The Yoga Trapeze

For as long as I can remember I have loved being upside down. As a school girl I loved hanging upside down on the monkey bars, or hanging one leg over a metal rail and twirling myself around on the one knee while pushing myself off with the other leg. As a cheerleader and gymnast my favorite routines involved cartwheels, and as a yoga student I love inversions.

Years ago I saw an ad for an inversion table and have always wanted one.

inversion table

I never purchased one, but recently I came across a product that I think is even better.

The Yoga Trapeze:

yoga trapeze

As you can see, I’ve hung it from the beam in my living room.

I discovered this item through an ad on Facebook and immediately went to their website, YogaBody Naturals.

Set up was a breeze – all it took to connect it to the beam were a couple of eye hooks and caribiners. Before I knew it I was inverted:

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Inversions are only one of many exercises that can be done with the Yoga Trapeze, though it’s the inversions that sold me. I can comfortably stay inverted for about 5 minutes and have been doing so two or three times a day since the trapeze arrived. My neck feels great (I had been contemplating a visit to the chiropractor when the trapeze arrived), and my back feels good. I am working on loosening my shoulders and upper back and practicing supported back bends so I can feel more confident in wheel pose in my yoga classes.

I am excited about trying the many other opportunities available with my new trapeze. And sometimes, the new perspective one has when upside down can help one see life a bit differently.

Cleansing – part 2

Last week I wrote about beginning a cleanse for the first time. The cleanse I chose was a traditional one and I did six days of preparation, six days of active cleansing, and am now in day four of the reintroduction phase.

Over the course of the first 12 days I eliminated the following from my diet:

meat
dairy
wheat
processed sugars
alcohol
caffeine

All of the above were part of my EVERY DAY menu for a very long time. I never thought they would ALL leave my diet, and certainly not all at once. However. Now that they have the hard part is before me. The reintroduction phase of the cleanse is my opportunity to slowly add in other foods again, and now I must make some decisions about what foods I want to include.

I did not do this cleanse because I was having adverse affects from eating any of the foods on the elimination list. I chose to do it because it’s spring time, I am in yoga training mode, and I am open to new ideas. The idea of detoxing substances from my body seems like a smart idea.

You are probably wondering what foods I have introduced back in. Well, a cupcake is one. Here’s the story: we had a birthday gathering on the second day of reintroduction so I tried a new recipe. Instead of a birthday cake I made whole wheat carrot and maple cupcakes with coconut cream cheese maple icing. So. . .for that day I added in a tiny bit of wheat and a very tiny bit of cheese. I have also added back in salads and other vegetables, like broccoli (one of my favorites) and zucchini. Here was my diet on day two of reintroduction:

1 c decaf
Smoothie (strawberry, banana, pineapple, spinach & coconut milk)
1 1/2 c kitchari w/1 oz cashews
1 1/2 c tossed salad w/1/2 cup cole slaw
1 cupcake (see above)
and LOTS of water.

Some observations I’ve made throughout this process include the idea that simplifying one’s diet can simplify one’s life. Driving home one day near the end of the active cleanse phase, I came to the realization that I like the monodiet, but not for the reasons one might think. After getting home from another hectic day of work I was looking forward to not having to worry about what was for dinner (though my dear husband may be feeling just the opposite). Right now I’ve been taking care of myself – trying a cleanse for the first time – focused on detox and better overall health for the future and have left him to figure out his own meal plans. I offered him kitchari but he didn’t bite (:) pun intended). My first thought was poor Dave but I dismissed that because there is nothing ‘poor’ about him having to prepare his own meal in the evening. Really.

Anyway, I like the idea of a simple diet that doesn’t require a lot of brain power – I have spent the day using brain power and once I leave work it is nice to not have that one more thing to think about. Many days previously, I could subsist mostly on meat and wheat and processed wheat at that. I prepared my day’s worth of kitchari in the morning and so all I have to do is heat it up when I am ready for it and done. That’s made me realize that humanity has really complicated the food thing. While on the one hand it is wonderful to have many many choices at times, it may be at the expense of our general health in the long run. With so many options we may not take in enough of the essentials we need to maintain a good balanced level of health. Ironic, isn’t it, that with MORE food choices we are less healthy. And then there is the idea of so many processed foods, which I feel I may be done with after this cleansing experience. The first week of the cleanse, when I was eating no meat, no wheat, no sugars (no sugars especially) I realized that my diet had been composed of a lot of these things. As I move into the reintegration phase and life beyond I may convert to fish, instead of meat, and my sweet treats will probably consist of fresh fruit concoctions with honey or syrup. Dairy – I’m not sure on that. I may continue with the yogurt 2-3 times a week with my granola. I do love some cheeses – the Dubliner – brie – maybe I will opt for an occasional splurge of a fantastic cheese as a special treat. And then wine. Not sure on the wine. Definitely no caffeine. Here’s a truth – throughout this process I have not been craving anything and I have not snacked between meals.

