March 7, 2021
Hope this Sunday finds you well, I am enjoying the sunshine!
I am working on growing our community and appreciate all of your help. Would appreciate if you can share not only the social media posts and the links to the YouTube videos as public, but invite anyone you think would appreciate our community to join a class. 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 are focusing on the relationship between yoga and nature. So many of the yoga poses are inspired and named after the natural world and its creatures. Anyone who has done yoga outdoors undertands the joy of holding a pose and noticing a subtle brush of the wind on your cheek, the "music" of the birds and the warmth of the sun on your back. Yoga is so much more than just asanas (poses). The definition of yoga comes from the Sanskrit word to yoke, join or unite. Patanjali, writer of the Yoga Sutras in the 2nd or 3rd century- considered a sort of guidebook of classic yoga-defined "yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or the restraint of the modifications of the “mind-stuff “. In clearer terms, when you can control the rising of the mind, you will experience Yoga or Union. Based on this, and my understanding that all yoga is a meditation, I believe that you can find yoga in many activities other than the traditional poses. Hiking and pausing for a view that takes your breath away, walking lost in thought in the woods, these, to me, are all yoga. In celebration of the yoga and the nature connection, today we focus on tree pose.
Tree Pose (Vrksansana) is one
of the first balancing poses we try in yoga.
As I have said to everyone in class, and I say this from experience, the most important things to do in tree pose (or balancing in general) is to maintain a sense of humor and breath. Seriously, we all hold our breath and get too serious!
This is yoga not rocket science, thank goodness. We usually warm up with some other hip openers to prepare (figure four, lizard, knee to sky in down dog) and come to tree pose as a “peak” pose. Tree pose helps strengthen our core and legs
and stretches our groin and opens our hips.
Building balance is important especially as we age; balance, along with a strong core, will help keep us active and healthy for a long time!
1. Start in mountain pose (tadasana), hands at heart center. Check in with your alignment head to feet, and
that your feet are rooted into the floor evenly through all four corners.
2. Begin to shift your
weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don't lock the knee.
3. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your ankle, calf or inner right thigh. If on the ankle, you
can keep your toes on the floor, hip is open to the side.
4. Press your foot into your leg and your leg into the thigh, engage your core, focus on your drishti (focal point that is not moving). Take 5-10 breaths, adding your arms (branches). Remember, most important to maintain humor, smile and breathe.
5. Don’t forget the other side.
Remember foot can go anywhere on leg just not
on the knee as that could cause injury.
Today in class I read an excerpt from an essay by Madeline M Kunin. She was an American diplomat,
author and politician. She served as the 77th Governor of Vermont from 1985 until 1991, as a member of the Democratic Party. She also served as United States Ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 1999. She was Vermont's first and, to date, only female governor as well as the first Jewish governor
of Vermont. She was also the first Jewish woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state.
WHEN ALL THE WORLD APPEARS TO BE IN A TUMULT, AND
NATURE ITSELF IS FEELING THE ASSAULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE,THE SEASONS RETAIN THEIR
ESSENTIAL RHYTHM. YES, FALL GIVES US A PREMONITION OF WINTER, BUT THEN, WINTER,
WILL BE FORCED TO RELENT, ONCE AGAIN, TO THE NEW BEGINNINGS OF SOFT GREENS,
LONGER LIGHT, AND THE SWEET AIR OF SPRING.” -
Nurturing Through Food
Bowls for When “There Is Nothing In The House For Lunch”
You know how it is, you go to the fridge and there is
“nothing healthy (or good) for lunch”? I
have developed a couple of strategies to ensure that there is always a
delicious and healthy option that I can pull together in a pinch. First, I always have farro, quinoa, kamut,
brown rice or some grain precooked in a Tupperware in the fridge as well as some type of bean. I keep canned on hand
although a batch of dried legumes cooked keeps much longer in the fridge, and they taste better! Another staple is
pesto, either frozen in tiny cubes from summer or bought in the store, I like Trader Joe’s vegan pesto as a dip, spread or to use in recipes. With those items on hand, you can build a
bowl from almost anything.
The one I made today for lunch included the following:
Mixed some cooked faro with some pesto and heated in
microwave. Meanwhile, had half a pepper,
handful of baby spinach, some already cooked spaghetti squash and some cabbage which I sautéed in a little olive oil (you could steam with broth). I topped the warmed farro with a handful of chickpeas, the cooked veggies, then some sliced tomatoes, radishes and cucumber went on top of that. A drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Took maybe 5-8
minutes to pull together and was delicious.
You could get creative adding in pickled items like
kimchee, as well as seeds and nuts. There are many premade condiments and sauces that you can keep in the
fridge to mix with the grain as an alternative to the pesto.
Here is a link to the website with a photo: https://www.rockbriarfarm.com/recipes
See you on the mat.