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November 19 2023- Thanksgiving Embodying Tolerance- Camel Pose Utrasana – Winter Squash & Apple Soup

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

With all that is happening in the world I continue to think about compromise and acceptance, tolerance. Seems like a simple concept. As I did some preparations for Thanksgiving in my own home today, I pondered on the idea of the grace or prayers we say around a table (not necessarily limited to Thanksgiving). All religions have them, and many people who do not practice an organized religion also observe the ritual of giving thanks and expressing gratitude. I read prayers from all the major religions of the world and was struck, yet again, by how similar the sentiments are. Honoring a greater being, expressing humility and gratitude for what we have, extending a helping hand to those less fortunate and professing peace and love are common themes. But still we have wars raging in the name of religion, greed and lack of tolerance and willingness to compromise. We have people weaponizing politics against those who do not look or act as they do or believe differently. So again, this week I suggest we focus on gratitude and tolerance and think about how we can, in our own small way, bring it forward every day.

Meantime, on a lighter night, around the holidays I usually remind my fellow yogis (including myself) that it is natural and also important to explore many topics around the Thanksgiving table. There is no one that I know that enjoys a healthy, researched, intelligent debate, more than me! Perhaps this year let’s practice that above mentioned tolerance with our own family, find commonality and compromise in our discourse. And when we feel the need to express a dissenting view, do it with grace and humility (and well researched facts!)-maybe wait till desert is served. Living our yoga off the mat!


I also suggest we remember this country’s Indigenous People with great thanks remembering that they shared their knowledge of how to live off the land, their skills for surviving as well as their food with the first white settlers who were ill prepared for living in nature.


The article below notes thankful prayers from religions all around the world that celebrate giving thanks, note the similarities!

Our Practice – Opening Our Hearts with Gratitude – Utrasana - Camel Pose


As we think about expressing gratitude, we think about opening our heart. As we practice heart openers, we open ourselves up to tolerance, gratitude and perhaps also possibility? Physical benefits of heart opening poses can be increased energy and reduced fatigue as well as increased spinal flexibility, strengthened back muscles and improved posture. Camel also stretches the front of the body, particularly the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors, I modified instructions I found in a YogaInternational article to align with my learning and teaching:


  • Begin in a high kneeling position with your thighs parallel to each other and your hands on your lower back (fingers up or down). Tuck your toes under (later you can try with tops of the feet flat).

  • Lift up out of your belly and waist to lengthen your spine. As you move into the backbend, lead with your chest, and let your head follow (think rainbow versus leaning back).

  • Try not to toss your head back but also avoid tucking your chin or not moving your head at all. Initiate the backbend with your chest and move the back of your head back (not the crown) to keep length in the back of your neck.

  • This could be enough, hold for several breaths. If you want to take it a little further, you can reach one hand or both hands back towards your heels. Press your pelvis forward thinking about the rainbow image or back bending over a huge exercise ball as you lead with your chest and move the back of your head back to follow.

  • When you're ready to come up out of the pose, lead with your chest, pressing your hands at the lower back to support. Head comes up last.


Meditating on Gratitude Peace (Love and Understanding)


Nick Lowe wrote the song popularized by Elvis Costello and others. The tried-and-true lyrics are inspirational as a plea for peace and tolerance.


As I walk through

This wicked world

Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.

I ask myself

Is all hope lost?

Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,

There's one thing I wanna know:

What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Oh

What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?

And as I walked on

Through troubled times

My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes

So where are the strong

And who are the trusted?

And where is the harmony?

Sweet harmony.

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry.

What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Oh

What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?

So where are the strong?

And who are the trusted?

And where is the harmony?

Sweet harmony.

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry.

What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?

What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?

Understanding brother

Understanding sister


I love this acoustical version by Nick Lowe with Los Strait Jackets. Check out the video link.



Nurturing with Food – Winter Squash and Apple Soup


I usually make this soup for Thanksgiving as a first course. I thought as I started writing the blog, “oh good, I will link the blog up to my already posted Thanksgiving soup recipe for this week”. Then I discovered I had never memorialized it and my scribbled notes on several other recipes needed interpretation. So, I decided to actually make my soup for Thanksgiving as I wrote the recipe – multitasking for sure. As I did it, I remembered how much fun these projects can be for me, it is what got got me started blogging, tweaking recipes, and bringing my yoga practice all together in one spot during the pandemic.


Because everyone loves it, I have started tripling the recipe and freezing it.  As with most of my soup recipes, the amounts are forgiving and not precise.  A single batch makes approximately 8-10 servings as a first course. I have an option included for making it with some nondairy milk or cream. I would not add that until you are warming it to serve.  It is delicious either way and reminiscent of fall with cinnamon and cloves.


See you on the mat!


Julia Anne


76 views2 comments


Nov 19, 2023

What a beautiful posting Julia Anne!!; from the gorgeous photos to the lovely text. I love the cartoon of the "final test". I often feel that on holiday family gatherings. I have been pondering and feeling many of the same sentiments you shared about the state of our world right now and how it illuminates the need each day, each moment, of conscious gratefulness. Thank you for the reminder of this constant truth.

I am an old, huge fan of Nick Lowe and Elvis and have always loved this song. It too is a perfect reminder of the need of remembering our shared humanity.

Thank you for this. It added to a lovely fall day.


Nov 20, 2023
Replying to

Leah, Thank you for reading and for letting me know you do! I am filled with gratitude that the post spoke to you and that you took time to tell me. namaste

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