Updated: Oct 31, 2021
Boo! Happy Halloween. Not my favorite holiday – the whole dressing up and wearing something that is never really comfortable annoys me; when it is cold out you are invariably wearing a too skimpy (flapper, princess) outfit and when it is warm you are bundled up in the polar bear costume! Today let’s give ourselves permission to enjoy some candy corn, walk aimlessly through the leaves (a meditation not a power walk) and to feel comfortable just being ourselves (and not the princess or the polar bear). However, if you love Halloween and dressing up – go for it, I applaud your spirit!!
Our Practice – Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
I have come to love triangle pose, especially since I have let go of how I think it should look and embrace how each time I do it my body may feel a little bit differently. Sometimes (or on one side) my bottom arm is straight and my finger tips touch the floor, other times my lower hand rests on my leg or on a block.
The benefits of triangle include strengthening the legs and back, stretching inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, spine, shoulders, chest and opens our hips. The pose can feel energizing and helps with balance. It possibly stimulates the abdominal organs aiding with digestion (one of our fall focuses).
Face the long side of the mat with your feet apart about the length of a leg. Right foot points to the top of the mat and left toes turn out approximately 45 degrees (maybe 10 oclock). Find what feels good in your lower back and allows you to feel stable.
Check in that the right thigh rolls out to bring the right knee in line with the second and third toe.
Engage the core, bring both arms up parallel to the floor and lengthen through the waist.
Inhale and imagine you are tipping over (like the teapot game some of us remember as kids), lengthening through the left side of the waist. Note: this approach is different from the way many of us were taught to shift or bump our hips out to the left and reaching out long to the right. This can result in the pelvis being uneven and potentially causing discomfort in the SI joint and lower back. Try it all ways and see how you feel.
Exhale and bring your right arm down, placing hand either on the leg or floor or a block. Rotate your chest and ribs toward the ceiling.
The left arm reaches toward the ceiling with one long line from left fingers down to right fingers, hand in line with shoulder.
Lengthen through the sides of neck and out through crown keeping neck in line with spine. You can look up towards your left hand or, if it feels better on your neck, down toward your right big toe. Breathe smoothly and find what feels good in your body and make appropriate adjustments. Only going as low as you can while keeping the back of the head, shoulders, buttocks leaning against the imaginary wall behind you. (Channeling Gumby)!!
To come out of the pose lift the left arm to the size coming to standing. Turn the toes to the other side of the mat and repeat on the other side.
Meditation – Maya Angelou Poem
I am a big fan of Maya Angelou, both as a writer and as an activist and role model. I came across this poem about Autumn – I found it simple and beautiful. It describes the colors and sounds of fall and pivots to symbolism of fall and relationships that we stop in order to begin again. Thinking again about fall as a time for letting go, shedding old hurts or grudges or what no longer serves and beginning again. Living our yoga off the mat.
The leaves of autumn
Sprinkle down the tinny
Sound of little dyings
and skies sated
of ruddy sunsets
of roseate dawns
roil ceaselessly in
cobweb greys and turn
see the fall
a signal end to endings
a gruffish gesture alerting
those who will not be alarmed
that we begin to stop
in order to begin
Nurturing with Food – Cranberry Orange Muffins
Still baking as the cooler weather sets in. While I am not a big fan of sweets and cakes, I
love muffins that are not too sweet and do not taste like dessert. The way I always imagined muffins must have been originally before the “super-size me” effect took over making everything bigger, sweeter, and full of things we do not need. We (full disclosure Peter made these) adapted this recipe from one by Cookie and Kate, a recipe site that I consistently find excellent recipes for healthy baked goods on. These taste to me just like holiday cranberry nut bread, in a mini form, and are healthier too!
See you on the mat