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1 slice Wasa Multi Grain Crispbread
1 slice of turkey breast
1 slice pepper jack cheese
1 fresh basil leaf
Layer each ingredient on the Wasa to create an open-faced sandwich. Break/cut into thirds.
I slouch too much.
At times – pecking away on my laptop, eating a meal, relaxing on the couch – I’ll catch myself and try to fix it.
Lately, I’ve noticed another habit I’ve developed over the years: frowning. Well, maybe not frowning exactly, but holding a tense face.
Opening the yoga practice, I am sitting with my legs crossed mid-shin. The teacher tells the class to close our eyes and place the back of our hands on our knees with our palms facing the ceiling. Then she tells us to relax our face.
“Relax your jaw,” she says.
“Relax the muscles around your eyes,” she continues.
“Relax the space between your brows . . . your eyelids . . . and even the skin underneath the eyelids.”
She tells the class that relaxing the face is one way to help quiet the brain.
As we continue the practice – sun salutations, standing poses, and core exercises – she gently reminds us about the muscles in our face. And every time it feels amazingly nice to relax them.
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.
Tonight for dinner I made tuna salad…without tuna…or mayo.
How, you might ask, did I make such meal?
With vegetables and seasoning.
I’m trying to incorporate as many veggies into my diet as I can, so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes. One of the most interesting I’ve seen so far is “Better than Tuna” from this book. First, I whipped out my food processor. Then I discovered my food processor was broken, so I whipped out a knife and cutting board. I finely chopped three big carrots, two celery stalks, a quarter of an onion, half a red pepper, and a tomato. I drained the tomato and threw all the veggies in a bowl.
For the seasoning I mixed in one-half teaspoon Celtic sea salt, one Tablespoon parsley, one-half teaspoon kelp, and three Tablespoons of Vegenaise.
Looking at the concoction, I wasn’t sure what to think. It looked pretty appetizing, but there was only one way to find out for sure. I served the “tuna” in a toasted whole wheat hamburger bun. I also set out a platter of blue corn tortillas with hummus (I cut the tortillas into “chips” and baked them in the oven first). To drink? Fresh vegetable juice.
Numma, numma, numma. It was delicious. I highly recommend it (hopefully your food processor is working though because all that chopping was labor intensive). I’m so excited for lunch tomorrow to eat the leftovers.