Broccoli. Used to like it as a kid. Then one day I ate it and threw-up later that night. Haven’t touched it since. We’re talking 19 years of no broccoli. That’ too bad considering it’s one of the best vegetables out there – packed with nutrients, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
As I continue to adjust my eating habits, I am always looking for new ways to add vegetables into my diet. Broccoli is one vegetable my husband loves, so I usually steam a little bit for him and make something different for myself – spinach, green beans, whatever. But the other night I was boiling some Barilla whole grain pasta. I drained the noodles and poured some organic pasta sauce over the top.
As I was scooping out the broccoli for my husband’s plate, I decided to mix some of the florets in with the pasta and red sauce. Yum. I love broccoli again. But only this way. I’m the same way with asparagus. Can’t really stand the stuff plain (unless of course it’s picked fresh from my own garden), but I will eat it in an omelet. Go figure.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. And God saw that it was good. –Genesis 1:9
That verse has been stuck in my head since November.
Outside, I’ll point to our little community yard in front of our townhouse and say, “This hasn’t been dry since we moved in.”
When it’s not covered in snow or ice, it’s a wet, muddy patch of grass. I’m ready for sunshine. For warm air. For dry ground.
Last Saturday, I got my wish. The sun blazed in the sky without a cloud in sight. I was so happy and giddy and overwhelmed with possibilities I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I bike? Rollerblade? Find an outdoor court and play tennis? In the end, I opted for a long walk. I simply wanted to let the fresh air clear my mind.
Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk.
I could’ve stayed on the trail forever.
The day came to a close, and by Sunday morning it was raining again. Our patch of grass was wet and muddy. But there are more warm, dry days ahead. I can feel them. And I’m ready to welcome them with open arms.
I glanced at a weather map of the United States today and it’s orange, darker orange, and red all over. In other words, it’s hot.
I tend to have a high tolerance for 90 degree weather, so I revel in it, but my yoga teacher says the heat makes a lot of people irritable.
She thought we should focus on cooling poses in class today.
We worked on variations of Downward Facing Dog – using a chair, then a wall, then the regular way – and then spent some time in Child’s Pose, Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend*).
“Forward bend poses are great for settling you down when you’re feeling agitated,” the teacher said. “You may sweat while you’re in the pose, but they’re calming on the nervous system.”
I must say, it is amazing how as the class continued I felt myself grow into silence as I streeeeeetched out, my heart resting peacefully inside.
So if you find yourself snapping at people (including yourself) or not tolerating the traffic or noticing that things that you usually don’t mind are bugging you, take heart. It might simply be the heat. Try breathing a few times . . . and don’t forget to bend.
*In Seated Forward Bend, I have to sit on two blankets and lasso a strap around the balls of my feet to hang onto and pull myself forward because I can’t reach my arms to my toes. The teacher looks just like the lady in this picture when she’s in the pose, but she mentioned that 18 years ago she had to use blankets and straps too. So. By my calculations I should be able to do Seated Forward Bend without props in 15 years. I wasn’t discouraged by this. I was excited. The human body is amazing. Anyway, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to think about those things in yoga class, but sometimes I can’t help it!
Here’s a little secret: I practiced yoga for 12 months before I finally washed my mat . . . okay, 18 months . . . um, maybe more like 24. Yep, I’m pretty sure it was over two years before I grabbed a washcloth and filled a bucket with warm soapy water. For the record, my mat wasn’t too dirty. I tend to prefer the Iyengar approach to yoga over styles that involve a heated rooms or a lot of fast movement, so I’m usually not dripping sweat during classes. But despite that, and regardless of how often I’d wash my feet before sessions, I began to notice soiled circles where my heels pressed into the mat. I should wash this, I would think to myself during Downward Facing Dog. Yep that’s definitely dirt, I’d say to myself as I gazed at grime during Plank. After class I would roll up my mat, take it home, and promptly forget my pledge. Finally one day I plunged my hand into a bucket and went to work. It’s very easy. Following these directions, I unrolled my mat on a clean tile surface, washed it with a cloth (two cups of water to four drops of dish soap), and then rinsed it by wiping it down with a damp cloth followed by a dry one. Much better. Next class, I practically felt like I was using a brand new mat. It’s funny – sometimes when I take the time to care for something external, it feels like an internal cleansing.