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Mr. Forgetful

Remember Mr. Men and Little Miss?

I was a child of the 70s and loved those characters. I think Mr. Funny was my favorite, but last Sunday I was reminded of Mr. Forgetful.

It was mid-morning, and my husband and I were exiting a crowded parking lot. The pavement was packed, and cars were bumper to bumper as everyone tried to work their way out onto the main road. A couple policemen were directing traffic and one waved us on. Two seconds later a second policeman held up his hand indicating we should stop. Confusion ensued as my husband rolled forward then hit his breaks as he tried to follow the directions. Cars honked. A red truck squealed his tires and raced around us, cutting us off and running over a couple of orange cones.

Guess where we were leaving?

Church.

We had just finished listening to a sermon about treating others kindly.

How quickly we forget (and I’m not just talking about the guy in the red truck…I found myself feeling annoyed with the traffic too!).

At times I’ve noticed Mr. Forgetful making an appearance in yoga class. Here’s what happens: we spend 90 minutes stretching and meditating and bowing and OMing, but as soon as class ends we’re all shoving our blankets into the shelf (each one folded in different ways), tossing our blocks in a disorganized fashioned into a bin, and then racing out the door as we reach in front of others to grab our flip-flops.

I hate to admit that I’ve been guilty of this before. But I guess I’ll be Little Miss Confession today. After one of my yoga teachers suggested people should put their props away more mindfully, I really began to pay attention. Blankets should be folded and stacked the same way to prevent the pile from tumbling. Blocks should be stacked to maximize space. Straps should be hung without tangles.

And it’s really that simple.Š

Drishti

“Find a point on the ground about a foot in front of your mat and softly fix your gaze on it.”

I’ve heard that instruction tons of times in various yoga classes (depending on the pose, the point of focus changes). It helps me with balance poses, like Tree pose. The other day in class, the teacher was giving that same instruction. Softly is the key word. It’s not an intense stare. “It’s almost like you’re looking behind your eyes,” she said. “It’s called Drishti.”

I never knew it had a name before.

All in a Day’s Work

The dishes needed washing. There were two huge stacks – one by the sink and another over by the stove. One downside to cooking from scratch.

“All we had was salmon and spinach,” my husband said.

“But the teriyaki marinade* was homemade, remember?” Plus, during lunch, I’d been experimenting with homemade pasta sauce.

The dishes sat overnight. Today, evaluating the mess, I realized the entire kitchen needed attention – countertops, floors, fridge – along with the dining room, family room, and bathrooms.

I’ve never been obsessed with cleaning, but even this mess was grating on me.

On the other hand, it was 60 degrees and sunny outside. And I’ve been waiting for this weather since November.

But then again my parents were coming to visit later in the week, so I knew I really should tidy up.

I wasted 20 minutes debating, which included a phone consultation with my husband:

Him: You should definitely rollerblade – the weather is great.
Me: But I was going to wash all those dishes.
Him: Well, on second thought . . .

And an internal argument over the merits of what it means to be a person who writes about mindful living:

Me: A Zen Master of Cleaning would emphasize the importance of living an “uncluttered” life.
Me: But fresh air and exercise will balance out your day.

In the end I decided to blade. The President’s Challenge is underway and I committed to participating on this very blog . . . so you know . . . rollerblading is part of my job.

~~~

*Teriyaki Sauce from The Maker’s Diet: 1 T fresh, grated ginger; 3 cloves garlic, mashed; 1 T toasted sesame oil; 1 T rice vinegar; 1 T raw honey; ½ cup of soy sauce. Whisk together.

Dancing Your Way to a Healthy Body

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.

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