ASL FILM: VERSA EFFECT showing at the Palace Theater, 10/7/2011 at 7pm $11. pp
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I’ve been in Downward-Facing Dog for awhile. My legs and arms are starting to shake. I’m always a little embarrassed when this happens.
The teacher walks by my mat and slows down.
“Feel that shaking?” she asks.
“Uh, yeah,” I say.
“That’s good,” she says.
“It’s your body’s energy.”
I stay in position and think, My body’s energy? Nope, I’m pretty sure it’s just my muscles on the verge of collapse!
“You may have the urge to try to control the shaking,” she says.
Yes, I think.
“Or you may feel the urge to let go and shake uncontrollably,” she says.
I nod upside down. Giving in and letting the shaking take over sounds even better.
“Find the balance between the two. You don’t want to block it, but you don’t want to over-indulge it.”
She talks more about the body’s energy, and I’m not sure I completely understand all she’s saying. But as my body stretches, strengthens, balances, and shakes, I stay with it. I stay true to the moment, sensing the balance between control and lack of it. Suddenly the shaking doesn’t feel so embarrassing; it actually feels kind of good.
“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.
Lately, I’ve been giving them a lot of thought.
First, my yoga teacher is always including toes in her instructions. Lift them off the ground (one at a time). Spread them. Plant them back on your mat (one at a time). It takes awhile to learn to control them – they’re so often ignored. Second, I was reading a book about a woman who had a stroke and was paralyzed on her left side, including all her toes. She was explaining the rehabilitation process and talking about the fact that she realized – once she could no longer use them – how important toes are for balance and for pushing off of when walking. Third, I just so happened to be reading the book passage while I was getting a pedicure (a gift from my husband).
So toes were on my mind.
For most of my life I didn’t pay attention to them. And when I got older I would shove them into cold, hard pointy shoes. In turn, that led to foot cramps. The cramps would attack in the middle of the night and hurt so bad I’d cry. But when I started practicing yoga, I noticed my foot cramps disappeared. I decided to give my feet the love they deserved. In addition to yoga, I began wearing comfortable shoes. And from time to time, I’d get a pedicure. I stopped painting my nails awhile ago (to avoid the harsh chemicals), but today I made a special exception.
I picked a color – Dutch Tulips – in honor of spring.
When they were red and shiny, I wiggled them and smiled. Thankful for my toes.
There are a lot of people who exercise to make themselves fit and healthy. They go to gyms, do treadmills, jog, bike, swim, and many more. The problem with these exercises is that they become very monotonous, especially when you do them several times a week. The truth is there are other exercises where you can do cardio without actually being bored doing it – dancing. Well, it may sound funny at first but dancing can actually be a strenuous activity which is perfect for those who are looking for a challenging and very exciting form of exercise. The best part of it all is that you not only learn new moves, but that you do not keep on repeating the same steps over and over wherein the overall exercise is pure and simple repetition of itself.
Do not let dancing fool you because even if you think you are fit from all that jogging and running, try doing some fast and rigorous dance routine and you will be sweating bullets in under an hour. Or you can try some simple graceful moves that can test the overall flexibility of your joints and ligaments.
If you try to look at people who do dancing for a living, you will notice just how lean their physiques are yet strong and capable enough to lift their dance partners. In short, dancing can actually help you build a strong and healthy body. Here are just some of the few benefits of dancing:
Cardio – dancing is all about constant movement and this can help you give your cardio some workout. Once you become more skilled and develop better stamina for dancing, your endurance also increases which means you can practice doing certain dance moves for hours on end. In essence, this not only gives you a cardio workout, but it also develops your stamina and endurance.
Strength – aside from cardio, dancing also has some elements which helps make you stronger. For example, when you do dips and certain weight bearing towards your legs, hips and thighs, you inevitably build your base muscles that help strengthen your balance. Additionally, the rhythmic movements with different sway patterns help in developing your center of gravity.
Weight Loss – dancing is not as easy as it looks and it can wear down your muscles easily and can make you sweat heavily, especially when you are not used to moving your whole body or nearly all your muscles together. Through dance movements, you burn a lot of calories which can certainly make anyone lose weight. This is the very reason why dancers are usually slim.
Flexibility – part of dancing is bending, twisting, and moving your body at angles you do not usually do. Such movements actually help you in developing your flexibility. Additionally, doing some stretching prior to dancing is also necessary in order to avoid any injuries caused by sprains or torn ligaments. Dancing is very tough on muscles, tendons, and ligaments if you do it without practice and stretching. Additionally, practicing dancing more and more can help you to become more flexible.