I am going to come right out and start this blog with a truth: I have been in a bit of a funk. Several factors were contributing to this, I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with balancing things as I faced my upcoming surgery and dealt with my continually decreasing mobility and increasing pain. What normally brings me peace and joy, my yoga practice and my classes and students, started to feel a bit overwhelming and frankly I worried about keeping things going during my recovery.
So…I went on vacation with some of my favorite people, got a little perspective, and feel better. While I was on vacation, I thought about how to approach what is happening. I realized that I need to focus on letting things go of things I cannot control (sound familiar?); and perhaps let go some things I can control, at least temporarily, in the face of other challenges. I thought of the serenity prayer (which many associate with AA)-a lovely mantra used by those who would like to break habits, change things and accept things that cannot be changed (that last one is very hard for me).
As we settle firmly into Fall, let’s try to embrace the season and how it invokes change. The landscape changes color, leaves fall from the trees and the temperatures drop and the air is crisp (ok, there’s that, I can blow dry my hair and not look like Roseanne roseannadanna*).
Perhaps think about seasonal change as the impetus for some changes in your own life that you have been hoping to make or how you can effect positive change around you. These do not need to be life changing or huge, just incremental ways to promote wellbeing within ourselves and the world around us. And, while doing that, give yourself permission to let some things go….
*I fear that my reference to Roseanne roseannnadanna may be lost on some of my younger yogis (like Mrs. Wiggins was) 😊 If that is the case, I hope you enjoy this skit from SNL featuring the late and very talented Gildna Radner as Roseanne roseannadanna – you will understand the hair reference, plus you might laugh a little. Remember the context, I cannot vouch for the political correctness or lack thereof.
Our Practice – Supported Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
As we think about change and accepting what we cannot change, and letting go, I suggest we revisit supported bridge. It is an inversion and a variation on some of the stronger bridge variations that we do in class. It is restorative and supportive and just feels good!
The benefits of the pose, being an inversion with our head being below the heart, suppresses the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and promotes the parasympathetic nervous system. Basically, it helps us relax. The back benefits from the extension aiding to improve posture and is also a heart/chest opener. I think it helps with chronic back pain.
To come into this restorative pose, lie on your mat with a block nearby.
Lie on your back soles of the feet on the floor and knees bent, feet hips width apart. Arms are alongside your body with fingers toward your feet. Feet are parallel.
Lift your hips off the floor pressing down in your feet and place a under your back, directly under sacrum. This should feel very comfortable, play around with the block on the short side or middle side to determine what feels most comfortable for you. Stay for several minutes if possible as your body settles into the passive backbend.
To come out of the pose, push down through your feet, lift your hips, and remove the block.
For more about this pose see the link below from the huggermugger website.
Meditation Change and Letting Go – The Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It is currently quoted as:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. “
Interestingly, Niebuhr's prayer originally asked for courage first, and specifically for changing things that must be changed, not things that simply can be changed:
“Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other. “
And, because there is no one better at helping us keep things in perspective as we move into fall, than Winnie the Pooh:
“It's the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!"
Nurturing with Food – White Bean Kale and Butternut Squash Soup
As we head into fall and scrounge the garden for what is left, I found some lovely kale. I love the beans and greens combination and pulled together this soup which is a standby for me but for which I never wrote down a recipe. As are many of the recipes that I make regularly, quantities of the ingredients are fluid, use what you have.
See you on the mat!