Monthly Archives: May 2009

Twinges and Hinges

Never stop learning.

Always keep moving.

I woke up really early this morning and was three minutes late for the yoga class that I had woken up early to take.  Now, the teacher wouldn’t have cared if I was three minutes late, but I did, so I decided to go to the Y, burn some calories so I can eat extra, ha ha. 

I often get bored in exercise so I’m always searching out new ways to feel and look good.  When I joined the Y in Santa Monica, I was amazed at how many wonderful classes and teachers they have available, besides a great gym, weight room and delicious pool. 

I feel that as vigorous as my workouts tend to be, it is always a good thing to balance it out with yoga and swimming. 

Something about gliding weightless in a pool, but feeling my muscles working as I pace back and forth meditatively within the water. 

I have an elderly client that is finding it more and more difficult to work out in the manner we used to.  She has a gorgeous pool so I decided to start doing water aerobics with her.  I’ve taught aerobics before, but never in a pool. 

After my work out, I decided to take the Older Adults Twinges and Hinges Class, a class geared for those with arthritis and limited mobility for various reasons.

I would like to say that their were a bunch of blue haired ladies in the pool but they all had swim caps on, so I wouldn’t know.

I was a minority though.  I came into the 3-foot deep pool and was stared at by the myriad of men and women old enough to be my mom and grandpa.

Their strange stares turned into big smiles when the teacher asked me if I had the right place.  A few giggles erupted and a splash or two.

I told them I was there to ‘check it out’.  The instructor asked if I had any injuries.  I said no and she told me that the class might be too easy.  I gave in and told her I was there to learn some new tricks to share with one of my favorite clients. 

The teacher was so happy that she introduced me to the others and asked me to interject ideas if I had any.  I told the teacher, Donna, a pleasant and in her prime lady that I was there to learn from her and that anything she had, I’d take in with glee. 

Donna is the co-teacher of this class.  Florence is the teacher.  She’s been teaching the Twinges class for 20 years.  She’s in her 80’s.  She recently slipped on the treadmill and dislocated her shoulder.  She showed up late, little, donning a shower cap and a smile so bright, they could have turned off all the lights and we could have seen every move we made.  Robert is the class clown, in his 60’s.  He likes to splash the others and crack jokes.  He puts on classical music and everyone takes his or her place lining the outside perimeter of the small pool. 


Many of the others barely speak English.  The pool is literally a melting pot of American, Mexican, Russian and Chinese.  The moves are slow, like Tai Chi. Florence’s voice is low but she beams at everyone and her movements are clear enough to follow by showing us. 

We use some funky aquatic equipment.  Some of the others come up to me to tell me that there are other classes that are more vigorous, but I don’t mind.  I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to.  But I made mental notes of the other teachers, because I’m there to learn. 

Lifeguards come by and say hi to the others.  People walk by outside the pool and knock on the window saying hello to the old timers. 

Some folks have to leave early because an hour is too long.  Some folks chat too much and move too little.  No one is scolded; we’re all here to be together.  There’s no competition, just laughter, movement and fun.

I swear this is one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. 

I probably didn’t burn too many calories, but I made up for the calories in friendships. 

Florence and Donna led a class that might not be for every fitness level – too slow for some and too intense for others, but I was just fine to be there and observe. 

And when the little old ladies and old men said goodbye to me with a smile, they all told me they hoped I’d be back.  I told them I would and I mean that.

I love fitness, yoga and people.  If I could have the strength and attitude these folks do at their age, I will be one happy person.  It says a lot that they are out there to move and feel good.

Many of my clients are fit, in there 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  Some have overcome injury, pregnancy and weight gain. 

The important thing is to keep moving.  There is literally no body that can’t move in some way, by their own accord or by the help of a skilled professional.

If you are not moving, you may as well be dead.

One of my favorite clients is in her mid 70’s and is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.  She is one of my most inspiring clients.  She is strong, sharp and focused.  She get’s lost and can’t ‘DO’ a lot but we do a lot together.

Her mantra is, ‘just keep moving’. 

I’ve seen her decline, but her fervor and dedication has never waivered. 

Why should mine?

