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Seasonings Meanings:The Winter Solstice, Religion

Posted Dec 21 2009 4:52am
*Ok so working on an old laptop, and a trigger happy pinky finger, this post just got published about 12 hours before I actually wanted it to...nothing like a little surprise publishing on a Monday morning, but hey, it's all good.  Enjoy the "early" post.  Anyone else ever done this?  I know Deb has, anyone else?

How are you doing today?  What's shaking sweetie pies?  I'm doing great and thanks for the awesome feedback on Diana of Soap & Chocolate's Guest Post Yesterday which featured her take on Raw Vegan Peppermint Patties If you missed that one, check it out! 

And again, Thanks a Million, DianaYour creativity inspires me to stay inspired and I can't wait to whip up some goodies when I return home from my trip!!!

A couple quick food highlights 'round here included a Kale Salad with Cukes, Brock, Sugar Snap Peas, and Cauli...

...dressed with my Homemade Vegan Slaw DressingSweet-n-Tangy goodness!

A Garden Salad for Scott with carrots, arugula (I love the peppery, spicy, bite of arugula!), sun-dried tomatoes (another girl I know has been using the Sun Dried Tomatoes lately, too), & cukes dressed with my homemade CreamyVegan Cesar-Inspired Tahini Dressing

and a Baked Potato on the SideThat I nuked

Are microwaves safe?  Probably not but I use it anyway.  There's a time and place for convenience and sometimes, you just gotta say, what the heck, I need to.  I try not to over-use it, but I also try not to overthink things and drive myself nutty!

And Skylar has been enjoying her Advent Calendar 

Scott's Jewish.  I'm not.  Anyone else raised in a split-religion house?  The Advent Calendar for us isn't even Jesus's Birth.  It's about The Mouthful of Chocolate... 

...And opening the cute little doors.

I have such fond memories of Advent Calendars from my own childhood and she loves it, too!

And she's had lots of fun on Slides

And we've been to the Beach

Where we've made lots of sand castles

And we've dug sand holes

And laughed & loved alot

Yoga Today is 108 Sun Salutations.
You're thinking what???!!!  Why??!!!  

Don't know what a Sun Salutation is?  Here's the flow of one salutation.
Or here's another.

What is the significance of the Winter Solstice?

Well the Winter Solstice, which occurs between Dec 20 & 21 every year, is today.  Meaning, it's the shortest day of the year and the sun's position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the Winter Solstice means that until the Vernal Equinox, the days will begin to lengthen and nights will begin to shorten.   Many people celebrate Winter Solstice as a time of rebirth, a new beginning and a chance to marvel at the power of transition from darkness into light. 

It's customary in yoga traditions to mark the Solstices with 108 Sun Salutations. 

Why 108 Sun Salutations?

I found this info which gives a succinct and clear explanation: 
There is a special significance to 108 in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. For instance, there are 108 beads in the mala of both traditions; there are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet and each has masculine and feminine, totaling 108; 1 stands for Higher Truth, 0 stands for Emptiness and 8 stands for Infinity. As we reflect on the significance of the sun, we are reminded that the sun is the illuminator of our world, that it is our primary source of heat and the giver of life. So come, honor the sun!

Or here's Yoga Journal's take on it.

You don't have to do all 108 Sun Salutations; do as many as you feel is appropriate.  Heck, just do one!  Just be mindful and present, joyfully aware, that the days will now get longer and notice how this effects you in your daily life.  

If you're religious, do you feel connected to the winter holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, in a meaningful way?  Or do you feel that the December Holidays have morphed into a time of retail gluttony and commercialism? Or, do you feel a bit of both?  Or, do you view this season as a time to simply connect with friends, family, and loved ones independent of everything else?

I am of the opinion that it's wonderful to celebrate the holidays with my immediate family and although we don't get caught up in gifts (I mentioned before that we don't do gifts for any holidays anymore, which is very freeing and a gift in and of itself!), but I also have to stop and remind myself of the Christian significance of this time because, I admit, it does get a bit buried and lost for me otherwise.  But what's your take on this time of year?  What does it mean for you?

As I asked in the post, too, did you grow up in a religious household?  Were your parents the same religion?  Did this or does that matter to you?  I know some of my friends, VeggieGirl, Katie of Faith Food & Fitness, and many more of you too, have strong faiths and I applaud people who believe in something and stand up for it, not only religious choices, but in general. 

Next you feel connected enough to yoga to even contemplate 108 Sun Salutations?  Is there a physical exercise or something you do that once upon a time you thought it was crazy but now you've accomplished it?  Marathon running or Century Bike Rides come to mind for me!  How about for you? 

Stay Tuned For More Guest Posties in the House and less Deep Thoughts.  It's a Food Blog after all. Haha!...

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