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Out of nowhere El-D announced today that he is done being El-D. This is perfectly fine by me. Henceforth he will be called BeauJeau. Just thought you should know why there’s a new man in my life.

So anyway,  I somehow convinced BeauJeau to do an acroyoga class with me last night. Full disclosure: beer and wine were involved before hand – not a lot, but some, which probably had something to do his agreeability.

As a yoga teacher I feel it’s my duty to advise against drinking alcohol before practice. In other words, don’t try this at home kiddies!

Before we started with the acrobatics, we did passive partner work on the illiotibial band, which was quite enjoyable.  Relaxing on the mat and having my IT bands fondled was the best part of the class as far as I’m concerned.  Alas, the aggressively cheerful and energetic couple leading the class insisted we get off the mat and get to doing some balance work.

BeauJeau was the base, I was the flyer. I tried being his base at one point, but that didn’t work at all. I’m too little and he’s too big. He made a good foundation though.  At one point he lifted me up with his feet while I struck a flying superman pose. Then I did the same pose balanced in his hands. I was Jennifer Grey to his Patrick Swayze…

We saw the writing on the wall
And we felt this magical fantasy
Now with passion in our eyes
There’s no way we could disguise it secretly
So we take each others hand
‘Cause we seem to understand the urgency…

Yes I swear it’s the truth.

 


…or that could just be the alcohol talking.

At one point in class I partnered with the instructor who somehow sent me doing somersaults in the air before I fully understood what was happening.

In BeauJeau’s words, the experience was summed up as “learning to do cirque du soleil.”

In my words, “I think I may be too old for this.”

In the final analysis, it was ridiculous and fun and nobody got hurt…unless you count the aftermath of today’s sore muscles – his abs, my biceps. Overall, it was a physical study in body mechanics, and in power/surrender, cooperation, trust, balance, and boundaries.

Yoga is yummy in so many different ways.

Grace Flow Yoga

Greetings Friends!

Naturally I’m all in favor of group exercise classes. The benefits are numerous. First off, they are a great way to meet new people who share your values (health, fitness, and fun!!) and who are likely to keep you motivated and inspired to meet your goals.  Practice time seems to go by a lot faster when you’re with a group.  Another advantage of group classes is consistency. Having a regularly scheduled class can help you develop a regular routine.  A third benefit is that instructors are generally trained to offer safe and effective exercise programming.  We take into consideration the need for warm-ups, cool-downs, focus on particular muscle groups, etc.  When we practice on our own, it’s human nature to skip poses that seem “boring” or to focus on our favorites.

All that said, sometimes we just have to practice on our own due to scheduling or logistics.  For that reason, I’ve compiled a few of…

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berriesIn the garden I did no crime.

–Tori Amos

The raspberry bush has been sputtering out berries this summer and I’ve been racing the birds to get them.  It’s our relatively peaceful version of The Hunger Games. Victori spolia.

Did you know that the raspberry fruit is not a true berry? Neither did I until I read a report from Cornell Univeristy. The fruit is apparently an “aggregate of many individual drupelets” with each drupelet being “anatomically analogous to a cherry.”

Who knew?

My garden raspberries are different from the ones I buy at the store. They are sun-warmed, sweeter, and burstier.  Each of their drupelets is an explosion of sunlight, frogsong, and butterfly wings on the tongue. They have virtually no shelf life. Frogsongs fade fast when plucked from the earth; you must eat them while their echos still vibrate to taste the music.

Berries in general are highly perishable. There’s a significant loss of vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants within just a couple days of harvest. So I’ve been inventing ways to infuse my cells with berry goodness as often as possible.  Here are just a few of my favorite berry treats.

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While they need no accompaniment, sometimes it’s fun to let them frolic with friends.  It’s really fun to sing along with Tori Amos’ Raspberry Swirl as I spin them around in a blender.  I toss in strawberries, a squeeze of lemon, a squirt of lime, and a splash of cranberry juice and grape juice.

This concotion makes yummy popsicles.  I call them Raspberry Zingers.

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Sometimes I throw in a little peach to a get different texture.  After filling the popsicle molds, I add a dallop of yogurt and a dash of milk to whatever is left in the blender to make a smoothie.

