“Black Sand”

We will host ASL Film titled, “Black Sand” held at Model Secondary School for the Deaf, Washington, DC on April 8/9, 2011.

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Chilling Out with Forward Bends

I glanced at a weather map of the United States today and it’s orange, darker orange, and red all over. In other words, it’s hot.

I tend to have a high tolerance for 90 degree weather, so I revel in it, but my yoga teacher says the heat makes a lot of people irritable.

She thought we should focus on cooling poses in class today.

We worked on variations of Downward Facing Dog – using a chair, then a wall, then the regular way – and then spent some time in Child’s Pose, Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend*).

“Forward bend poses are great for settling you down when you’re feeling agitated,” the teacher said. “You may sweat while you’re in the pose, but they’re calming on the nervous system.”

I must say, it is amazing how as the class continued I felt myself grow into silence as I streeeeeetched out, my heart resting peacefully inside.

So if you find yourself snapping at people (including yourself) or not tolerating the traffic or noticing that things that you usually don’t mind are bugging you, take heart. It might simply be the heat. Try breathing a few times . . . and don’t forget to bend.

*In Seated Forward Bend, I have to sit on two blankets and lasso a strap around the balls of my feet to hang onto and pull myself forward because I can’t reach my arms to my toes. The teacher looks just like the lady in this picture when she’s in the pose, but she mentioned that 18 years ago she had to use blankets and straps too. So. By my calculations I should be able to do Seated Forward Bend without props in 15 years. I wasn’t discouraged by this. I was excited. The human body is amazing. Anyway, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to think about those things in yoga class, but sometimes I can’t help it!   

A Time to Feast

I’m hanging out with my parents when my dad sees me frantically rubbing my thumbs against the palms of my hands.

“Are you nervous?” he asks.

“Yeah,” I say.

He wants to know why. How to explain?

My parents have been visiting the past few days. I haven’t seen them in over six months. It’s the longest period of time we’ve ever been apart (even when I lived in Europe after college I saw them at least every four months). The past few days have been one big party. We’ve eaten red meat and fried foods. We’ve had Grasshoppers (ice cream and alcohol) and cookies. I think I munched on a vegetable in there somewhere – yes, I steamed spinach one night – but other than that, I can’t say I’ve been practicing “mindful eating” since Saturday. And my home yoga regime? Completely cut off once my parents arrived (although my mom saw my mat, which was rolled out on the floor, and she practiced sun salutations).

“I’m not sure what to blog about for Wasa this week,” I finally say to my dad.

“Well, let’s think,” he says.

“I’m supposed to blog about yoga and mindful eating, but I’m not inspired given my eating habits and lack of yoga practice,” I explain.

My dad is silent for awhile. “You could talk about how yoga is important for old people like me,” he finally says. “As people age, they are at an increased risk of falling. So write in your blog that yoga is important for balance and to do yoga with a Wasa cracker.”

“Uh, okay. Thanks,” I say.

“Just trying to help,” he says.

My mom chimes in too. “Oh, I know,” she says. “Blog about the fact that we bought a juicer.”

It’s true. My parents read the Wasa blog and were inspired to buy a juicer.

“Last week we made peach juice with vodka,” my mom says. “It was delicious!” She pauses. “Am I missing the point?”

Well, I do wish they would make vegetable juice instead, but maybe I’m the one who is missing the point. As I drop them off at the airport, I know what I’m going to blog about: A Time to Feast. This week we’ve hit up good restaurants and had fun cooking in too. We played cards and watched baseball and talked, all over scones for breakfast and steaks for dinner. It was a reunion. A celebration.  A time to enjoy life. Not that we couldn’t have done that over Brussels sprouts and brown rice, but eating well most of the time makes it easier to allow the exceptions. Not to mention, those “exceptions” are much appreciated.

Egg Rough-Muffin

When one of my writing colleagues asked me if I had any tips for driving across the country (my husband and I made the trek 18 months ago), I told her to Google all the Whole Foods across the nation and make a point to stop at a few for decent food. Also, I suggested she keep a cooler of healthy, cleansing snacks in the car.

My husband and I didn’t do either of those things, and I was blown away by our limited meal options during our trip. Fast food, fast food, or fast food anyone?

I admit I do have a taste for a sausage mc-muffin with egg from time to time, and the car ride gave me ample opportunity to indulge. But I knew it wasn’t good for my health. The other day I had a craving, and I decided to make a wholesome, at-home version of my favorite fast food breakfast.

I toasted an organic wheat English muffin (search the health food stores for brands that don’t include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or “enriched” flour). Then I poached an egg (break and egg into a measuring cup and slide it into simmering water to cook for 7 minutes). I placed the egg on the toasted muffin, piled on a thick slice of tomato (instead of a sausage patty), and topped it off with a tad bit of grated cheese. Finally, I broiled the “sandwich” for a few more minutes. It was quick, easy, and so good that I decided to serve it for dinner the next night. Yum.

Now I’ve just gotta figure out how to make a healthy version of a big mac. Š

Skinny Female Dog

Have you read the book Skinny Female Dog yet? (That’s not the real title, but I don’t like to cuss on blogs.) I laughed my way through it with advice like “All carbs are not created equal. There are two types: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates suck and are as nutritionally beneficial as toilet paper.” The authors’ big tip throughout the book was to “use your head” when you make choices about eating. They are proponents of no meat and no dairy. I’m of the mindset that I need a little of those food groups for a well-balanced diet (my head says there’s something not quite right about a replacing meat and dairy with soymilk, soy “cheese,” soy “meat,” etc. – BUT that’s just me. The book has some great info in there and is worth the read.)

Moving on, the point I’m trying to make is that I visited the authors’ website the other day. Watch their Video Interview. I loved it. It took one of the author’s seven years to transform her eating habits. The other one – ten years. Their message is so clear and true: the goal is to eat well and do the best you can, but no one is perfect. It’s takes time to change your diet. Taste buds need to be retrained. Moving towards healthier foods is a progression. You give up what you can and don’t beat yourself up when you eat something less than ideal.  Š

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