She challenges me to learn more not just for her sake, but for mine and the clients and students I continue to work with as we age together.

If we keep moving, keep learning, we will stay young at heart, ward off sickness, disease and injury and be happy and well.  Really, that’s all that matters. 

And you are never too old to start exercising. 


Going raw!

So, I finished the 14 day cleanse, 4 days of the Ayurvedic dish kitchadi to 'come off' toxins and 10 days on the Master Cleanse (lemon, cayenne pepper and maple syrup).  


I've done this fast before sans the kitchadi.  I will never do just the master cleanse again.  It is so much better of a transition to slowly detox yourself rather than jumping into no eating whatsoever. 


Unlike the last two times I did 'just' the master cleanse, I went right back into my old eating habits.  These were not bad habits to begin with.  I ate organic greens, meats and fruits, had my daily cup or two of Java, dairy - organic skim milk and cheese and egg whites.  Nothin' really bad, right?  I had no real intention of 'dropping' my old diet this time around, but as soon as I came off the cleanse, excited to eat again, I went straight to the greens and avoided meats and dairy.  


I don't know how long this will last but I am going to try going raw.  


I've never been a big fan of labeling myself.  I go with what I'm feeling.  This cleanse wasn't planned in my calendar, I just knew it was time.  


This time around, I felt the way one does after a peaceful and relaxing vacation.  You promise yourself you will keep the same peace you had on the tropical island of choice when returning to the rat race of life.  It usually lasts a few days, a few weeks and then it's back to the same old. 


I'm hoping that's not going to happen this time, but if it does, it does. 


I consulted the wise people at the Earth Bar in Santa Monica.  They have one in We Ho as well. 


They told me the least expensive way for a girl on the go to get the proper nutrients during the day, while staying hydrated, energized and satiated while on a budget.  Basically, I spent about $100 to get all the fixens for daily smoothies, vitamins and minerals.  Weekly, I'm just paying for fresh fruits and veggies.  I spent about $60 for a weeks worth.  That's about $400 to eat during the month.  Not bad for a single girl.  I'll have to do a little more sleuthing for coupons and deals to bring that down a notch.  But for someone who is on the move as much as I am, I need quick things I can prepare at the beginning of the week, salads, soups, smoothies, and keep raw food bars, veggies and fruit for snacks to get me through the day. 


I'm on day four.  No caffeine although I still have coffee in my apartment.  I don't need it.  

I got used to my peppermint tea in the morning.  I never in a million years would have thought I'd be a tea girl but then again, I never thought yoga would be my life either.  Certainly not teaching and now here I am, years later and it is my life. 


Sometimes we are shown the directions even when we don't think we're lost. 


I have felt happier, clearer and more grounded as I move through my days then I have in a very long time.  I owe that to the wonderful people I consulted before cleansing, Arun at Liberation Yoga, Mas at Dancing Shiva, Melodie at Earth Bar in Santa Monica and Stanley Burroughs who created a very dated cleanse that seems to work just fine for me in this day and age. 


Over the last couple of weeks I've produced less garbage, less negative energy, had less to clean using less water, and had more time (nothing to prepare and couldn't think of food 'cause I wasn't eating!)  

The only thing I did consume a lot of was toilet paper.  Nuff said.  

Time was provided for me to reflect and contemplate.  I didn't force myself to exercise.  I took the time to take the time.  I never slow down and the cleanse gave me permission to do so. 


I feel a little sad, like I'm gonna miss it.  Like one does when they come back from vacay.  I don't wanna leave!! 


My mission is to keep the same clarity, peace, balance and permission to work hard but relax just as hard.  An oxymoron.  


I can't change who I am, but I can try to modify my lifestyle.  Change isn't a decision really.  It happens over time and more importantly, if something turns on within to make you change.  

That happened to me.  This time around. 


I'm my own guinea pig when it comes to trying anything health oriented.  I've made a ton of mistakes but learned a lot in order to advise my students and clients the best ways to live and practice healthy living.  It only comes from experience and my experience won't be the same for all.  I love to say, hey look at this, try this.  But it's ultimately up to you to make your own mistakes and try, try, try.  As long as we are trying to be better, healthier people, we will succeed and find the path that is right for us.  I hope I can help you on your path.  I'm still discovering mine and happy for all that comes across it.  


