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July 18 2021 Spinal Twist Updated – Gratitude for the Present – Green Bean Salad

Our Practice – Windshield Wiper Twisting for Spinal Joy

I continue to spend much time in our classes talking about feeling good in the lower back. For many of us, the key to a life without chronic back pain and the accompanying pain killers and muscle relaxers, is a strong core and back as well as a regime of stretching and lengthening. This twist that we have been incorporating into class does wonders for my spine. It is a seated twist with windshield wiper legs. Thought I would highlight it as a reminder to you to include in your home practice.

First start with traditional seated windshield wiper twist.

  • Bend knees in front of you, soles of the feet on the mat, feet mat width apart. Place hands on the mat slightly behind you for support.

  • Drop both knees to the right

  • Then up and over to the left (like windshield wipers)

  • Do this twice pausing for a breath on each side.


  • Start seated on mat with knees bent in front of you hands on mat slightly behind you for support – feet are mat width apart (same as above)

  • Drop knees to the right (legs are both in approximately 90 degree angles).

  • Bring your left hand across your body to the right side next to your right hand as you begin twisting gently to the right. Adjust your twist so it is comfortable not going too far.

  • Stay up on hands or gently lower to forearms (or down to the floor).

  • Breathe in and out 3-10 cycles. Gently push up and take it to the other side.


Meditation on Gratitude for The Here and Now

Been thinking about gratitude again. I had a lovely dinner with my sister the other night on our way back from her oncology checkup in Boston (good!). Over the past year and a half that we have been going to Boston for her treatments, we have had many conversations. This one was remarkable in its unremarkable-ness. Instead of talking the whole time about the cancer, we chatted about a family weekend we hope to go on, argued a little about stupid stuff, and generally had a great time! I should be filled with gratitude on so many fronts, especially that one, and I am not always good about savoring it. Sometimes I find myself wishing for this or that, if only I had X, if only my stomach were flatter, if only my boys did not leave dishes in the sink, if only my dog didn’t shed…. I understand it is in my DNA to always be striving for some goal (career, perfect garden/house, etc.) but that does not negate the importance of feeling content or grateful for where I am and what I have around me. When I do stop to think about it, I am filled with gratitude for the small things, like eating a meal with my sister, sitting on my patio watching the hummingbirds, walking to the ocean, or spending time with friends that I am content to just “be” with-no words necessary. I ask you to join me in a challenge: each day lets strive to savor the good around us, to take 10 minutes to sit outdoors, take a moment to have a fun text exchange with a family member, to reach out and talk to a friend, to hug our children/spouse/friend, and acknowledge it all with deep gratitude.

"Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for" - Epicurus

I loved the quote but had never heard of Epicurus. So, in case you are interested, he was a Greek philosopher (died in 270 AD), author of an ethical philosophy of simple pleasure, friendship, and retirement. He founded schools of philosophy that survived directly from the fourth century BC until the 4th century AD.

Nurturing with Food – Green Bean Salad

Finding ourselves with an abundance of green beans every summer resulted in my developing this salad recipe which I have tweaked many times. The corn was an addition when I had three cooked ears left over one day. The original recipe had crumbled blue cheese or feta. Feel free to experiment and enjoy this on a hot summer night – full of the flavors of summer.

Link to recipe.

See you on the mat!

Julia Anne

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