So Fresh and So Clean (Clean)*

Well, I've just completed a cleanse. The month of January was sort of lost to illness and oral surgery - during which time I took a lot of medicines - antibiotics, painkillers, and cold medicine - and, while the yoga gets a lot of that crap out, I wanted to go a step further.

I did the Master Cleanser years ago and decided that that's the stupidest thing ever (water, cayenne, syrup, lemon juice & a salt water flush), but I wanted to do something to help kick out the residual chemicals from all the drugs, so I did an Ayurvedic cleanse. I did the minimum of 7 days.

I had considered doing it for a longer period of time, but it did a lot for me in a pretty short time and I got sick of eating the same thing (seriously) for every meal. The plan consists of yoga every day while you cleanse and then nothing but water and herbal tea (no caffeine) to drink and a mung bean ginger concoction that's really tasty the first couple of days and then becomes boring. The last day I had to force myself to eat because it was so sick of it.

The first day was exciting because I was psyched to get this moving. I made the food - one big pot of mung beans, celery, carrots, and ginger - and drank a lot of tea. I was enthusiastic. By the end of the day, I felt the psychological effects of knowing I was doing something good for me and I went to bed totally satisfied.

The next couple of days went well. I felt myself getting cleaner. I was getting a bit tired of the mung beans, but I even withstood an evening out with burgers and fries and macaroni and cheese all around me without breaking a sweat because I was feeling so great.

Day four is when it started to get hard. That's when I hit the mung bean wall. Yes, I felt good, but no, I did not want to put another single mung bean into my mouth. So I drank extra tea and reduced my mung bean intake. This was also the day I started to break out. Little pimples on my forehead, cheeks, and chin.

I should mention that this isn't giant amounts of this mung bean stuff every day. I ate a half-cup in the morning, a cup at lunch, and another half-to-whole cup in the evening. I calculated the calories at the end just to see how it had shaken out and I was eating less than 900 calories per day. I never felt hungry or in any way deficient in calories. I never lacked energy and my yoga practice remained strong. 

The beginning of day five was kind of awful. I woke up dreading the beans. I didn't want to eat them. I didn't want to eat anything else, either, though.  I ate them, anyway.  It was a hard day.  I got crabby.  I got weepy.  I cried the ugly cry.

The last two days I leveled off.  My emotional state became less volatile.  I talked myself into finishing up because I knew it was doing me good.  Still, I was not excited to eat those damn beans.

Overall, I'm pleased with the result. I feel great and my body feels lighter. I wish I could say that it fixed my back, but that's an unreasonable request.  I think this is definitely something that I'll do a couple of times a year, though - with the hope that, knowing what I know, it will be easier the next time.

*The only part of the song that applies is the title.


R├╝ckenschmerz (that's backache in German for a touch of exoticness)

I have a jammed sacro-iliac joint. It's unpleasant. There's not a lot to do about it, apparently. Ice and elevation to help reduce the swelling, stretching and gentle yoga. I have allowed my chiropractor studio-owner to crack it a couple of times to relieve some major discomfort and try to move it back into place, but mostly, what I have to do is wait.

In the meantime, I have been instructed not to do any Baptiste or Ashtanga. I did one Baptiste class because I was pretty sure I could do it and I was wrong. Ow. So now I will confine myself to more Bikram-esque and Yin classes where I don't have to jump around or move between postures. In those classes I am confined to what I'll call baby yoga. I can't get deep into a lot of the postures and some I just have to think about. Standing head to knee? Yeah, right now that's stand-on-one-leg-and-hope-I-can-support-the-weight-of-my-lifted-leg-until-the-end-of-the-posture. Not as much fun as head to knee. And a lot longer to say.

One good thing about this joint being a bastard, though, is that it's made me appreciate the depth of my previous practice. I took it for granted that I could get into and hold all of the postures in a class. I can't get into a lot of poses right now and I also can't hold them all of I get there.

Oh well. Lessons in patience and pain management are always instructive. Enjoy your standing bows and rabbits for me.


Lovely Reminder

My nephew just turned 16. He has a blog. Actually, it's less blog and more online journal, but either way, it reminds me of what it was like for me to be 16. Man it sucked.

Of my sisters' kids, Dave is the one I know best. He's more like I was at that age than the other two were. And his blog is full of the angst and drama that I knew well when I was a teenager.

He writes a lot about not knowing who he is or where he's going. He talks about how no one understands what's really going on inside. If I didn't know better, I'd say he's stolen my high school journals. He writes letters to girls he like and girls he broke up with. Everything is heavily dramatic and important. Everything is deep. He changes his blog theme on an almost hourly basis to match his mood.

I used to wax philosophical about war and love and friendship. I bemoaned the lack of humanity in the world. I cried onto the pages as I wrote about the boy I would "love forever" even if we were only "just friends".