Fun fact: The phytonutrients in raspberries and strawberries have anti-inflammatory properties when consumed regularly (about three times a week).

Another fun way to get my berry bliss on and to make myself feel incredibly fancy in the process is with “spa water.”

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The idea is to send sliced fruit floating in water for hours to infuse the water with flavor. I’ve been experimenting with variations, but so far my favorite is sliced up strawberries, squished raspberries, cucumber, a little squirt of lime (or sometimes lime slices), and fresh mint.  This week the pineapple basil is making a spectacular comeback after the rain we’ve had, so I added a few leaves. It’s tasty!

Fun fact: Raspberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin K.  They also contain folate, vitamin E, and potassium.

It’s that time again…

yoga & Tea July 2013 Invite

You may pay what you can OR bring something(s) from their wish list:

Items for shelter:

 Umbrellas,  Batteries (All sizes), Flashlights, Pots and pans, Cooking/eating utensils, Tool set, Blankets, Towels (bath and face),       Twin sheet sets, Pillows, Twin mattress covers, Standard pillow covers, Dish towels, Dining room chairs, Microwave, Refrigerator, Chest freezer, Living room set (sofa, love seat and chair), Toilet tissue, Paper towels, Facial tissue, Dish washing liquid, Cleaning supplies, Bleach, Light bulbs, Laundry detergent, Irons

 Items for women:

Handbags, Wallets, Jewelry. Watches, Perfume, Gowns/pajamas, Slippers, Robes, Hosiery, Socks, New panties (all sizes especially plus sizes), New bras (all sizes especially plus sizes), Perm kits (African-American hair texture), Hair coloring, Feminine hygiene products, Journals, Day planners, Disposable cameras, Phone cards, Movies (VHS) for adults (Non-violent content), tooth paste, Bubble bath, *Subscription to Commercial Appeal 

Items for children:

Toys (for all ages), Books (for all ages) (English & Spanish Languages), Dolls, Cars and trucks, “Dress up” jewelry/clothing, Video games, Children’s videos (English & Spanish Languages), Footballs/basketballs, Portable cassette/compact disc players, Child seats (for the car), School uniforms, Backpacks, Diapers (all sizes), Baby wipes, New sippy cups/pacifiers/bottles, New children’s underwear (all sizes), New socks (all sizes), Slippers, Robes, Pajamas, Strollers, Potty Seats

Food Items:

Canned meat (tuna, salmon, etc.), Canned vegetables (corn, peas, etc.), Dry goods (beans, etc.), Sugar, Juice boxes

School Supplies

 Notebooks, Pencils, Crayons, Folders, Pencil Sharpeners, Pencil Box, Backpacks, White Loose leaf paper, Rulers, Dictionaries, Calculators, Lunchboxes, Small assignment notebooks.

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True love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.

–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Today I am thinking about water.

Throughout the rainy month of May we collected rain water in barrels for the flowers, vegetables, and ducks. Last summer I

flowers 025

just turned on the waterhose or sprinkler and went on about my air-conditioned business inside the house, usually forgetting I left the water running or  that I even had flowers.

With the rain barrels I have to physically walk the water around the yard to give each plant a drink. Oddly, this seems like less of a chore than turning on the water hose.  For one thing, it forces me to spend more time outside actually looking at the flowers and appreciating them.  It’s certainly friendlier than shooting at them from a distance with the hose’s handheld nozzle like they’re zombies I’m trying to keep at bay.

With the watering can it’s all intimate. We get upclose and personal; we talk.

We have had little rain this month.  The hot air is perfumed with sun-baked roses. The waterbarrels are empty.  When El-D suggested we start getting water from the pond for the garden I looked at him like he’d grown two heads.  Dude, that pond is WAY back there and our flowers and vegetables are WAY up here, and-and-AND we DO have running water!

But it made me stop to think….

What if we didn’t?

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There are plenty of people who don’t.

Fortunately, I have people in my life who remind me on a regular basis to keep my over-priviledged head on straight, like my friend Amy, who is a teacher-from-the-heart.  Every year her school does a “World Tour” during which each class studies a country.  They make displays and put on performances to share what they learned. Her class studies Kenya every year.  This year they watched a video about the life of a young Maasai boy.  Her students are always struck by the fact that his mother and sisters have to walk every day to get water from the same water hole the animals use.