The positive energy I've retained while on this inner vacation has been so valuable to me and so informative for my teaching.  I had a client tonight who rolled his eyes at me when I told him I was going to try raw.  


I'm an extreme person.  That's just me.   But I'm not going to jump into raw like one would into the master cleanse.  It's too much.  

I can try raw and have a sugary, buttery cookie now and then, a glass of wine, maybe a burger. Right now, now that I'm 'off' the cleanse, I don't want it.  It doesn't serve me.  If I can live without it and only put pure, delicious, clean food into my body, I can't imagine it being any better.  When the devil on my shoulder tempts me, I might give in and I might not.  The 'practice' is to be gentle with yourself when you are challenged internally and externally. 


So eye roll away.  I've had more people ask me how to cleanse/fast over the last two weeks then ever.  Try it, I say and you'll know very soon if it's not for you.  People try fasting several times at hours or days at a time and it doesn't work.  Then something clicks and they are ready for it.  


It's all trial and error.  I remember the first time I did a green juice fast.  I lasted all day until about 8PM when all I wanted was a saltine cracker.  I ate the damn cracker and didn't come back to the idea of fasting for another year. 


I laughed and designed a Stand-up comedy routine around the ridiculous experiences I've had on the Master Cleanse.  This time, it actually affected me in a way that I can't deny. 


I tried yoga several times for several years before I was caught on the hook line of the lifestyle. 


I tried the Master Cleanse three times before it finally showed me a new way of looking at food, nutrition and sustaining a happy and balanced life. 


I'm a girl who is always in movement.  With movement so much gets stirred up.  It's imperative to stop and be still to let things settle into a place where you can see clearly.  Easier said then done. 

It's like a snow globe.  I'm all shook up and all I see is snow and a glimmer of the beautiful landscape beneath. 


Now that the snow has settled, it's melted into a clear and complete picture of who I want to be. 


Diet is a part of that.  What we put inside our bodies effects what everyone sees and feels on the outside of our being.  To connect so deeply to ourselves allows us the openness we need to connect deeply with others and that is yoga. 


If you catch me eating a buttery cookie, I haven't gone down the dark and dirty path; I'm only practicing moderation. 


That's my lesson.  It always has been.  I think I finally get it. 


If you can learn anything from my lessons than I've done my job. That'll be a hundred dollars please. 


Just kidding. 


I'm consistently reminded of the experiment of fleas under a glass jar.  A bunch trapped beneath they bounce to the top trying to break free.  Once the jar is removed, most of them only bounce as high as the jar that was once there. Only a few jump higher and move free of the space that kept them confined.  


Our glass jars aren't always visible.  Push the edge to see what's out there.  Take the experiment and the risk to try new.  Maybe all you will find is that where you were to begin with was where you want to be.  Maybe it will take you somewhere you never imagined. 


Who knew? 


Who knows? 


Just try. 


Until then, be well, drink lots of water and call your mother. 


So hum,


Oops, I did it again (cleansing and fasts)

People will always argue with me on the benefits of fasting and detoxing.  


I believe in believing in your body.  Your body naturally detoxifies itself; otherwise you'd be dead. 


However, depending on what things are going on in your life, you may be reaching for toxic things to imbibe or creating habits that are not healthy for you to continue to follow.  


Stress, emotions, they play a part in our decisions to 'have another' or 'just this once'.  Those decisions add up and can deter you from making positive choices the next time and the next time. 


I believe the cleaner the things you take into your body, the clearer you will be in your life. 


I believe the cleaner you are in the body, the more natural it is for good things to come towards you and into your life. 


Case in point.  I said last year that you would have to pay me big bucks to go through the master cleanse again.  It's extreme.  That said, I think my resisting it was the reason I roped myself back into it again.  Sometimes those things you resist are exactly the things you should be doing. 


The Master Cleanse is the lemonade, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup detox.  That's all you take in for 10 days or more to rid the body of toxins and dis-ease and dis-comfort. 


