Category Archives: New York State

Message from ZVRS

Finding Flexibility in Inflexibility

Week 2 of my six-week stint at a newspaper is coming to a close. Four more weeks to go. It’s a blessing, as a freelancer, to have the opportunity to be a part of these projects (steady work! money! live interaction with creatures other than my dog!). But man, the corporate life wipes me out.

I get home from work about 7:30 p.m., make dinner, eat, and plop into bed by 9:00 p.m., exhausted, where I drag my laptop on my lap and spend another couple of hours swaying between vegging out and trying to keep up with my other assignments. The evening yoga class I’d planned to attend? Skipped again.

The other night during one of my zombie-like states, I was flipping through Yoga Journal magazine. The question of the month just so happened to be from a reader who wants to dedicate more time to a yoga practice but finds that work leaves little time or energy to do so.

The yogi who answered the reader question suggested three options (1) back off of a less fulfilling activity and replace it with yoga; (2) spend less time working and more time practicing (which probably means adjusting your standard of living since you’ll presumably make less money if you cut back on work); or (3) make yoga a priority in your free time.

For now I’m choosing option three — switching to a weekend yoga class instead of trying to cram a class in after work when I’m tired and hungry.

Do you have an inflexible schedule that makes practicing yoga more challenging? How do you adjust?

Wasa with Baked Brie, Brown Sugar and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 wheel (8 ounces) brie cheese
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 package WASA Sourdough Rye Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º
Place brie on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Top with brown sugar and walnuts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brie is warm and melted inside.
Remove from oven, place on serving tray surrounded with crispbread and serve immediately.

TIP: Store leftover cheese in refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

Prep time: 35 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 79
Total Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 12 mg
Sodium 125 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 4 g
Calcium 4% of daily value

Freedom

I was “birthed” into the world of yoga through the Iyengar style where precision and alignment are emphasized. My teacher would adjust our poses starting from our pinky toe (literally – she’d have us lift it up and try to spread it away from our other toes) all the way to the tops of our heads (which, she would tell us, should be lifting toward the ceiling, as if a string was attached to our scalp and someone was pulling).

I’m one of those follow the rules, read the directions, life is in the details type of girls, so I ate Iyengar yoga up. The fact that my hamstrings are tight, my shoulders are scrunched, and my hips are narrow make Iyengar a fitting practice because I benefit so greatly from the blocks and straps and blankets that are generously encouraged in that style of practice to help with proper positioning.

From time to time I’ve experimented with other yoga styles – this article describes various kinds – and recently I found myself in a session where the teacher was leading a flow with pretty much no regard to form whatsoever.

At first I was distraught.

“Beautiful!” the yoga teacher said when I moved into Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II).

“Oh, yeah, right,” I thought to myself.

In an Iyengar class, the instructor is always adjusting my Warrior II pose. I’m like a toy where you push one section in and another section pops out. If she moves my left thigh, my right knee tweaks to a different place. If she tilts my pelvis, my arms plummet. If she tells me where to fix my gaze – whoops – there goes my thigh again.

Anyway, I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want to spend the entire practice mentally upset that this yoga teacher wasn’t going to focus on form. Other than calling out the pose, she was giving no instructions, and deep inside I knew that was okay. Because yoga really isn’t about form. Not at its core. It’s about being in a present state of mind. Finding a place where I’m not worrying about the future or obsessing over the past, even if those thoughts relate to yoga itself. As I continued the flow, I let go of the details and the precision and simply enjoyed the movement.

I felt warm and flexible and free.

Dancing Your Way to a Healthy Body

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.

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