This year they decided to do something about it.
 
Their school is fundraising through Charity: Water to try to get clean water to developing countries. Their goal is to raise $1000 by July 29.  The link below shows the school’s progress to date.  There is also a video at the bottom of the page that will give you more information about the water crisis.
 
 
Please donate if you love water!
 
We’ll have a donations-based yoga class next Monday evening for all who want to contribute both to your health and to that of others.
 
yoga-waterforyoga

Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe, and music is a divine art…

–Paramhansa Yogananda

~~@~~

The consciousness that went into composing music will come out through the listener.

I’m still contemplating the truth of that sentence, so feel free to respond with a dissenting opinion. From my understanding that is the basis of Nada yoga.

Music can heal. It can calm…agitate….energize. It can stir up all sorts of emotions and reactions.

El-D has pointed out that I play a lot of music in the minor scale in my evening yoga classes.  I didn’t set out to choose minor songs, it just happened when I was putting the songs together for a class I wanted to be relaxing and peaceful.

One of the yogis in Tuesday night’s class described it as “soothing.”  I think they’re best enjoyed in the dark with flickering candles. 🙂

Here are a few songs from the playlist:

And I can’t find a youtube with Kitka’s rendition of Otche Nash, but this song of theirs is somewhat along the same lines…

Title: Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection 

Author: A.J. Jacobs

Synopsis:  Targeting one body part at a time, Jacobs takes an “experimental journalism” approach to improve his health.

You might like this if: you want some light, fun reading to get or stay inspired about your own health.

Why I read this: A colleague raved about how funny it was.

What I loved about it: I learned about new fitness trends like the paleo movement.  I can relate to Jacobs’ quirky obsessions. I also like that he’s not afraid to do ridiculous things (like take a pole dancing class) in the name of reporting.

What was unexpected:  He skims the surface of lots of trends, but doesn’t dive too deeply into any one. His previous works seemed more tightly woven and better organized.

Best Quote: This was actually a quote from Jacobs’ grandfather on the sheer improbability that we exist.

“…out of the millions of people in the world, your mother and father met and decided to get married to each other. And out of the millions of sperm, that the one with your genes was the one that made it to the egg and fertilized the egg.”

Better books by Jacobs:

My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest to Improve Himself by Living as a Woman, Becoming George Washington, Telling No Lies, and Other Radical Tests

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Arugula, freshly picked

Arugula, freshly picked

I’m the black sheep vegetarian in a family of meat eaters. It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it.

This is not a brand new thing.  It’s been two years since I converted. Still, when I get invitations to family functions they say things like this:

We’re having a party. I know you don’t eat x or y…or z — good lord aren’t you starving yet?? Well, you can come anyway.

I swear I am not trying to wreck havoc on people’s dinner parties (unlike The Good Greatsby, whose humorous post can be found HERE). I don’t mean to be difficult, but I might be a little complicated. The vegetarian thing is just what makes sense in my heart and in my head.  I’ve tried to explain it all, but I obviously haven’t really done a good job of it because just a week ago I was asked (again):

So…I still don’t understand…are you doing this for religious reasons or what?

And then there was there was the following exchange with the Resident Teaologist, who when preparing lunch couldn’t find what she needed:

Resident Teaologist: You said you had arugula, so I didn’t get any at the store, but I don’t see any in the fridge…

Me: That’s because it’s out in the yard.

Resident Teaologist:….oh.

So we go out to the yard to pick the arugula.  She stares at it and says,

It’s so weird that you are about to eat something that was just growing in your ground.

I had to giggle. That this bewilders others bewilders me.  How did we ever get so far removed from our food? And what have we lost as a result of this distance?  And what exactly have we gained?

Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm — which therefore neither produced unmanageable surpluses of manure, to be wasted and to pollute the water supply, nor depended on such quantities of commercial fertilizer. The genius of American farm experts is very well demonstrated here: they can take a solution and divide it neatly into two problems.

–Wendell Berry

El Diablo has lost over 30 pounds in the last 10 months. He blames moving and farm life. I attribute it to the fabulous yoga classes he attends twice a week. He insists it’s because he’s making healthier decisions about what to eat and drink.

It’s the yoga I tell you!

And soon he will discover the latest turn in my sinister yoga plot…

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