Grounding: As we move from October to November to December there is a lot of change to contend with. A turnover of seasons, less amounts of sunlight, cooler temperatures, multiple, contentious shifts in our government and more. It is not strange that we might feel unsettled and ungrounded throughout these transitions. To be able to deal with these changes, we first need to acknowledge them, i.e. “I am anxious about the election and it’s results”, “I am feeling moody; perhaps it’s because it’s getting darker sooner or because it is getting colder”, etc. Then, if we can step back and see our reactions and what they might stem from and wrap those reactions in compassion and tolerance, we can build resiliency and grace to deal with them appropriately and transition more easily.
The type of yoga I most frequently practice and teach is Yin Yoga and in addition to working to rehabilitate the body’s connective tissue, it gives one space for meditation to acknowledge what is going on in our minds and bodies. It also integrates the ancient teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is a holistic approach to medicine that looks at the physical, mental and emotional body as a whole and examines multiple symptoms and their connection when recommending treatment. According to TCM, what you eat, how your digestive system responds, what is going on in your mind and your mental reactions, your physical symptoms, the weather, the time of year and more ALL contribute to your overall health.
During this Autumn season, TCM recommends that you eat cooked root vegetables (harvested this time of year) that are somewhat sweet (like pumpkin and squash), cooked grains and less cold food and dairy (sorry ice cream lovers) so that your digestive system operates smoothly and efficiently.
One of my family’s favorites (well 4 out of 5 members anyway), is a recipe introduced to me almost 2 decades ago. Pasta with Butternut Squash was adapted from a well known chef’s recipe (unfortunately I don’t remember who!). Click on the recipe link to go right to the recipe....I encourage you to try it and to not be adverse to including the secret ingredient...it adds so much flavor (and protein)!
I also encourage you to try this grounding posture....Wide Kneed Child’s Pose. Being in a forward fold close to the ground is soothing to the mind as well as to the body. There are many variations and ways to use blankets to personalize the pose to your body’s needs. Wide Kneed Child’s Pose increases range of motion in the hip joints, lengthens and relieves achiness in the low back and tightness in the inner thighs.
If you would like to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine and how to fortify your mental and physical strength for the upcoming transitions, I highly recommend that you check out the upcoming workshop I am leading thru Orleans Yoga, Earth at Our Center, which you can attend in studio (only a few spots left!) or virtually via Zoom. I will send attendees notes and diagrams so that if you would like to follow along and just have audio on (I know so many of us are Zoom weary!) you can do so. I hope you will join me for this two hour workshop.
Wide Kneed Child’s Pose:
From all fours (Tabletop) take the knees wider than the hips until you feel a dull achy pull in the inner thighs. Start to move the hips back toward the heels. If your knees feel any sharp or painful sensations, roll a blanket (thin roll) and place in the knee crease or between hamstrings and calves. You could also just place a blanket width wise (across a mat) to pad the knee caps. If there is pain in the front of the ankles from putting weight on them, put a small blanket roll under the front of the ankles (give the feet more space/less pressure). If you want to target the inner thighs more, experiment with taking the knees wider. To stretch the low back more, take the hips further back and try curving the spine forward or having it straighter/longer (especially if you experience pain in the low back). Your arms can be lengthened out, fists doubled up and supporting the forehead, or you can bend at the elbows and have the palms meet overhead (Namaste Palms). Relax the muscles in the target areas so that the positive stress can be absorbed by the Connective Tissue. Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes and exit out slowly and mindfully (perhaps rest on your belly for 30 sec to a minute).
Target areas (you might feel sensation in one or more of these areas):
Hip Joint (hips are in external rotation) pressure
Traction of the Inner thighs and groin
Traction of the low back
Ankle Joint pressure
Flexion of the spine
With Namaste Palms, pressure in shoulder joints and traction in and around shoulder joints
CLICK HERE to go to the exclusive Penne with Butternut Squash, Red Onions & Anchovies Recipe