On this blog I will write about not just items that relate to Yoga, but items that can help our community and its inhabitants be better balanced. It’s not just exercises or nutrition that can make a person feel their best. It can include social time and great local places that make us feel a part of a whole. It can be a great small niche farmer that provides great produce, meat, eggs and dairy. It could mean past times and interest that are focused on our location. I will also use my years of searching out the best, most common-sense approaches to healthy living to help my readers understand that a healthy balanced life is not really complicated and many times your grandma was right.
This week’s post focuses on one of those Grandma was right concepts, healthy nutrition. I started a focus in my own life on eating healthy, as a teen. I read a lot and stumbled across a book on nutrition for children called “Feed your Kids Right”, By Dr. Lyndon Smith. Its information today is outdated, we have learned a lot in the last 40 years. But the one thing he did stress is not to rely on processed foods. When I mean processed foods, I refer to foods that have flavorings added, sugar added, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. Most of these types of foods can be found in boxes, cans, and in the freezer section. Even foods many might consider healthy, like yogurt packaged with fruit, frozen veggie burgers and “healthy’ frozen meals, fall into the processed food column.
I am not saying you need to eat all our meals out of your own garden, if you can do it, great! Most of us must strike a balance between convenience and the best food scenario. Last week I shared a link to a YouTube Channel called Dr. Mike. Here is the Link to that video on a recently published nutrition study showing eating processed foods, like the ones that have the items I noted above, tend to make us gain weight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRo-D2YlGY4.
Now, it would be great to be able to head to the produce section and just start picking up the fresh, beautiful produce we see. But I am realistic, and I am a budget gal, so I don’t do this, except when produce is in season and I also try to pick it up from local providers. Cameron is lucky, because we have several farm stands that open as soon as they have produced to pick. (I plan on highlighting these great providers in future posts.) But they are not open during the winter months, so what do you do? Well frozen veggies and fruits are great. Check the label!!! If it just lists the veggie or fruit, its minimally processed and still has terrific nutrition. But watch out, don’t grab the ones with the cheese sauce, or sweet or sour, or whatever. Your adding calories and items you really don’t need.
Teaching your taste buds to appreciate the subtle flavors of real foods can be a battle. Most of us have been bombarded with too much salt, fat and sugar, dulling our taste buds to mild flavors of fresh foods. So, cook that bag of broccoli up, add a small pat of butter (not margarine or can’t believe its not whatever) or olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Start small and work up, baby steps, it can be done. Take a look at this photo of my regular veggie purchases. I buy the big bags because I like to eat, so for me 1 cup does not fill me up, more like 2-3 cups or 12-16 oz of veggies with some protein. Check out the bag of broccoli ingredients, it says broccoli, just broccoli. I add some butter and a pinch of salt. Yummy. Its also cheap. The big bags were around $5.40 ish and the little steamer bag, enough for 1 lunch for me was around $2.00. You do not need to spend outrageous amounts for produce. When its in season the price is just right, and the flavor is wonderful. But when fresh is not around or you need to supplement your veggies, buy frozen. Remember, baby steps!
Hope you find this helpful, Respectfully Wendy
"Well I’m not flexible, so Yoga, for me, just isn’t possible.” I have heard that statement more than once during my yoga teacher training. I have also heard a few apologies, as if a person needs to be “perfect” or hit the postures “perfectly” before they can take a class. Yoga is a system that can make your more of who you already are, and that does not mean perfect.
Yoga provides a personal journey for everyone. My journey, which includes postures I still struggle with (Forward Bends, UGH). My struggle will not be the same for the students I teach. Some students will gently and effortlessly fold into a forward bend and I will smile and sigh. I recognize that fluidity and ease will be something that I will most likely never experience in my forward bends, but I will continue to work toward it.
When you attend one of my classes, you will see that I do not have the classic, yoga body. I am not tall, I am short at 5 feet, no inches. I am stocky and muscular, not willowy and slender. Some of you may be able to relate the elements I have. With my body type I have challenges. My skeletal structure is not like a willowy individual with full range of motion. I must make compensations and adjustments so I can reach my version of the classic postures. Every individual skeletal structure is different, and therefore some students can ease into some postures and other postures may prove slightly elusive. Take for example raising the arms to the ears. Some can glide up to the ears, but others may have their arms just ahead of the ears or even the face. This inability to go to the ears with the arms is not flexibility. It is just the skeleton stopping when bone meets bone, this is called compression. You can’t change it but can find ways to work through it and get everyone to their best possible expression of the posture.
The other anatomical issue is with tension. This is where flexibility plays a part. But flexibility is not the only point with tension. It can also mean the muscle is not yet warm, or the person has more muscle in that area or even too much flesh (The “girls” can get in our way sometimes.) With these other elements, we need to take our time to determine the best way to ease into the posture, stay in it then ease out. It takes practice.
Knowing that our skeletal structure and how much muscle or how much flesh we have is to understand that each person’s journey will be solely unto that individual. Comparisons with other students on the mats is a time waster. You can not compare apples to oranges to kiwis.
Time on the mat, addressing our own path is time well spent. It provides added strength, increased flexibility, improved balance and combating stress. Every Instagram “Perfect Posture” Yogi was once a beginner, and nothing is wrong with being a beginner.