“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.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Hmm. I guess I was thinking that I had a few free hours, so why not sketch out a menu for the week and stock up with ingredients at the grocery store? Off I went – the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend – and as soon as I walked in the door I realized my mistake.
What a zoo.
I tried to practice my yoga breaths as carts jammed the aisles and children blocked my path as they played handheld video games in front of the eggs while their parents taste-tested the artichoke dip. I tried to remember I had just come from church and I should be patient and kind and gentle and not cave into my mounting frustration. Breathe. Breathe. BREATHE!
I do not do well in crowds.
The trick to grocery shopping (at least the one I go to in my town) is to hit the store early Monday morning. It’s empty and open and I can take my time reviewing my list and making sure I have everything I need for the week. When I had an office job with less flexible hours, I’d go to the store late at night. I’d have to step around boxes of fresh shipments, but it was better than being piled in an enclosed space with too many people. My goal is to get away from stores almost entirely – next season I’m signing up for a CSA subscription. And I’m continuing to explore year-round farmers’ markets (for some reason crowds don’t bother me as much when I’m outside) and buying local food through other direct methods. But I’m in transition, so for awhile I’ll be heading to the store at least once a week. On Monday mornings.
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.
Jessica Seinfeld is out with a new cookbook: Deceptively Delicious. Her kids wouldn’t eat veggies and she was trying to figure out how to incorporate the healthful plants into their diets. One day while pureeing butternut squash for her baby she realized it was the same color as the mac & cheese she was making for her older kids. Bingo.
She was on Oprah recently. I missed the show but I laughed when I heard about her clever concept. I sneak veggies into meals all the time…for my husband Ron.
The man hates peppers. Can’t stand beets, doesn’t care for mushrooms, won’t touch tomatoes.
Do you know how many recipes call for tomatoes?
My friend Michelle gave me a recipe for turkey burgers. Ron loves them except for one ingredient – onion – which he picks out with his fork. But one night I chippy-chopped the onion into extra small pieces. He didn’t even notice. Afterwards, he kept saying, “There was onion in the burgers? Really?”
Works great for sauces, meats, pizza, whatever.
Here is the recipe for turkey burgers: Sautee 1/4 cup finely chopped onion in olive oil. In a bowl, combine onion with 1 small apple (grated), 1 T chopped fresh chives, 1 t celery salt, 1/2 t ground sage, 1/8 t pepper. Add 1 pound uncooked turkey and mix well. Form into patties. Sautee in oil (we grill ‘em).