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Yoga off the Mat: Enjoying Outdoor Adventures-Navasana (Boat Pose)-Pat's Cucumber Hummus Bites

Updated: Jun 23

I’m lol p


I have the reputation among my friends as one who loves outdoor exercise opportunities, especially those that involve adventure and usually have little or no professional supervision or guidance. 😨Many of my friends have the same spirit. I have hiked, snow shoed, skied, biked, kayaked, winter swam and adventured with many of them. No one, however, has been the victim of some of my zanier ideas or mishaps, than my friend Pat! Friends since high school freshman year science class (that may have involved Bunsen burner adventures), Pat was always the friend who got sucked into my crazier plans (admittedly not all involved exercise, but let’s not digress). We got lost in a park near Nashville, have bushwhacked through woods in several states to find our way, kayaked into an alligator patch (literally tons of them), and had a Manatee lift our kayak out of the water (which would have been far more fun if we were not both, separately so to not alarm the other, thinking it was a shark). I am sure that once I post this, my pals will remind me of other outdoor adventures that I pestered them into.



I do not like indoor exercise (ok, except yoga or Pilates). I love using all my senses to breathe in fresh air, smell the fresh grass or frost in the air, view the beauty of nature, all while exploring new areas and sometimes finding a little adrenaline rush along the way.  The real benefit of these excursions, however, is the time spent with a friend, very likely engaging in some curative laughter.  We know the health benefits of exercise:  better overall health, improving strength and balance as we age, lowered risk of heart disease. When we engage in exercise with a friend, we are also more likely to stick with it. Outdoors, the air quality is better than in a gym, our mood is elevated, and we are seeing places from a different perspective than in a car. When we do all of this with a friend, we are boosting our mental health, improving our mood and strengthening our relationships, so very powerful.


To be fully transparent, Pat and I were always incented to take that extra walk or fit in the “bonus” exercise - using the activities to justify extra snacks (or beverages) later in the day.


So, this week we will focus on our yoga off the mat discovering the restorative benefits of exercising outdoors with a friend. After that walk, bike, kayak, maybe, invite a friend to an outdoor yoga class!


Our Practice – Yoga Off the Mat & Navasana (Boat Pose)






While I am suggesting that this week we try “off the mat” yoga in the form of any outdoor activity that you love, I cannot help but suggest some accompanying boat poses. As I mention often in class, I believe the key to a life without chronic back pain and the accompanying pain killers and muscle relaxers, is a strong core and back as well as regular stretching. As part of our core strengthening, we have fun with boat pose in every class I teach! When I looked back through my photos of outdoor adventures with my friends, I found several of Paula and I joking around with boat pose on paddle boards and kayaks.


  • Start seated, knees bent and feet on floor, hands next to hips.

  • Hold behind the knees lengthening the spine keeping neck in line with spine. Sit bones are rooting down, really feel them.

  • Start to rock gently back, really engaging core, lifting feet off the mat until shins are parallel to the floor.

  • Lift through the chest drawing shoulder blades down the back.  Keep the core engaged.

  • Release the hands if that feels comfortable, extending arms out in front with palms facing in.  Keeping hands behind the knees is also fine, keep the core turned on and the back long.

  • Keep balanced on your sitting bones and try to keep back long and strong not dumping into it.


Another variation to try is to straighten legs creating a v shape with your body. Alternatively, keeping the knees bent and shins parallel to the floor is also fine.

 

Of course, in class we go high and low and name our favorites, yes it distracts us!


Meditating on Adventures with Friends


Just as the stars shine brighter in the night sky, so do friendships glow stronger amidst the wonders of the world discovered together.” – Unknown


“As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.” —Winnie The Pooh.


May your travels be filled with the magic of friendship, the wonder of new experiences, and the warmth of shared memories that last a lifetime.” —Unknown

 

Nurturing with Food – Pat’s Cucumber Hummus Bites



I was casting about recently for something light to serve with drinks on my patio with some friends. I remembered that Pat had sent me a photo of something she had recently made. Her instructions were short, and the result is an easy snack that looks so summery, is tasty, and will not spoil your dinner.

 


See you on the mat!

Namaste,

Julia Anne

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