Another important observation was realizing how tied to social events food is. During the preparation phase of the cleanse I went out to lunch with my mom. The place we were going, I was sure, offered a variety of salads or soups that would work. Surprise. Not so. The closest thing was a Caesar Salad, which also had croutons and Parmesan cheese. Honestly, it was my only options, so I picked out the croutons and ate the cheese anyway, because it was a good quality Parmesan. And it was the prep phase, not the week of the active cleanse. When I think about all the places I have enjoyed going out to eat, and socializing, with friends and family I am not sure there will be many food choices for me. At home last weekend I had a birthday gathering – remember the cupcakes? – and I had to be sure to include the things most people might enjoy as well as something that I would enjoy as well. The menu ended up being pulled pork sandwiches (none for me thanks, even though I had made homemade maple wheat rolls), tossed salad, cole slaw, and potato salad. Condiments included homemade pickles and applesauce. So, that worked out. What about invites to other people’s homes for dinners they prepare? Many things to think about.

What began as a relatively simple idea – a detox cleanse – has become an opportunity for me to rethink so many things in life. It’s a wonderful journey. . .

Did You Know?

The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.” uses every letter of the alphabet.

Our eyes are the same size from birth,but our nose and ears never stop growing.

The dot on an “I”(the loser case one) is called a tittle.

Camels have 3 eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.

Cat’s urine glows under a blacklight.

When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.

The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

A group of 12 or more cows is called a flink.

There you have it. A bit of trivia I rounded up for today. Go out and let the world know just how interesting you really are by sharing a little factoid.

belted grazers

Johnny Jump Ups and Climate Change

Today I noticed the violets were blooming in the garden. It seems early was my first thought, but then I recalled a picture I’d posted on facebook a year or two ago of the first blooming Viola cornuta. I was sure it was in March, so I checked.

 

 

Sure enough, they were blooming on March 14, 2010. I don’t recall the date of this event last year, but it got me wondering if this was a sign of climate change.

The threat of a changing climate has been looming for the past several years; for me since I first heard of Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” so I did some research to find out if early blooming Johnny Jump Ups were one of the indicators of climate change.

 

 

From the Environmental Protection Agency website (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/)   I learned that there are numerous indicators that I have recognized in my part of the world over the course of my life. Some include rising temperatures, increased precipitation, lake ice freezing later and melting earlier, decrease in snow cover, and an increase in the growing season of the lower 48 states by about two weeks during the 20th century. In addition there has been a change in plant hardiness zones across the country and in Vermont, which was considered about 75% zone 4 in 1990 is now only about 33% zone 4 and the rest zone 5.

As for those Johnny Jump Ups – the EPA states that, “Observations of lilacs and honeysuckles in the lower 48 states suggest that leaf growth is now occurring a few days earlier than it did in the early 1900s.” I don’t need to read reports from researchers to understand that something is happening. By being observant in my own neighborhood I know there is a change. If it takes research to convince other people then I will conduct my own and will call it the Johnny Jump Up as an Indicator of Climate Change study, JJUIGW. I’ll keep you posted on my findings.

In the meantime, does anyone know how Viola cornuta got the moniker, Johnny Jump Up?

Split Rock Artistry

This week I’m touting the talents of a gentleman I have known about, but just recently met.

My first experience with Joe Miller was through cards given to my husband and I.

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Joe Miller is the artist of this intriguing character.

What fun, I thought when I first saw it. How creative!

And then we received more. . .

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And I began to ask some questions. Joe is the father of my step-daughter’s boyfriend. Joe is the creator of the cards, and simply does it as a past-time – no business intentions. Just art for the sake of creativity.

I know firsthand the value of art for the sake of creativity. Or art for the sake of ones sanity. Or art for the sake of living a good quality life. So I get Joe Miller and his desire to create these lovely creature cards.

Over the years, they have continued to come ~ and I have come to expect them. A year without a Joe Miller card would be very disappointing.

Joe does not sign the cards, but rather marks them on the back in this fashion:

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I don’t know why he calls it Split Rock. . .but I love that hare peeking through the grass. Different cards have different backs, but they all do say Split Rock.

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Thank you for your creativity Joe – keep those creatures coming!