Just got back from 4 nights in Bermuda with my 89-year-old Mom. While I thought about revisiting the topic of patience 😊 – I am focusing on gratitude this week. I do have gratitude for being able to spend time with my mom, walking, reading at the beach, eating lovely meals, and talking. Being with her does help me focus on patience, learning to slow my pace on a walk and not get irritated about the repeated stories (which were quite minimal on the trip).
I focused on not only being grateful for our time, but also of her as a mom, and what she has taught me. As we relaxed for hours on our chairs reading, I had gratitude for her reading to me at a young age and for both of my parents fostering the love of books in me. As we met and encountered people from many countries and walks of life (and listened to her have long conversations with everyone we met from the taxi driver to the waiters to the other guests), I reflected on how she taught us from an early age about manners (we read Emily Post), hand shaking and conversing with strangers. Hearing her converse with many of the local residents, asking them about their work and their families and life in Bermuda (topics from gun control, working conditions to health insurance), made me grateful for her instilling in me not only manners and social graces, but a social conscience and indignance about injustice. As we ate lovely meals, I had gratitude (which I did not have as a child) for the fact that we did not have junk food in our house and that we experienced food from many cultures (ok, truly, my dad did the cooking but she put the kibosh on the junk food and soda). As we walked and hiked and swam, I understood and was grateful for her (and my dad) instilling the importance of moving every day as important for our health.
This week I encourage us all to reflect with gratitude on the lessons our parents (or other relatives, mentors or loved ones) shared with us and how they have helped shape us to be the adults that we are today. Perhaps as we venture out each day, putting our best self forward, we can share with our own children, relatives, friends, some of this bounty.
Our Practice – Setting Intentions - Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
As incorporate gratitude into our practice, perhaps take a moment at the beginning of class to set an intention. Sometimes our instructors remind us, sometimes they don’t, but we can certainly weave that into our practice ourselves. When we create an intention, and focus on gratitude and expressing it, we deepen our yoga practice.
Yoga poses that can help us invoke gratitude are ones that activate and open our heart and throat chakras, usually upper body opening and back bends. These poses, like cobra, can help relieve stiffness and tension in our back, improve circulation, elevate our mood and reduce fatigue.
How to tips:
Start in down dog and shift forward into plank, lowering down with chaturanga coming flat on the floor.
You are lying flat with your pubic bone, thighs and tops of your feet are pressing into the ground.
Slowly start to press down with your hands, straightening your arms as much as is comfortable, lifting your chest and opening your heart, lifting sternum upward.
Shoulders roll down your back.
(From here, I like to move into sphinx pose with forearms on the mat and hold that pose for couple of minutes.)
For more on invoking gratitude in our practice see
Practicing Off The Mat - Meditating on Gratitude For Our Parents/Mentors/Role Models
As we move our practice off the mat, let’s take some time this week to think about those people in our lives who have led by example, helping us positively become the people we are today.
“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody-a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns-bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” – Thurgood Marshall
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Nurturing with Food – Healthy (Delicious) Banana Muffins
When I woke up yesterday morning I was inspired to cook. I have been travelling and maybe it was my way to reconnect to home. I made these muffins (I make them all the time) and realized I had never put them on the website. My version is inspired by Cookie and Kate’s recipe page with a few tweaks. Enjoy!
Recipe link below:
See you on the mat!