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October 6 - Power of Hip Openers and Friendships-Hot and Sour Soup

Our Practice – Power of Hip Openers

Do you crave pigeon pose (or other hip openers)? Ever wonder why? We practice yoga for its transformative powers; with a sustained practice we feel better physically and mentally and become more subtly in

tune with ourselves. Since we store emotions in our hips (think about drawing your knees to fetal position when stressed), when we do powerful hip release postures we may release tension, stress, and perhaps pent-up emotions. Some yogis have experienced this profoundly while others notice they “just feel better” after.

Pigeon pose is a powerful pose that can be challenging but it has so many benefits. For me it has helped tremendously with my lower back and sciatic nerve issues by opening my hips and stretching the piriformis, glutes, and psoas muscles. Some practitioners cite improved digestive health.

Rather than debating what pigeon actually does or does not do, for those of us who “just feel better” after pigeon, here is a reminder on how to get there safely. Remember, reclined pigeon (on your back) is always an option.

  1. Starting in tabletop or down dog. Extend the right leg back behind you and then bring the right knee to the right wrist. The shin can be perpendicular to the front edge of your mat or in towards the groin, start slow!

  2. Root down through your front leg and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Avoid having one hip higher than the other, or one hip in front of the other (putting a block or blanket/pillow under the hip of the bent leg can help).

  3. Adjust the back leg so it is long and extended on the mat.

  4. You can stay up on your hands or come down to sleeping pigeon reaching forward and out of the waist, bringing your chest towards the knee and shin, coming down to the forearms or forehead, resting on blocks or pillow is a good modification.

Meditation – The Power of Friendship (Again)

I have a group of friends I have known mostly since about age 8. Hate to admit it, but about 50 years. We are fortunate that most of us plan to see each other at least once a year, remarkable since we are spread across the country.

Many of us were together over the past weekend and in reflecting on that I realized how fortunate and unusual it is to have had these relationships sustained over such a long time. It made me think about what makes this possible.

I believe that solid friendships with longevity need the following ingredients: shared experiences (good and bad), compassion, acceptance, trust, benevolence, communication, honesty, respect, humor and, most important, hard work. Let’s face it, maintaining any relationship is a lot of work, friendships are no exception.

So, if you are as blessed as I am to have a good friend(s) like I do, do the work, cultivate it faithfully, you will be well rewarded. And remember, as Oprah said, “lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow”- William Shakespeare

Nurturing with Food - Hot and Sour Soup

Nurturing with Food – Hot and Sour Soup

I love Asian food, primarily because I love vegetables and I like options when I go to dinner or cook at home. Nothing like a Thai, Indian, Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant for vegetarians to actually have a choice for dinner versus pasta with red sauce!

My first experiences with hot and sour soup was when my Dad started making Asian food in the 70’s. Over the years, I made vegetarian versions. Peter has perfected this recipe (and Asian cooking-his egg rolls could give Dad’s some serious competition!). Hope you enjoy this as much as I do – especially good when you have a cold!!!

See you on the mat,


Julia Anne

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