It got a bad rap when celebs were using it to lose weight.  That's not the purpose of the cleanse although it can be a benefit if you need to reduce.  Chances are, when you return to eating, you will gain most of it back if you go back to your old habits.  If you do the cleanse correctly, return to a new, cleaner way of living, you might gain a couple pounds back but probably retain your new improved weightless. 

I'm speaking from experience, a formerly overweight person who continues to struggle with weight balance.  So there. 

If you return to a diet filled with processed foods and junk, then, yes, you will gain it all back. 


I've done the Master Cleanse now for three years.  I guess it's my thing now.  


I remember how hard it was the last two times.  This isn't an exception but it wasn't nearly as traumatic the first two times around. 

I started each cleanse during the transition from fall to winter and winter to spring.  

I noticed I adopted some over indulging habits or cravings I wanted to dispel so the master cleanse was a good cure for me. 


It really resets your metabolism and allows me the opportunity to slow down, take some days off from intense exercise, draw my energy inwards, reflect and contemplate. 


Every time I do it, it is difficult but always worth it. It's tough, but when I get to the end, I miss it a little.  It's like being on vacation (without the colorful cocktails).  You start getting nervous about being thrown back into the craziness of the real world. You aren't ready to get back to a faster pace. 


This time around, I really didn't think I would do 'The Master Cleanse'.  I decided on a more gentle cleanse of Kitchadi, which is a basic staple in the Indian culture diet.  It's rice, beans and spices.  It’s very savory and delicious and easy to digest.  I thought this, coupled with herbs and tea, might be just the mild cleanse I need to reset and restart my system. 


I did this for 4 days and began to feel great.  I detoxed from caffeine, animal products and other unmentionables.  The lethargy was gone. But, I still felt like I needed something more.  I then switched to the Master Cleanse.  Had I thought of this before, I would have done it the last few years.  I highly recommend fasting the way I did this time around.  The ten days, although difficult, were nowhere near as extreme because I was eating for the first few days of real withdrawal of habits and toxins.  Once I was through that, the 10 days of lemonade was easy. 


The hardest part was just the idea of food, missing it and getting tired early in the day.  The cleanse is permission to say no, let go and slow down. 


That's a tough one for me. 


The first couple of days with the lemonade, I had the achy joints and muscles, the sign that toxins are leaving the deeper layers of the body. 


I had that weird sense of euphoria, peacefulness and clarity.  This can also be called starvation. 


I felt giddy, happy and almost drunk like, then crash hard like I just had three red bull and want to tear my hair out. I would go to bed early and wake up without an alarm clock.  


I woke up one morning and actually said out loud to myself, there you are.  I've missed you.  I felt like I had returned to myself.  And this was only on day 7 of the total cleanse. 


There weren't extreme headaches this time around or shaking.  I transitioned from the mono diet of kitchadi to the master cleanse and that made the whole process seamless. 


Now I'm on day 12.  4 days kitchari, 8 days Master Cleanse.  

My body is saying, it's time.  I'm kind of over this now.  You are a busy girl and I need a little more energy to get things done. 


It's difficult to do this without taking some time off.  I'm on the road a lot, teaching a lot and very social and active.  I do need a little bit more than just lemonade to get me through. 


It's nice to get to the finish line, but even better to listen to what your body is telling you. 


Sometimes it knows more than your mind.  


I'm going to see how I feel today and if I'm getting the same messages, transition slowly back into real life.


Every time I do this, I get bombarded by people asking me about cleansing and fasting. Ask anyone who fasts and you will get a myriad of opinions.  Sit with the idea of any or all of them and go with your guy, literally. 


Best idea is to go with a mono diet, simple greens, kitchari, juices (green or fruit).  Go for 1-3 days.  Do a fast where you eliminate caffeine first, processed foods next, animal products then dairy.  Your body will know what to do.  If you are overweight or suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol, chat with your doc first before starting any kind of fast or cleanse.  There are also 'pre-packaged' detoxes available at your local health food store.  I don't have much experience with them, but put the word out to those you know.  Ask around to people who have fasted, do your research, take into account your schedule and work load and decide in advance how much time you would like to commit to the fast and commit. 


2  more days and I'll keep you posted. 

Hungry but happy,