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November 21-Thanksgiving Gratitude & Heart Opening -Whole Wheat Bread

Our Practice for Thanksgiving

I love all things holiday, a friend of my parents once named me the Christmas Queen because even when I was a young adult, I loved decorating the house and having holiday parties. Let’s not jump ahead, however, there is nothing that irritates me more than holiday music before Thanksgiving! I love foraging in the woods for things for my Thanksgiving table and planning a meal that will please everyone (including me, an almost vegan).

In most families and groups that gather, there are always topics that are best to be avoided on a celebratory day that brings family and friends together. While the topics may be important to explore, perhaps we wait till at least dessert (or the next get together) to debate them. Believe me, I am the first one to jump in on a healthy, researched, intelligent debate, but it can be wonderful, sometimes, to just take a break and celebrate what we all have in common, the love or affection or gratitude for each other. I propose we try, in the spirit of giving thanks, to set differences aside, let things go and find what we love (or at least like) about everyone around our table. Celebrate Thanksgiving with joy and leave the negativity at the door. Breathe….living our yoga off the mat!

I also suggest we remember the Native Americans this Thanksgiving (indigenous people of this country) with great thanks remembering that they shared their knowledge of how to live off the land, their skills for surviving and their food with the first white settlers who were ill prepared for living in nature.

In the spirit of opening our hearts, I suggest that our practice this week focus on some heart opening poses. These can include many back bends like bridge, upward dog, reverse plank and my favorite, fish pose (which is a great counter pose to shoulder stand).

Matsyasana-Fish Pose

How to do fish pose:

  1. Lie on back legs long and slide your hands, palm down, under your buttocks. Inhale and push your forearms and elbows firmly into the floor, pressing your scapula into your back and lift your torso and head away away from the floor.

  2. Then release your head back onto the floor. Depending on how high you arch and lift your chest, you will have either the back of the head or crown on the floor. Find what feels good. Keep minimal amount of weight in your head (using forearms) to avoid crunching in neck.

  3. Stretch legs out long keeping thighs active, toes can be pointed or more commonly press heels out. Stay and breath for a few cycles.

  4. To come out, push down through your forearms to lift your head, lower the torso and head to the floor. Bring knees to chest and breathe.

For more detail on fish pose and its benefits see the article below:

Meditation – On Gratitude and Giving Thanks

A growing number of scientific studies have examined the effects of gratitude on mental and physical health. They have revealed that a gratitude practice lifts your spirits, promotes empathy, boosts happiness and can also enhance your relationships, decrease depression, and improve your heart health.

“Gratitude is a gracious acknowledgment of all that sustains us, a bow to our blessings, great and small, and an appreciation of the moments of good fortune that sustain our life every day,” Jack Cornfield

Jack Cornfield is a renowned meditation teacher and author of The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace.

Nurturing With Food – Whole Wheat Bread (Stand Mixer Version)

We have had a stand mixer since we first got married. It made baking so much easier and more fun. It has a dough hook which, until the past few weeks, I had never used. I decided I wanted to start experimenting with bread recipes wanting to find more healthful and tasty alternatives to store bread. My feeling has been that if the bread isn’t good, why bother? I have tweaked several recipes for basic whole wheat bread (that can be kneaded with dough hook) and find this one easy and delicious. It is great for sandwiches and morning toast.

Link to recipe below:

Wishing you a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving

See you on the mat


Julia Anne

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