We reached Utthita Hasta Padangustasana in a led Ashtanga class I have been attending this week, and my teacher paused our practice to tell us a story. It involved a snake, and somebody sitting on a throne. It was something along the lines of carrying something heavy, which can easily translate to a posture like this one.
I suppose UHP can at times be a battle for certain practitioners; there was a point when I barely wanted to even try it in its fullest expression. I didn’t get into it until, a couple years ago, a friend and teacher encouraged me (read: forced, because she knows me pretty well, and sometimes that is what is required of me) to fold over my extended leg, balancing over my standing one. In that moment, I admit, I felt the uphill quality. When that happens in any posture, I remind myself that it’s already almost over, anyway. Each breath is another fleeting aspect. It’s going to be okay.
At least, I definitely tell myself that sometimes. Then my big toe starts to press more firmly into my first two fingers, trembling a bit. Then my hip flexors promise to remind me of this tomorrow. What I mean is: it isn’t an exact art. Really, though, UHP is not the posture that gets me where it hurts.
[Insert here: a casual reference to that time I greeted Purvotanasana with a favorite four letter word my phone consistently autocorrects to duck. I tried to pass it off as a deep exhale and I think we all know I probably fooled no one.]
But then, that posture and the words: Hold yourself like you are the heaviest, softest thing you’ve ever held. Whew. It was like I met Me as an old friend and the two of us reminisced, “We should do that sometime.”
I realized that YOU, dear reader, took care of that for me. You held me that way last week. You held me in a way that I hadn’t been held before. Thank you. Thank you all. For your warmth, your receptivity, and your empathy in response to my most recent blog post. Your text messages, your e-mails, your Facebookings, your invites to visit, your comments, and, most importantly, your love were all bits and crumbles and morsels and pieces of this giant, beautiful affair that I have needed for nearly half my life. I was very much alone in many ways when that happened and I was young, and sharing that with you (or with anyone, really) was foreign territory. You held me like I was the softest thing on earth.
I could learn a thing or two from you. You are love. You are light. You are warmth. You are milk. And I have cookies for you. Made from almond meal and brown sugar and rich, dark molasses, these are every possible way for a cookie to be. The bottom of each is crisp, crunchy, golden, brown sugary caramel; cake-y tops give way for bendiness, chew. They are everything, regardless of what isn’t in them. And they are for you, with love. Sincerely.
One Year: Vegan Coconut Curry Soup
Two Years: The Best Granola
Three Years: White Chocolate, Fresh Cranberry, and Cream Cheese Scones
Four Years: Marbled Banana Walnut Loaf
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg, 2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses until soft and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Beat in egg. Beat in egg whites, one at a time. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in chocolate chips. Scoop cookie dough in rounded tablespoonfuls, rolling each into a ball with your hands and placing about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet (they will spread). Bake for 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat until dough is used up. Cookies should be kept in an airtight container, and will last up to two days.