Friday, January 4, 2013

If I Could Turn Back Time

Is your calendar moving backward?

Happy New Year!  Now that you've had a few days to let 2013 settle in, how are you doing on your resolutions?  Has the momentum fizzled yet?

I typically resolve to learn something new each year.  Sometimes I set the bar low with something like 'learning how to eat with chopsticks' and sometimes I get a little more audacious and vow to learn a foreign language or something like that (if you need to ask someone where your backpack is in Spain, I'm the translator for you).  I'm still working on mapping out my 2013 goals, but I imagine they will end up being a revamped version of the goals I wrote out in October (which included starting this blog).

As we all know, popular resolutions are often related to health and fitness.  I can certainly understand why.  Our health had a direct impact on our quality of life and our ability to carry out other goals and challenges.  I just read a fun article outline some of the health benefits of exercise.  Click here to read about how exercise is a fountain of youth!

If you are looking for other ways support your body and improve your health, give matcha a try.  Matcha is a finely milled Japanese green tea.

This is what the powder looks like before you whisk it into hot water.  I use a milk frother to make sure it is blended well.  I typically just drink it unsweetened with nothing else added to the water.  It tastes rich and earthy.  I will admit that it's really an acquired taste (that I've grown to love), but if your pallet can't handle it, try sweetening it with a little honey or adding a little coconut milk when you whisk it.

I got mine at Teavana, but I've also seen it at Earth FareWhole Foods, and a few local grocery stores.  Why drink it?  It is loaded with antioxidants.  Check out this article from Bodybuilding.com.  The benefits of matcha are mapped out beautifully!

Building a yoga practice in 2013

If all of this talk about tea has you feeling zen, you may want to give yoga a try for your daily workout.  When I started practicing yoga about 12 years ago, I intended to use it as a body leveraging workout to help improve my physical strength and flexibility.  It definitely did just that.  However, about 6 years into my practice (yes, it took that long), yoga became about much more than that.  I started to notice additional benefits from yoga.  At the end of a yoga class, we close with a final posture called Shavasana (also known as corpse pose).  

This happens at the end of class to allow you the opportunity to clear your mind, relax your body and regroup.  I used to despise this portion of the practice.  My mind would wander and I would get anxious about what I could be accomplishing if I could just take that last five minutes to get a head start on what I had left to do that day.  One day, years into my yoga practice, I realized that instead of using shavasana as a time to plot how I could roll up my yoga mat and slither out of class in complete silence, I was actually relaxing.  It was amazing!  My head was clear, my heart rate was lower, I had no muscle tension and I felt refreshed, not fatigued.  By accidentally participating in this final pose, I was able to discover the power that could be drawn from it.  Allowing our minds to quiet for just 5 minutes each day is a priceless gift to give to ourselves.  For many, this challenge will be greater than any headstand, contortion or bind that you may attempt while growing your practice.

At the end of this month, I will be adding additional yoga classes to my training schedule.  I will be sharing poses and postures with you here on this blog as well.  I wanted to introduce shavasana to you first, hoping that you could begin to practice this now so that it doesn't take you 6 years to realize the beauty of relaxation.   

Once you are awoken from corpse pose at the end of your practice, I like to come back to a seated position and hold my hands at my heart and close with 'Namaste',  meaning the good within me honors the good within you.  So let me close the blog today with the same...


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