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.”
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 slices smoked salmon
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons mixed baby salad greens
2 pieces WASA Light Rye Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)
Sread 1 tablespoon of goat cheese on each crispbread. Sprinkle each crispbread with 1/2 tablespoon of capers and ½ tablespoon chopped chives. Cover each with thinly sliced salmon.
Mix olive oil and lemon juice together. Sprinkle ½ of the oil mixture on each crispbread. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
Top with baby salad greens and sprinkle with remaining olive oil and lemon mixture.
TIP: Substitute cream cheese or low fat cream cheese or feta cheese for goat cheese.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Value Per Serving
||3% of daily value
My car crunches over the gravel as I pull into the parking lot of the yoga studio. Climbing up the rickety stairs of the wood building, I’m filled with hope.
This is the ninth yoga instructor I’ve tried since moving to DC. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to find a teacher that feels like the right fit. In part, I’m grieving the loss of my instructor from Los Angeles whom I adored. And I admit I don’t mind the teachers I’ve practiced with here, but I find yoga easier to maintain when I feel a strong authentic connection.
A few months ago I tried a class where the teacher did seem like a great fit. But when I returned, she was no longer there. I scoured the web searching for her to pop up in another studio around town. I only had a first name to go off of, but I think I might have found her and that’s why I’m here today.
I sign in at the desk and walk into the studio. The teacher is asking the class to get two blocks, a blanket, and a strap. Yep, that’s her. I can tell by the sound of her voice.
She walks by me on her way to close the door of the studio, but she pauses before reaching her destination. She watches me as I pull back my hair back into a loose ponytail.
“Hi. I’m Jenny. I’m a drop-in,” I say.
“I know you,” she says.
I sigh in relief. She remembers me.
“I took a restorative yoga class you taught in another studio a few months ago. I’ve been looking for you ever since. You’re hard to find,” I explain.
“Yes,” she nods, remembering the class. “It’s taken me awhile to get going and figure out where to set up shop.”
Well no wonder I couldn’t find her. She’s a new teacher. Later, I discover that she had a health scare which caused her to re-evaluate her entire career as a molecular biologist. Once she recovered, she decided to become a yoga teacher. Love that (I had a similar experience three years ago and that’s when I began writing).
We open by chanting three Oms. Then she tells us to be sure not to miss class three weeks from now. She’ll be teaching it outside where we will all face the trees so we can experience a “yoga foliage festival.” Oh yeah, she’s my kind of yogi.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes of disease.”
Yoga. Acupuncture. Herbs. A Clean Diet..
As I learn how to take care of myself naturally, all are becoming part of my life.
It’s a slow process. And a process that needs a ton forgiveness (the other day before the going to the movies I ate a “healthy snack” so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat candy – and ended up munching on a box of Jr. Mints anyway!).
Tonight for dinner it’s chicken tacos. Organic corn tortillas, free-range organic chicken, and a variety of vegetable toppings to choose from: tomato, avocado, black beans, dark green lettuce, salsa, etc. Also, some steamed spinach on the side (sprinkle the spinach with a little apple-cider vinegar and it is delicious).
I’m not some fancy chef, but I find myself cooking, thinking, and caring about food a lot these days.