February 21, 2021
Hope this Sunday finds you well. This week’s theme is one of self-care. Whether it be taking a daily walk, doing a guided meditation, lighting candles to enjoy in the bath, cooking and eating something delicious and healthful, what matters is not what it is it is that you are doing something for yourself that is positive. Always remember that your self-care rituals may be completely different than someone else’s; find what feels good for you and treat yourself. Make self-care part of your daily life, even if some of your rituals are only 5 minutes. While I am sure a full day at a spa or hiking or hang gliding or fishing would be the ultimate in self-care for some of us, finding meaningful ways to include it in our every day, consistently, can provide stronger and more meaningful benefits than the one “event” that you never seem find time to schedule. Following the announcements you will find ideas, poses, recipes and meditations to help with this theme.
Class schedule remains unchanged, Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30 and Sunday at 9:00 AM EST on Zoom, sign up through the website. I am still looking for feedback on class times. Is there interest in moving one of the classes to 5:00, 5:15 or 5:30-or adding an additional class? As I mentioned, I am also considering adding a stretch class that would also be suitable for beginners. I would appreciate your feedback on these topics both if you are a regular attendee of those classes or if you would like to attend if the time were different. It is not a commitment to attend!
Please chare the social media posts and the links to the YouTube videos as public, and I appreciate your referrals very much. As always, if you or anyone you know is not practicing with us due to financial constraints, please message me privately.
This week as we explore self-care I think about restorative yoga. While yoga is fabulous for building strength and flexibility-and as a moving meditation-it provides so many more benefits. Restorative yoga, which is a style just as is vinyasa, ashtanga, yin, to name a few, can help us relax and restore a body and mind that may be stressed physically or mentally; those of you who attended class today know that I am suffering from a thumb injury (cross country skiing) and that I continue to struggle with some elbow and wrist pain. What I know, and hope to impart to you, is that sometimes some restorative yoga is exactly what we need. I personally try to fit some in after a particularly stressful day, or if my body is telling me simply that it needs some love. There are many poses that are particularly restorative, four of my favorite are (1) reclined butterfly (wide angle pose), (2) happy baby and (3) child’s pose. Following on last week’s heart opening theme, I suggest (4) supported fish pose as one to try. In addition to opening the chest and shoulders it also relaxes the upper back and may prove energizing.
Restorative Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
To do this pose you will need two blocks or a block and a pillow. Lying on your back, place a block lengthwise between your shoulder blades (although some people like it horizontally) and a block flat under the back of your head (or a pillow). You could also put the pillow on top of a block and rest your head on that for extra comfort. Adjust blocks so that you feel comfortable and supported and can put all of your weight on your blocks. Legs are long, feet are relaxed, and arms are down by your sides with palms facing up. Another option is to put your legs in reclined butterfly. Breathe deeply and hold for 5 to 10 minutes.
Possibly consider doing each of the four poses for 5 minutes for a truly restorative practice.
This week we are focusing on some wise words from Maya Angelou. I admire her very much. As you may well know she was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She died in 2014 at the age of 86.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself” – Maya Angelou
I love the way she talks about style and humor in the same breath as passion and compassion, my interpretation that unless you are having some fun and enjoying life you will be no good at improving life for those around you. Also, the importance of loving yourself to helping you love others.
Nurturing Through Food
Last weekend I discovered a recipe for extremely easy to make whole wheat bread-no kneading either! I modified it a bit and have made it 3 times since (been sharing it not eating it all!). It is perfect for when you need some comfort food but want something healthful. This happens to be vegan but would be great toasted with butter (I have been using vegan butter or avocado). Wrap it tightly since there are no preservatives, or store unused portion in the freezer.
· 4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
· 2 ½ t yeast
· 1/2 tsp Salt
· 2 tsp maple syrup
· 2 cups Warm Water
In bowl put flour and salt and mix together. In another bowl put yeast, ¼ cup lukewarm water and maple syrup and stir. Set aside for 10 minutes, mixture will foam and double in size. Add yeast mixture to flour in bwl and 2 cups of warm water. Mix, do not knead, till dough is sticky and well combined. Transfer to a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a dish towel and leave to rise for 30 – 40 minutes (I put near the radiator). Preheat oven to 390°F. When the dough has risen, bake in oven for 40 minutes. Best fresh but will be good if wrapped tightly for a couple of days, then toast!
See you on the mat.