Monday, December 28, 2009

Fruits win again.

Part of the magic of yoga (especially ze hot yoga) is the effect it has on your appetite. After any class, my priorities are simple. I want water, about a liter of that sweet H20. And fruit. Oranges, Pineapple, berries, grapefruit and any other water-rich and refreshing treat. During an intense workout, you can sweat enough to fill a bucket...ringing out my towel looks like I just cleaned up a "spill in aisle 5." Your post-workout body is craving specific forms of replenishment . Water alone won't be enough, since all that sweat contains potassium and sodium (commonly referred to as electrolytes) and though it will rehydrate you, it won't replace those lost minerals. Too much water, in fact, can flush your body and lead to things like water intoxication...and not the fun intoxication, where you forget your name and wake up naked next to a man. And then find out that your latent homosexuality ain't so latent any more. Whoops! It can lead to the "shit, I'm dead" kind. Not fun.

Incorporating fruit into your pre-yoga routine, say an hour before, or keeping some close for a post-workout fruit binge is a great way to replenish lost nutrients. Another alternative is spiking your H20 with some electrolyte-laden goodness. Coconut water is an excellent option. Young coconut water is the magical liquid from the center of, you got it, young coconuts. This sweet nectar of the jungle packs a low-calorie, high electrolyte punch."One cup-full of coconut water contains more electrolytes than most sports drinks and more potassium than a banana." (Thank you, wikipedia. I love you more each day). I buy a liter at wholefoods every other week and pour some into my water bottle to sip on during class. Not only is it delicious, but it has some natural sugars that really keep me up during that hour and a half.

There are a lot of commercial sports drinks out there: Gatorade, Powerade and an ever-growing number of bizarre testosterone-loaded MAN Monster (in danger-font...and you get the girls g-string, too. Creepers win!).

Though the obvious benefits of scoring some hot tail or a g-string to hang in your creeper closet are appealing, the ingredients in these marketing monsters are not. 27 grams of sugar per serving (three servings per can. I love type II Diabetes) and Taurine (a key ingredient in bile...ya know, that nasty yellow goo you see if you kick it way way too hard at a party and visit the porcelain god. It comes from the gallbladder and helps digest food. Surprisingly, tests have not shown an energy boost from taurine supplementation. But the writing on the can is still cool.)

Wins: Electrolytes are good. You need to replenish them during and after any strenuous, sweat-lodge type workout. Natural sources, as always, are best. Fruits are great sources of easily digestible nourishment post workout.

Not wins: Commercial sport drinks with insane advertising. Usually involving naked ladies (or men). Eat fruit instead. Save the naked people for when you watch porn. Or meet a real person.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

My teacher's favorite saying in 11th grade. Also in 12th. Mrs. Flaxman. She taught any variation of English requirements that my school implemented. I enjoyed her wit, and her gusto for discussion after finishing a novel. My favorite part of class would happen when this line was brought out: snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. That always made me laugh...or grimace...or wake up from the delightful dream that was waiting outside of the classroom, which was any random young sir that my hormones had selected as "the one." I had about 32 "the one's" throughout my high school stint. Though I doubt any of them even knew it. I liked girls when I went to North Warren. Yes. Mmhmm.Yup. But I daydreamed about chaps. Jesus, high school can really fucking blow turds all over your little heart.

So, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I loved this saying so much because all of the times I had snatched that steamer from sure majestic wins-ville. It wasn't that I was constantly defeated. Or even that I marked most of my time as a poor decision that led to such evils as detention, extended detention, Saturday detention, or private talks with SeƱor Rod Rufe (whom I just discovered made $97,648  a year. What?!). I just remember high school being one long, hormonal bomb that devastated and terrified and thrilled me for four longish, short years.

So the saying. Many things will come up in the next 4 months that will tempt me with sweet defeat. Like delicious coconut brownies:

 Or that damn fucking delicious glutenous bread!

Or even just seeing my beautiful bed on a particularly shitty day. You know, one with bad weather and the freak storms and the chance of meteors crashing down on us. And I won't have these heroes to come and save me:

At least some of them are attractive. Partial win?

I don't even know what the fuck I am writing about. There! Defeat! Snatched! shit...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Open Door Yoga Studio: Clearing minds in a steamy room

This is where the magic happens.

Well, has been happening since the early summer. And more aptly, will continue to happen throughout my 101 day challenge. Open Door Awesomeness is a local studio in Raleigh, NC, founded by the yoga-driven Monica Bradfield. Since I started going, they expanded the studio offerings to develop a more rounded yoga experience. In addition to the founding classes (All Bikram, All hot), Monica and her talented yoga team added a simple yoga class, which is a centering mix of various poses tailored to the class participant's current ailments (a real savior after any "I over did it" time); an Ashtanga class that brought me to my knees during the numerous chaturangas and flow-throughs; Samana, led exclusively by a favorite teacher of mine (Renee), which builds off of sun salutations and works on core strength...and basically breaks you (in a wonderfully rewarding way). These additions, coupled with regular advanced classes, keep it fresh at the studio. 

Open Door is a little oasis in Raleigh. A place I can bike to in under 10 minutes, sweat out all of my current frustrations and leave with a blissfully clear, peaceful and even (sometimes) euphoric mind. It's intensely rewarding doing yoga, or any activity that allows you to use your body so fervently that your mind is focused on the moment. You are always coming back to the present in class. People slip out of poses, minds may wander between postures and teachers make snappy remarks, but all of it works to keep you in the present. The room is sweltering at times; you are using every spark of mental energy to calm and lengthen your breathing; you're kicking with all your strength. Everything in class requires your attention. It's this attention to all that is happening-the dialogue, poses, breathing and intense humidity-that shuts out all of the chaotic energy that fills your brain outside the studio.

Some of the most meditative experiences I have are during and immediately after Yoga. Try it. Just once. Feel the joy of using your body to quiet down your mind. To shut out all the distraction and stimuli that we are bombarded with every day. To just see yourself in a mirror as you release years of tension, strain, and emotional bullshit locked up in all those tight muscles and scattered memories. Try it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


ary? izing? ist?

I don't want to rely on the common practice that January 1st marks a pivotal moment where one (being any of the millions of Americans) claims that a revolutionary shift is to take place. The day is so symbolic already. Beginning. Start. First. It's fresh. New. People hold on to the magic of this day so desperately, as if it will disappear. And that's because it does. The first is followed by the second. A remarkably unremarkable day. But this day is even more important. It's when the magic of any choose-your-own-ending on the word "revolution" needs to be bigger, stronger and more persistent. Also known as follow through. And that is what I am looking for this year. Follow. Through.

Revolutionary describes my ideas on health, or at least I pretend that's the adjective. Others call it weird. And it can be just altogether ostracizing. "No, sorry. I actually don't eat meat. Or biscuits. Nope. no. not really. Bojangles isn't an option. And I'll pass on the coke. What? Oh, you know...salad. Mixed greens. Quinoa. Sprouts. Brazil nuts. Protein? Really? Oh, you know...I just breathe deeply and hope for the best. Vitamin b-12 deficiency? I lick the dirt off my carrots. Yup. earthy."

So to start, I'm going to take January 1st as a very important day. The start of what will hopefully be followed by the second day (the extra important one). And then the third. Whoa now. Follow through. yes. yes. Follow through.

January 1st will mark 1 day (to be followed by 100 more) of yoga. Bikram, to be specific. But also a gentle style of Hatha Flow in the morning. Maybe even Svaroopa at night. 101 classes in 101 days. Breathe. Take a breath. 1st. 2nd. Go.