat, is a safe opportunity to see what’s on the other side of that. Physical asana is a measure of some higher possibility. Put your attention on what you want to have happen and be for it, and watch the magic unfold.” — Baron Baptiste

“Whenever I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable, I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest”. – Henry David Thoreau

Nurturing with Food – Nana’s Cucumber Salad

I have featured this salad often when our garden starts producing cucumbers. My grandmother served this salad almost every evening for dinner when cucumbers were in season. We ate these meals at a long table on her front porch; eating this salad reminds me of her pachysandra beds that ran the length of the porch that we kids would try to launch ourselves over, eating watermelon on that porch and spitting the seeds and watching an abundance of fireflies. I guess in those days we still ate non genetically engineered watermelons! The best ones. Enjoy!

See you on the mat!


Julia Anne

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