Thursday, April 28, 2011

To be a kid again

Hello everyone! It's been almost a month since my last post, I have just been so busy! I seems I have had tests upon tests with papers and presentations in spatterings throughout. Things won't let up for a few more weeks, but I think I can manage a little time to share a few thoughts...

I am still just as obsessed with yoga as I was last time you heard from me. Maybe even more so! I would like to talk a little bit about inversions with you today. Handstands, tripod headstands, shoulderstands that sort of thing. I read an article on MindBodyGreen today about just this topic. You can find the article here. The author was slightly critical of the way handstands have been made mainstream in yoga classes. Her argument is that you have to build from the ground up. Without proper alignment and breathing with two feet on the ground, you risk maintaing the proper form which is so crucial to an inversion that does your body good rather than harm it. You have to be grounded before you can fly. And she does add at the end that she loves the handstand, not saying that we shouldn't do it, but that you need to create a foundation first.

I agree with what this author is saying. However, this article really got me to thinking about why it is I love my yoga practice these days so much. And one of these things is inversions. They are one of the most exciting parts of my practice. And if you ask my family members, they will probably tell you that in the past few weeks I often spontaneously flip upside down. And while the author argues that you need to be grounded before you can fly, I think it is exactly the fact that I get to be ungrounded that is so appealing. I feel like such a kid again when I fling my legs into the air (and yes, I think sometimes in handstands it is definitely a fling rather than a graceful lift). I spend the greater part of my day being grounded. I am serious about my studies and spend a great deal of time preparing for my future. So when it comes to yoga, I spend time on poses such as chair and warrior, but if a class doesn't have some sort of inversion in it you will find me seriously disappointed (which is one of the reasons why I didn't like inversions!). Sometimes it feels good to not be so serious, and when you are falling on your face 50 times for one successful attempt its hard to not laugh!

So go and try out an inversion tonight. It will bring out your playful side and you will realize that your childhood dream of flying really can be had! (and its just as spectacular as you always imagined it would be)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Healthy Italian

When we think of Italian food, we don't usually think healthy right? Well, maybe Giada's Italian could be, but not your typical Americanized Italian food. You know what I'm talking about...Spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, etc. Basically what you get is lots of pasta or breadcrumbs, meat, and tomatoes. Of course, these tomatoes are usually boiled and look a large amount of their nutrients. Not to mention the sugar that is added to tomato sauces! Now, I do love the comfort of Italian food, but sometimes I am just looking for something that is healthier and won't weigh me down!

That is where Sarma comes in. I decided to make Sarma's healthy lasagna for dinner tonight, and it was not a disappointment!  Layers of fresh zucchini and juicy tomatoes with basil-walnut pesto, tomato sauce, and pignoli ricotta. And yes, all raw! Take a look:

On another note, I am working on my crow (or crane) pose. Ideally, your arms should be almost straight. But I am pleased with the progress I am making so far. Notice I am wearing a new shirt in the picture! It is one of four in the same style that I bought from American Apparel specifically for yoga. I love them!

Have a great night!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blooming Lotus

Hello all, 

I did a 90 minute yoga practice today, that in all honesty was one of the roughest practices I have. I am convinced that Bikram yoga messed with me yesterday. I am going to give it another shot still and try to not be close-minded, but Bikram yoga and I are not friends right now. But we are not enemies yet and I will explain why.

The first...oh maybe 50 minutes of my practice my mind felt weird. I am going to put it into words as best I can. During forward bends my mind felt frazzled. It felt overwhelmed like it had something to shake but just couldn't. My poses weren't painful, but for some reason my mind was all jumbled up. I finally seemed to calm down with the beginning of hip openers, and I was able to find serenity in my practice. Is it possible that Bikram yoga had pulled up all sorts of toxins that were leaving me feeling edgy and mumble-jumbled? And it took a little extra twisting and exhaling to rid myself of these conflicts and unstable emotions? This is why I say Bikram yoga and I are not quite friends yet, nor are we enemies. I may give it another shot.

The second half of my practice I had a very exciting achievement: full lotus! It was a very exciting moment for me, and I would like to share a little background on the symbolic meaning behind the pose. The lotus pose is named for its resemblance to the petal of the lotus blossom. The lotus blossom is a symbol of breaking from the physical body to the spiritual world. It rises up from the mud, and lifts towards the sky and the heavens, as it seeks the light of the sun. It blossoms into a pure white flower, and symbolizes the four virtues: true self, eternity, contentment, and purity. Through the achievement of these virtues it overcomes selflessness, impermanence, suffering, and impurity. I hope that I can one day achieve the virtues associated with yoga.

On that note, have a great weekend!