A Bit About... Yoga Poses That Are Named After Birds
Have you ever wondered how the yoga poses you practise got their names? Some of them are fairly obvious - Gate Pose because you are making the shape of the cross-brace of a gate with your leg, Triangle Pose because you are making triangle shapes with arms, legs and torso and Head-to-Knee Pose because you are, of course, bringing your head towards your knee - but others can leave you wondering how on earth they came up with that name! Some are named after sages, gods and goddesses and some are called after animals and birds. The ancient yogis noticed the qualities of the things in their surrounding environment and often tried to copy them in the poses they practised.
Birds exhibit strength, focus, grace, persistence and balance as they go about their lives doing all the things that birds do, and the 'bird poses' require us to do the same. Many are advanced poses requiring a lot of arm-strength to enable us to lift up away from the ground and 'fly' and all of them require us to practise, practise, practise.
Here are a few poses with avian names:
Crow Pose (Kakasana) - elbows are bent
Crane Pose (Bakasana) - elbows are straight
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Heron Pose (Krounchasana)
Bird of Paradise Pose (Svarga Dvijasana)
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
A Bit About... RSPB Garden Birdwatch
Next weekend (27-29 January) is the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch where us, the general public, collect information about the birds we see in our gardens as part of a national survey. The information is then collated by the RSPB so they can get a really good picture of how the different species of our much-loved garden birds are faring during these challenging times of climate change and other difficulties so often caused by mankind. Last year over 500,000 people in the UK took part and this year they are hoping for similar numbers so they can plot the rise and fall of populations to see how they are doing overall. For example, there is a general decline in starlings, house sparrows and song thrushes but numbers of greenfinches and nuthatches have risen. The RSPB wants to know why some birds are thriving and others aren't and find out the best ways to help them.
Taking part in the survey is easy and enjoyable - you download a pack from the RSPB using the link below and, at the weekend, take an hour to sit and look at your garden, making a note of what birds you see in that time. It can be your meditation! I'm always advocating making yourself a cuppa and taking a few minutes of quiet contemplation to see what you can see outside your window and participating in this survey means you are not just helping yourself but some of the other beings we share our planet with too.
Click here for more information about the survey and how to take part https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/everything-you-need-to-know-about-big-garden-birdwatch/
This Week's 5-Pose Flow...
5 seated poses for you to practise at home - do the sequence once if you're short of time, add it in to your own flow or repeat it as many times as you like - it's just to inspire you to unroll your mat and move your body.
Here's the sequence:
Staff Pose (Dandasana)
Upward Facing Staff Pose (Urdhva Dandasana)
Seated Forward Bend (aka Intense West Stretch) (Paschimottanasana)
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose variation (Janu Sirsasana variation)
Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
This Week's Recipe... Bang Bang Cauliflower
Bang Bang Cauliflower is the veggie (and vegan) alternative to Bang Bang Chicken - but much, much better because no lovely birdies have been harmed in the making of it! I had this dish at Wagamama's recently and was sure I could make it at home. A little search on Pinterest revealed this easy recipe which isn't fried, but baked in the oven.
You will need:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
half a tablespoon of sriracha sauce
juice of half a lime
1 clove of garlic
half a cauliflower cut into florets
salt and freshly ground pepper
handful of chopped parsley to garnish if required
And here's how to make it:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, sweet chilli sauce, Sriracha sauce, lime juice and garlic
Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, drizzle on the sauce and toss until fully coated
Season with the salt and pepper
Bake for approx 30 minutes until tender and slightly charred and sticky
Garnish with the parsley and serve
Serves 2 as a side dish
This Week's Musical Offering... Flying by Garth Stevenson
This Week's Video... is a lovely one of a hummingbird pool party. It's very relaxing to sit and watch them - it must have been even better to have been there in real life. They really are fascinating birds - I'm quite entranced...
Until next week, may you sing, spread your wings and fly...