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October 1 2023-Celebrating Luke and My Yoga Journey-Twisting Poses-Navy Bean Zucchini Soup

I write this blog on September 30, my youngest son’s birthday, he is 22 today. Luke is easy going, creative, artistic and naturally athletic….talents he did not inherit from me! He is adventurous, curious, and also a bit of a homebody, things I suspect he did inherit, at least partially, from me. He does look like me and my dad, and he makes me laugh almost every time I see him. The truth is, Luke’s birth started me on my yoga journey. When he was born and I was struggling with my back problems and overwhelmed with the challenges of juggling motherhood, work and life, I decided to try yoga. I landed, unknowingly, in an ashtanga class. After about a year I remember saying to a friend, “I love this yoga class, however, I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing, this class is very rigid, and the teacher is pretty bossy!

While the discipline and rigor of ashtanga appealed to my type A personality, I discovered, eventually, the joy of other practices. Over the years and in my teacher training I learned and practiced more of the mind, body, and breath connection that I practice and teach today. Happy Birthday to my son Luke, I am so very proud of the young man you have become, and thank you for inspiring my yogic journey.

Our Practice – Twisting

I found myself incorporating a lot of twists into my practice over the past week. Perhaps because the rainy weather makes my back feel especially stiff or maybe I was inspired by the change of seasons. In our yoga practice we can celebrate this rebirth and transition of seasons with twists. Twisting helps us with the imagery of wringing out the old and making space for the new, simultaneously cleansing and detoxifying our minds and bodies. Twisting also aids digestion and helps relieve lower back pain and promotes a healthy spine. Iyengar called twists a “squeeze and soak” action, meaning that we compress organs during a twist pushing out blood filled with toxins and when we release the fresh blood flows in carrying oxygen and healing properties for tissue healing. You may read articles that debunk the detoxifying properties of twists, however, ancient Auryvedic and yoga teaching practiced over the centuries believes otherwise. Whether you ascribe to these theories, there is no denying that twisting feels great!

I love this seated twist!

  • First start with traditional seated windshield wiper twist:

  • Bend knees in front of you, soles of feet on the mat. Place hands on the mat slightly behind you for support.

  • Drop both knees to the right, hold for a breath

  • Then up and over to the left, hold for a breath

Do this twice pausing for a breath on each side.

  • Start seated on mat with knees bent in front of you hands on mat slightly behind you for support – feet are mat width apart.

  • Drop knees to the right (legs are both in approximately 90 degree angles).

  • Bring your left hand across your body to the right side next to your right hand as you begin twisting gently to the right.

  • Adjust your twist so it is comfortable not going too far. Stay up on hands or gently lower to forearms (or down to the floor). Breathe in and out 3-10 cycles.

  • Gently push up and take it to the other side.

Meditation – Inspired By Yoga

As I reflected on my yogic journey over the past twenty two years, I find myself full circle with my understanding of what yoga is and why it is so important to my existence. I thank you for allowing me to share that with you.

Rishikesh India October 2019

I speak often of my love of TKV Desikachar's , Heart of Yoga, I refer to it all of the time. Reading that book inspired my study of yoga as a way of life, not just a physical practice.

"Your life is your message to the world, make sure it’s inspiring."

"Everybody can breathe, therefore everyone can practice yoga."

"The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships."

Nurturing with Food – Navy Bean Zucchini Soup

I made this soup the other day and found myself having to switch pots as I made too much. I halved the recipe when I wrote it up, and still makes a big pot of this hearty, delicious soup. The recipe is forgiving, use what you have, quantities can be adjusted, and other vegetables can be added or subtracted. Great for a chilly fall day!

See you on the mat!


Julia Anne

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