Sign n’ Run Festival at CSUN


California State University at Northridge (CSUN) will have their sixth Festival on April 21, 2013.  The fundraiser from the National Center on Deafness (NCOD) gathers money for student scholarships and programs.

 


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Walking Barefoot

I’m at the BlogHer conference in downtown Chicago mingling with 800 other women (promise I’ll link to some great food and yoga blogs once I process all the info that’s pouring into my brain).

The first day, I decided to get some exercise by walking from the train station to the conference center. I was wearing sandals and carrying a heavy laptop bag. I got lost. One hour and five blisters later, I finally arrived. I was smart enough to take a cab back to the train station that night, but once I made it to the suburbs (where I’m staying with a friend) I had to walk another mile to their house. My friend’s husband, Brad, was with me, and he watched as I limped and cringed.

“Ow, ow, ow,” I said as my sandals rubbed against my blisters.

I slipped off my shoes.

“Ow, ow, ow,” I said again as the sharp little pebbles on the roads and sidewalks cut my feet.

“You’re a yoga blogger!” Brad said.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked.

“Some yogis walk over hot coals and stuff,” he pointed out.

Now that he mentioned it, I did recall reading a passage in a book about firewalking at a yoga retreat. Although none of the yoga classes I’ve attended have involved hot coals, we do practice in bare feet. Still, smooth wood floors and soft sticky mats may help strengthen my soul, but they don’t sturdy up the skin on my soles.

Walking home that night, I stepped off the sidewalk and onto the grass. It was long and cool and damp. It cushioned my bare feet and brushed in between my toes. I completely forgot about my blisters as I focused on how nice it felt to observe the world through from the bottom up. It had been a long time since I’ve walked barefoot in the grass.

To some, barefoot hiking is a hobby. Richard Frazine wrote a book about it called The Barefoot Hiker, and Common Ground, a sustainable living magazine, wrote an article about it here.

How often do we take time to feel the crunch of leaves or the slick slime of moss or the powder puffs of dirt through our feet and toes? Not to mention walking barefoot is gentle on the planet. I think I will start taking off my shoes more often, especially outside.

As quoted on this website, Sitting Bull said:  “Healthy feet can hear the very heart of Mother Earth.”

Silent Mind

My life is full of words. If I’m not writing an article, I’m writing in my journal. If I’m not blogging here, I’m blogging here. If I’m in the shower or walking the dog or cooking a meal, I’m “writing” in my head. Other times I’m reading books (more words) and magazines and newspapers.

Mostly, this is good. I love words. But I realize it’s also important to empty my mind of the 26 letters of the alphabet that are constantly buzzing around in various arrangements in my head.

We live in a world with constant noise: TV, construction, motors, whirring coffee machines – even tranquil spas and yoga classes play music. What’s that about?

Anyway, as part of my home yoga practice, I’m trying to incorporate a time to be silent. I’m not chanting a mantra (more words) or telling myself, “When this is over I need to write that thought down!”

Of course it seems our brains are always full of thought (at least my female brain is…my husband swears he’s thinking of “nothing” if I ask him. Actually, since I’m on the topic, what do babies think about? Can you have thoughts without language?)

Anyway, sitting in silence is an attempt to empty my mind…and to simply experience the quiet. A need that my bloggy friend Kathryn describes as a part of our days that is sorely missing in these times. It’s nice to invite it back into my life.Š

A Time to Cleanse

Don’t eat anything after 7pm.

I heard that tip on Oprah. The rationale had something to do with losing weight and the fact that it’s easier to burn calories during the day rather than at night when we’re watching TV, reading, or sitting around talking. Part of it sounded reasonable (I guess), but another part of it sounded like a silly rule or restriction that may or may not be good for a person’s particular body. After the show, I forget the tip completely and ate past 7pm a lot.

When I began Clean Eating, I started thinking about that suggestion again. Gradually, I made dinner my final meal of the day and stopped mindless snacking afterwards. My husband and I usually don’t eat until 8pm anyway, but there was another reason why I stuck to the plan: I finally understood the rationale behind Oprah’s tip. Marilyn Polk sums it up nicely in one of the cookbooks I’m reading:

“Our bodies need a chance to cleanse, heal, and rest. Most Americans are so busy poking food into their mouths throughout the day and night that their bodies do not have a chance to cleanse, heal, or rest.”

It’s like the Eagles song based on the bible verse: There is a time for everything. A time to live and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. The idea of giving my body a time eat – and then later a time to cleanse – made so much sense. Simple. Good. Common sense. And of course, it’s only a guideline. If I’m ravenous after 8pm by all means I will eat something! That makes sense too. Š

Secret Ingredient

Does anyone know the secret ingredient that goes into making the perfect Smoothie? I can’t figure it out. My blender and I have been bonding lately as I try out different recipes. In addition to ice and some frozen strawberries and blueberries, I try:

Smoothies with frozen banana.

Smoothies with frozen banana and whey protein powder.

Smoothies without either.

Smoothies with honey. Smoothies with Stevia. Smoothies with an egg. Smoothies with soy milk.

No matter what I do, they simply don’t taste as good as the kind I buy. It’s not that they taste bad, but after a few sips I kinda forget about them. When I find the abandoned half-empty glass later on, I feel like I’ve wasted food. One does not forget about a really good Smoothie.

At first I thought maybe it was because when I buy Smoothies they’re probably full of sugar and ice cream or something. But no, I thoroughly enjoyed the Smoothies I drank every afternoon at a yoga retreat in Mexico last February – everything that kitchen prepared was of the healthy, no-sugar variety. I fondly recall sitting under a shade tree at the beach in the afternoons (after a morning of working out) and looking forward to seeing the resort’s chef saunter over with his latest concoction. Wait a sec…the secret ingredient I’m missing? I think it might be the beach. That is, after all, the only place I really ever drink Smoothies. There’s something about the white sand and the turquoise waters and reading a good book that makes a Smoothie taste so perfectly good.

I live far, far away from the beach.

Well, shoot.Š

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