The Accidental Yogi

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Toward the end of my marathon training I knew I needed to revisit yoga. I was pushing it by training for a marathon so soon after my health scare but I was stubborn  determined.  Around week 12 of the plan I started planning my apology to my body: I would commit to a yoga practice.

I hate to admit it but I started with a mindset not far off from those who see yoga as ‘a bunch of stretching’. I paid my respect when hot yoga became en vogue but as far as  traditional yoga practices were concerned… in the past, I’ve passed. Who’s got time for that?

The only thing that saved me is that my spiritual mindset is that of a yogi. I am clear on the connection between the mind, body and spirit. Somewhere deep inside I knew that a deeper connection awaited me on the other side of the finish line.

Sure enough… yoga is changing me.  For one, I can touch my toes without bending my knees.<—– major for me. 🙂  I am also stronger. Not the benching my body weight kinda of strong that I’m used to but a deeper more meaningful strength. I feel more connected to my body and more spiritually present.  Both in and out of class. Image

Are you interested in yoga but wondering how it might benefit you? Check out my instructure Hope’s page. She’s just finished a series: “40 Ways Yoga Heals”. Like her page and check it out!

One more fringe benefit of Yoga:

It does make you bendy. *giggles*

No worries… I’m keeping it PG…but I’m just sayin’. 🙂

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Breathe

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Proper breathing is an essential part of exercising. Knowing and executing proper technique can have a significant impact on performance.

The deep breathing you do during exercise also helps speed up detoxification in the body. You take in more oxygen, which helps all the cells to perform their jobs, including removing toxins. At the same time you exhale carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of the various functions performed by the body.

Check out this video that demonstrates basic breathing techniques during exercise, and take the time to breathe.

How you like them apples?

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I find fruit from late Fall to early Spring to be pretty dull and boring. By February, I find myself longing to go berry-picking; the thought of a fresh mango makes me swoon.  I use frozen fruit in my smoothies, and other recipes, since my fresh fruit selection is very limited.

This year I tried to apply my ‘New 40’ attitude to my limited fresh options by trying to fall in love with apples. I know it seems a little late to be discussing apples but I decided to develop a personal relationship with the fruit before I shared it with y’all.

Why apples? Here are a few of my reasons:

Apples are as American as fruit can get. In a world full of GMO concerns and produce shipped in from other countries like Peru, it’s time to embrace this natural part of our culture.

Apples are often pushed aside by more glamorous fruits, like pomegranate. They are like the tried and true friend who gets put on the back burner when the head cheerleader comes calling.  However, they are considered a superfood for good reason.

This time of year I find myself wanting to do a little spring cleaning of the ‘pipes’,  because apples are high in pectin, (a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol and heavy metals in the body), they help eliminate toxic build up and to cleanse the intestines. They are known to keep things moving… an apple a day keeps constipation away!

And there are so many varieties of apples. The options are limitless!

SpectrumofApplesHere is a chart of some common apples and their best uses.

My mother loved apples. She ate them year round.  She’s been gone five years now, but lately memories of her have been stronger than ever.

When I was a child, she made us a very unique breakfast using Granny Smith apples. She would core them, slice them into rings, sprinkle them with cinnamon, then put a piece of cheddar cheese on top.

Then she would bake them for a bit, letting the apples get just a little soft. Sounds weird, but it really works. When apples cook they get sweeter, and the cinnamon adds a little kick.

The cheese…well the cheese seals just about any deal. 😉

My husband’s cousins in Virginia have a really cool tradition involving apples: an AppleButterannual festival. They get together and cook apple butter for days in a huge cast iron pot.

The kids take turns stirring and get to play all sorts of apple focused games and activities. We’ve gone once, and it was loads of fun. Many of their friends and neighbors camped out for the weekend. Good times.

We haven’t been able to make it back, but they send us apple butter every year. We hang on to it until Spring; eating it in the midst of all the other holiday treats doesn’t  give it the top billing it deserves.

Do you have a family tradition or a favorite recipe involving apples?
Do share!