What comes to mind when you hear the word alignment?

 

Rigidity?  Straight-as-an-arrow?  Measured?  Rarity? (the stars and planets aligned)  Rightness? Judged? Plumb line?
I’ve been thinking about the concept of alignment a lot lately, for two very different reasons. First, I injured my left foot and began to notice my right hip was nagging me. It took a while for me to put the two together. I kept thinking, “what the heck is wrong with my hip???” as I limped along because of the issue with my left foot. Then it dawned on me. OH!!! I’m a little wonky ( a surfer’s term for wild weather). In other words, out of alignment. Secondly, I have been comtemplating a rather important life decision. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, enisted the wisdom of my trusted allies, and then I remembered alignment. “How does this choice align with who I am?” and, if I decide to go for it, will I still “be in alignment with my core values?”
Alignment, hmmm….some of us may shy away from or take a pass on yoga because we have enough places in our lives where we’re trying to “get in line” or “measure up.”  Why would we subject our self-esteem to one more unyielding or harsh voice reminding us we aren’t getting it right?   This same resistance or story of “inability” we repeat to ourselves may speak up in many aspects of our lives — whether we’re trying to start a new healthy practice or make changes in our habits to more closely align our living life with our hopes, dreams, values.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Sometimes:

Physically, when the body is aligned, it doesn’t have to work so hard….there’s an ease….. there is an efficiency…. there is an ecconomy of movement that lets the body move how it wants to move, not how it is supposed to move.
Emotionally, when our actions are rooted from our core values, we can’t go wrong. Not that making decisions is always easy, but we can find reassurance or even a sense of “ease” when we know we’re acting from alignment.   How many times have you met someone who positively glows when they talk about their work? They are in alignment. I am an olympics addict, I admit it. Why? I love the sports, I love the tenacity and perseverance and resiliency of the athletes who make it to the top of their game and I know I am watching alignment in action.

Compassionate Curiosity:

Here’s what I’ve learned and observed: alignment, in any endeavor, happens with a combination of a vision/model; support for one’s willingness to “try”; self-awareness; and compassionate curiosity that quiets one’s inner “judge.”   How does it come together?  Practice, patience, practice, patience, practice, patience……….

Start where you are.

Yoga Lab:

Pose of the Month — Align and Refine with Tadasana:

Mountain Pose may look simple, but like aligning ourselves with our core values, it’s simplicity is masked in many micro moments of intention. Contemplating a new habit, decision, or physical endeavor? Try putting yourself in Mountain first, and let the magic of alignment lead the way.

1. Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, spine long, crown of the head lifted and chin slighlty tucked. Press into the mound of your big toes to root yourself to the earth. Spread the weight evenly to the outer edges of your litle toes and then to the outer edges of your heels until you feel an even weight along the bottom of both feet. Soften or close your eyes. 2. Lift the arches slightly and feel the muscles hug the bones from the feet to the top of the shoulders. 3. Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, and the tongue softly lifted to the top of the mouth. 4. As you stand in mountain, bring an awareness to your breath. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat as needed. 5. Notice the conection to the earth and see if you can feel a “lightness of being” as you lift through the crown of your head.

What is your intention you’d like to set for yourself today? Maybe it’s simply to align with ease.

Namaste’

Recipe of the Month:

Here is a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Cookie & Kate.   See more here:

Spring Veggie Stir-Fry

Author: Cookie and Kate Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 10 mins Total Time: 20 minutes Yield: 4 side servings
This vegetable stir-fry recipe comes together in no time! To turn this side dish into a complete meal, serve it with brown rice and your choice of protein.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup Fusia Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce (regular soy sauce is too salty!)
  • 2 tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch or corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (scale back or omit completely if you’re sensitive to spice)
  • 1 tablespoon SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil or your cooking oil of choice
  • 1 small red onion, root and tip ends removed and cut into ¼-inch thick wedges
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into very thin rounds
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ bunch (½ pound) thin asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into 2-inch long pieces
  1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended and set aside.
  2. Warm the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and carrots and a pinch of salt. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until the onions have softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. (If at any point you catch a whiff of something burning while making this stir-fry, dial back the heat a bit.)
  3. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring every 30 seconds, until the carrots are starting to caramelize on the edges and are easily pierced by a fork, about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the prepared sauce and cook, while stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened to your liking, about 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat and serve as a side dish as-is, or turn it into a main dish by serving it with rice, fried eggs or tofu.

NOTES

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Use gluten-free reduced-sodium tamari instead of regular soy sauce. MAKE IT VEGAN: Use maple syrup instead of honey.