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I enjoy the beginning of yoga class because the opening is generally “easy” – well, at least physically (the meditating part can bring up its own set of challenges).
But before we practice some of the more difficult poses, we usually we open by sitting in Sukhasana for a few minutes. And then maybe move onto our hands and knees to practice Dog Tilt and Cat Pose. It’s a place for gentle movements. A time to bring awareness to our breath.
The other day at the beginning of class, we were on our hands and knees with a neutral spine (tabletop). The teacher asked us to lift our right arm off the ground and straighten it so it pointed forward. Both of our arms were engaged. The left one pushing the floor away, and the right one reaching for the wall in front of us (in a way where we weren’t scrunching our shoulder blade up to our neck). She had us hold that position. For a long, long time. It was hard. (Don’t believe me? Try it.)
“Some poses can be deceptive,” the teacher said. “Not as easy as they seem.”
I love that about yoga. I love that I don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment or special shoes to build flexibility and strength. I just need my body, my mind, and my spirit.
The first time I tried to stop drinking coffee I was working as a lawyer. It was a busy time at the firm, so I honestly don’t know what possessed me to quit cold turkey. I began having headaches on top of the long hours. Six months went by. The headaches stopped (the long hours didn’t). Eventually, I caved. I wanted that energy jolt again. Plus, the taste. Mmmm…the taste.
The second time I tried to stop drinking coffee I was trying to get pregnant. This time I weaned myself slowly. I ordered a small instead of a medium. Then a half regular, half decaf. Finally I made the switch to non-caffeine tea.
After I lost the baby (miscarriage), I was drinking coffee within days.
When I made a commitment to Clean Eating, I thought, Third time’s a charm. But now that I’m well on my way down the path of eating wholesome foods, I’ll say this: drastically reducing my intake of sugar and white flour while drastically increasing my fruit and veggies has been pretty smooth sailing. But the coffee…oh, how I miss it when I don’t drink it.
I just can’t seem to kick it (well, it’s more like I’m unwilling to give it an honest try). I keep reading articles about the benefits of coffee (antioxidants, etc), but really, part of me think that’s like those articles that claim dark chocolate is good for you for the same reasons (antioxidants).
Really, shouldn’t we just eat blueberries?
To make a long story longer, I’m still on the fence about coffee (thus have not given it up). I enjoy the aroma and flavor so much. Plus, unlike sugar which makes me feel bleh inside, coffee makes me feel good (but I know, I know…it increases my blood pressure and doesn’t help with my anxiety issues). So I sit in confusion. I tell myself that out of all the vices in the world caffeine isn’t so bad. (Can you tell I’m piling on the excuses here or what?)
I’d love to hear from others who are dedicated to eating clean, healthy foods. What’s your take on your morning cuppa joe (or lack thereof)?
The street is cleared of traffic, the tents are up, and the vendors are selling summer squash, cherries, and herbs. It’s the second week this season the farmers’ market has been open in town, and my husband escapes from the office so we can enjoy lunch together and wander by the open-air booths. We buy bread (baked from scratch) from one of our favorite vendors and discuss what we can grill, cook, and drink over the next few days.
As we walk, I start thinking about how I’ll be spending a lot more time at farmers’ markets this summer than I have in the past – it’s easier to find local, sustainably-grown food here than at the grocery stores. I’ve always enjoyed farmers’ markets, but I’ve tended to reserve them for “special occasions.” When I lived in Los Angeles my friends and I would load up with market goodies before going to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, or for a picnic at the beach, or if we had guests coming to town.
With over 3500 farmers’ markets in the United States (visit LocalHarvest.org to find one near you) there are plenty here on the east coast where I currently live. I’ll be visiting more of them over the next few days to get a feel for the ones I prefer, talk to vendors, and gather local meat, eggs, and more fruit and veggies. I know I have my work cut out for me this summer as I learn how to prepare meals, can tomatoes, and make my own salad dressing. But taking the first step and creating the intent to eat clean is one of the biggest hurdles. Besides, it feels good to realize that what used to be a “special occasion” will now be a part of daily life.