I was on Block Island on the last day of summer, although it was not planned as we embarked on our adventure, it seemed somewhat poignant when I realized it. I love summer and all that it brings, sunshine and beach days, outdoor walks, bike rides (not to mention outdoor yoga) 😊, fresh produce from the garden, and lots of out-of-town friends. There is something about the promise of fall, however, that is also wonderful. Not only the crisp air, the colors of the leaves and apples, but the sense of routine, getting things on a schedule and embracing the changing seasons. As someone who flourishes with things “on a schedule”, I can appreciate all that fall represents. Perhaps we take this opportunity to embrace Autumn, find time to establish a refreshed routine and recommit to things that got waylaid while enjoying summer (perhaps our yoga practice). Instead of lamenting the end of summer, appreciate change, embrace the beauty that this time brings, and find ways to savor it and be present.
Our Practice – Surya Namaskasr (Sun Salutations)
As we say goodbye to summer, we think of cooler days. As we begin our practice on these cooler days, we will focus on our sun salutations for their ability to warm us, honor the sun all the warmth and beach days that it brought us in recent months.
The Sanskrit word surya means sun and namaskar means salutations or bow down. Essentially, this is a series of poses to honor the sun which brings energy and light; the poses awaken the body and are traditionally practiced early in the morning facing east.
In class we talk about practicing chaturangas safely to protect our shoulders and gain the benefits of the pose without injury. The sun salutations sequences lend easily to many modifications and can be performed many ways. I notice that for beginners they can be challenging as they move quickly, and for even an experienced practitioner they can become sloppy (moving too quickly and not mindfully) and a catalyst for injury.
A few things to consider:
Corkscrew the hands into the mat and grip with fingers to relieve some wrist pressure.
Keep a gentle bend in the knees, no locking or hyperextension.
Common yogi cue is to externally rotate the arms moving eyes of the elbows toward front of mat. Your body may call for a bit of inward rotation for shoulder comfort, experiment.
In chaturanga only lower so elbows are just above shoulder line. Your elbows should not be higher than shoulders, at most perfectly in line in a 90-degree angle inside elbow.
Below is a link to an article I really liked about practicing chatarunga safely.
You may find the following article on moving into your fall yoga practice helpful:
Meditation – Seasonal Change
Rather than mourn the end of summer, let’s dedicate our thoughts this week to embracing the seasonal change and all that it brings.
“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives. “ - Gary Zukhavv
Gary Zukav is an American spiritual teacher and the author of four New York Times Best Sellers. He has appeared on Oprah’s show to discuss transformation in human consciousness concepts over 30 times. His first book, The Dancing Wu Li Masters (1979), won a U.S. National Book Award.
“One must maintain a little bit of summer even in the middle of winter.” – Henry David Thoreau
Nurturing with Food – Summer Favorites
This past week our meals included many summer favorites, as if we might never again have grilled corn or fresh tomato salads again! Instead of a new recipe, find below links to some of my favorite recipes from the blog which celebrate summer. While I am a self-proclaimed “almost vegan”, I do occasionally enjoy some seafood, especially in summer. Perhaps enjoy a meal of fresh picked corn, grilled seafood (or Joe’s Zucchini Stew) along with Green Bean Salad or Nana’s Cucumber Salad, Ratatouille, and a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. All of the recipes are on the blog, link to the recipe page:
See you on the mat!