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November 5 2023-World Peace at Home-Setu Bandha Sarvangasana(Bridge Pose)-Vegan"Chicken" Noodle Soup

I think a lot about unity, collaboration and why peace seems to be so hard to achieve as I watch the news and read about what is happening in the Ukraine and Middle East. I think about previous conflicts and muse on how songs and sentiments written 60 years ago are still relevant. Man has warred in the name of religion and territory since the beginning of time and sadly, has not yet learned that the chaos and loss of life are a terrible price to pay for greed and not learning to share and live harmoniously with those that may not look, think, or pray exactly as we do. While I am thankfully not a politician, and I know that I oversimplify, I struggle with why common sense and compromise cannot overcome artillery.

Many of us also struggle in our personal relationships with some of the same challenges around unity and compromise. We fall into patterns of behavior around conflict that likely have not worked well for us in the past, yet we continue to use them. Suggesting this week, we focus our efforts on bringing compromise and kindness to our daily life and focus our hearts and prayers on peace. If we can live each day as individuals as we hope that our world leaders should, perhaps we can make a difference. Living our yoga off the mat.

Our Practice – Thoughts on Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

As we practice compromise and opening our hearts, bridge pose is a wonderful back bending and heart opening posture. The physical benefits of bridge pose are strengthening through the mid and upper back, the glutes, thighs, and ankles. The heart opening gently stretches the chest, shoulders and core. As we backbend we help our posture, and the pose counters the long days of sitting and slouching at a desk. As our head is below our heart, it is considered an inversion and is a great alternative to shoulder or head stand.

During the basic yoga series, several of the participants mentioned feeling hamstring pain when doing bridge poses. I had never experienced that, so I investigated some of my class notes from yoga teacher training and did a little research. The consensus on this issue is that the hamstrings are making up for weak glute muscles which are some of the dominant muscles we use in bridge pose. Other sources mention that strengthening the core muscles also helps with this. The bottom line is that all these muscles are important for bridge pose, and if some are not doing their part, other muscles pick up the slack!

As we move into bridge pose let’s focus on a few things to try:

  • Feet hip width apart, slide heels in closer to the buttocks than maybe you normally do.

  • On an inhale, engage your core muscles coming into a pelvic tilt while also engaging the glute muscles.

  • As you exhale, press down through your feet, keep core and glutes turned on, and lift your hips engaging your quads.

  • I also think that the hip abductors and adductors need to pull their weight as well, so the variations we do with bridge with the block (adductors) and the strap (abductors) will also help.

Below are links to two simple articles that discuss this topic.

Meditating – On Peace

To everything turn, turn, turn There is a season turn, turn, turn And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die A time to plant, a time to reap A time to kill, a time to heal A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything turn, turn, turn There is a season turn, turn, turn And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down A time to dance, a time to mourn A time to cast away stones A time to gather stones together

To everything turn, turn, turn There is a season turn, turn, turn And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate A time of war, a time of peace A time you may embrace A time to refrain from embracing

To everything turn, turn, turn There is a season turn, turn, turn And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose A time to rain, a time of sow A time for love, a time for hate A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

Turn Turn Turn was written by Pete Seeger in 1959. The song except for the title and the final two lines are taken entirely from the Book of Ecclesiastes. The Byrds popularized the song in the mid-60s and it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 12/4/1965. The song, like many of its time, is so relevant today. It became a mantra or plea for world peace, the closing line being “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late”

Lovely link to their performance below.

Nurturing with Food – Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

For many people, the go to comfort food during the winter, especially when they have a cold, is chicken noodle soup. As an almost vegan who does not eat meat or poultry, this was one of the few things I have consistently craved, especially when I did not feel well. A few years ago, in response to this request, Pete made a few different noodle soup recipes that used traditional chicken noodle seasoning and came up with this recipe. You could put vegan chicken in it – I personally am not a huge fan of vegan meats and like it just the way it is. Peter chops up chicken and puts it in his bowl and ladles the soup on top, great compromise in a house when not everyone is an “almost vegan”. Enjoy!!

See you on the mat!


Julia Anne

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