Andrea and Grace have a lovely history together. Please enjoy the third post of a three post installment in their new series, The Fork in the Fight. Check out Part 1: Our Story and Part 2: Butternut Squash Curry Bisque recipe!
The Fork in the Fight: recipes for restoring our souls and thriving in the face of cancer
Part 3: Breathing Into Self-Awareness And Ease
In Grace’s story, she mentioned how her experience taught her to be her own friend and to be self-examining. In Yoga, the practice of swadhyaya, or self-study, is a Nyama, or daily observance recommended for practitioners. This looking inward can be beneficial to all humans, regardless of present tragedy or bliss. A safe way to practice is to find a comfortable seated position with the spine tall. You can use blankets or pillows to prop yourself up if needed. Make sure you are warm (or at your preferred body temperature) and in a quiet space where you can be uninterrupted for 5-25 minutes. Close your eyes. Start to notice your breathing. “Awareness is central to contemplation because it reduces the distance between us and that of which we are aware.” (Thomas Ryan, Prayer of Heart and Body) So often we are caught up in our surroundings that we are not aware of the feeling in body. As you notice your breath, be aware if it feels shallow or deep, easy or constricted. Also notice where you might be clenching — like the jaw, fist, buttox, pelvic floor, or shoulders. Do your best to release and let go without judgement.
Continue for as long as you have time — scanning the breath and the body, releasing, relaxing and letting go. You may find a few sighing exhales to be especially healing. You can carry this practice with you. In a challenging moment, even if you can’t close your eyes, notice your breath, your body. What can release and let go? Can you slow and deepen your breath, softening your physical presence to invite ease into your present situation? As you prepare to come back to the present moment, be mindful of the serenity you have cultivated, and take time to transition slowly and quietly to your next activity.
We are excited to explore our shared experiences of recovery, relationship building, and self-love with you. Stay well and take time for yourselves during this busy holiday season.
With love and gratitude,
Andrea Ridgard and Grace Van Velden