We are in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) and the teacher is walking us through the pose nice and slow. She has us begin in Tadasana (Mountain pose) and then tells us to touch our fingertips together in front of our chest. As we jump our legs apart, our arms open up too (so they are parallel to the ground).
Next, the real instruction begins. She focuses on our feet, making sure they are spaced far enough apart and turned in the proper direction. She reminds us that our back heel should be aligned with our front heel.
She pauses as we breathe.
She moves onto our legs. She makes sure that our right knee is bent so that it’s directly over the right ankle. We need to press our thigh back so we can see our second toe. She keeps us focused on our lower body, giving us directions on our tailbone, butt, and – again – our thighs. She mentions that second toe again.
You can practically hear the thoughts of every student in the studio: My arms are tired. My arms are so tired! When will this pose be over so we can put our arms down? Are anyone else’s arms tired? Or am I just a wimp? How much longer do we have to hold our arms up?
Finally, the teacher says, “I know your arms are tired.”
Her acknowledgement is a relief even though she encourages us to keep those arms lifted. “Stretch them out even further, reeeaaaaching for the walls,” she says.
She moves onto our shoulder blades – are they scrunched up by our neck? Release them.
Lengthen our torsos.
Broaden our chests.
She knows exactly what we’re doing – allowing our minds to be consumed with thoughts about our arms.
“Your brain starts to panic first,” she says. “Your body is strong and your arms can handle this.”
That’s the extra motivation we need for the last few breaths until she finally has us step our feet back together and place our hands on our hips.
I’m working out in LA for a couple weeks – my old hometown – and it’s great to be back in my favorite teacher’s class. Now that I’m here, I remember she was always big on arms.
When I first moved to Washington DC, I was surprised to discover the average cost of a drop-in yoga class was $20. Back in California it was easy to find classes for almost half as much – maybe because there are yoga studios on practically every street corner in LA. Working off of a freelance writer’s budget, it is challenging to come up with the money for regular yoga classes. If you’re also on a tight budget, good news: yoga classes are and can be accessible to everyone. Many places offer a free class if you’re trying their yoga studio for the first time, and some instructors volunteer to give free classes on a regular basis. Bartering might be another option — attending yoga classes in exchange for working a few hours behind the desk. Finally, keep an eye out for donation-based classes. This growing movement suggests payment on a sliding scale, allowing students to pay what they can afford. To find out more about what options are available, simply ask. And most importantly, don’t forget to pay it forward by sharing with others what had been shared with you.
Don’t eat anything after 7pm.
I heard that tip on Oprah. The rationale had something to do with losing weight and the fact that it’s easier to burn calories during the day rather than at night when we’re watching TV, reading, or sitting around talking. Part of it sounded reasonable (I guess), but another part of it sounded like a silly rule or restriction that may or may not be good for a person’s particular body. After the show, I forget the tip completely and ate past 7pm a lot.
When I began Clean Eating, I started thinking about that suggestion again. Gradually, I made dinner my final meal of the day and stopped mindless snacking afterwards. My husband and I usually don’t eat until 8pm anyway, but there was another reason why I stuck to the plan: I finally understood the rationale behind Oprah’s tip. Marilyn Polk sums it up nicely in one of the cookbooks I’m reading:
“Our bodies need a chance to cleanse, heal, and rest. Most Americans are so busy poking food into their mouths throughout the day and night that their bodies do not have a chance to cleanse, heal, or rest.”
It’s like the Eagles song based on the bible verse: There is a time for everything. A time to live and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. The idea of giving my body a time eat – and then later a time to cleanse – made so much sense. Simple. Good. Common sense. And of course, it’s only a guideline. If I’m ravenous after 8pm by all means I will eat something! That makes sense too.
¼ cup green olives, pitted
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon roasted red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pieces peperocini, chopped
6 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
6 thin slices Guyere Swiss cheese
6 thin slices imported ham
6 pieces WASA Sourdough Rye Crispbread
Prepare muffuletta spread by mixing together in a small bowl green olives, Kalamata olives, olive oil, parsley, oregano, garlic, red pepper, peperocini, and lemon juice.
Spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard on each crispbread followed by one slice of cheese and one slice of ham. Top with 1 tablespoon of muffuletta mixture.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Value Per Serving
||10% of daily value