I had forgotten, though, how sincerely I felt all of it. How I was sure I was the only one and that what I felt would go on forever. So his blog is a lovely reminder of where I was and how far I've come. It also illustrates perfectly how youth is, in fact, wasted on the young.


Yoga Bags

Yoga seems to be everywhere these days and yet no one  makes a decent, all-purpose yoga bag.  It's maddening.  I'm considering actually making a bag to suit me.  This would be the greatest idea ever if only I knew how to design or sew anything.  Plus, materials are a real conundrum.  I think natural materials are best, but a sog-proof compartment is necessary for the icky-warm-wet post-class clothes/towel.  What's really required are two bags in one.  Actually no.  Three bags.  You need the bag with a toiletries compartment and shoe compartment/bag for your dry clothes/towel/post-class necessities; you need the bag with the waterproof/wipeable lining for the sweaty, smelly stuff, and you need the mat bag.

I don't like the strap-it-to-the-bottom method of mat carriage.  It's too wide for me and I don't like the idea of my mat, which I will lie exposed and half-naked upon, albeit on a towel, touching the ground if I put the bag down.  Ew.  Especially since, apparently, it's spitting season here in Vegas.  I've seen more people spit in the last few weeks than ever in my life.  Seriously?  If you have something in your mouth so vile you can't swallow it, don't leave it where I might step in it, please, 'kay?  Thanks.  That's what tissues are for.

Back to my bag, though.  Ideally, it would be a kind of longish bag, shaped kind of like this Sundara bag (click the pic for a link to the Etsy store):
But wider, with separate compartments with zippers and two straps so you could wear it like a backpack if you wanted to.

Maybe I'm the only person who has this problem, but I can't actually believe that.  As a regular practitioner of hot yoga, I need to be able to, occasionally, shower and be presentable immediately after class.  This means that sometimes I need to be able to carry makeup, a brush, possibly a hair dryer, shoes, clothes, and shampoo.  And I like to be able to leave things in my bag - extra top and shorts, headbands, rubberbands, barrettes, lotion, tampons.  It isn't hard.

I don't care if the bag gets heavy when it's loaded, but I'd like to have the space to load it and carry everything I need simultaneously in one bag.  So if anyone out there is a bag designer, get on this, please.  If there are bags that will hold 14 tennis rackets, I know this is possible.


10 Movies.

I don't like this new system of ten Best Picture nominees.  Sure, maybe something that might have otherwise been overlooked gets nominated, but then maybe the nomination process needs to change, not the number of nominations.

This year we have:  Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter's Bone.  As far as I'm concerned, Inception, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, and True Grit don't belong there.  Not that they weren't good movies.  I thoroughly enjoyed most of them (see previous post for the exception).  Still, the only reason they're nominated is because now they have to come up with ten movies.

Let's face it, there are plenty of years that there aren't five great movies made, let alone ten.  The idea that a movie is one of the best of the year loses meaning when the year is filled with movies like The Tooth Fairy and Life As We Know It.

No way should Avatar have been nominated for Best Picture last year.  Or Up, for that matter.  I loved Up, but as the best movie of the year?  NO.  Also, District 9, A Serious Man, The Blind Side, and Inglorious Basterds did not belong there.  And yes, I realize this leaves only four nominees, but that's my point.

There are plenty of outstanding performances in some not great movies, so its pretty easy to come up with at least five leading/supporting performances every year.  But I'm not kidding when I say that I don't think that there are always five great movies in a year.  So nominate based on quality not because you have spots to fill.  Maybe it comes down to two movies.  I realize that odds-wise it's much less exciting, but come on.  If all of the art museums in the world burned down simultaneously tomorrow, would we start to rebuild with Dogs Playing Poker and Velvet Elvis, or would we have fewer museums?    I'm hoping we'd have fewer museums.

Great isn't a comparison.  Great is great.

*The rest of the nominees were:  Precious, Hurt Locker, An Education, and Up in the Air


Not All Right

As the Academy Awards are only weeks away, I'm going to be ranting a bit about nominations. This is only the beginning. Sorry.

I'm gonna say it. The Kids are All Right is not all right. It's also not a comedy (WTF HFP?) or particularly progressive. Maybe for main stream cinema it's slightly unusual because there are lesbians invovled, but it's thematically workaday and unimaginative.

The relationship dynamic has been overplayed for years: control-freak overachiever married to a free-spirited hippy-esque pothead. Not that Annette Benning didn't give a good performance as the control freak. Julianne Moore was also good. Sadly her character was as unevenly written as the rest of the movie.

The kids (character-wise) aren't particularly engaging and Mark Ruffalo's character is unappealing, which makes his allure to a lesbian confusing.

Overall, it's fine, but the only reason it's been nominated for anything is because it's based on a lesbian relationship and that irritates me. A lot.

This is no tour de force. Actually, it borders on boring. Everyone is so average and normal that, in the end, I wondered why the story was even worth telling. If you haven't seen it, here's a summary: all relationships have ups and downs, but if everyone tries hard things will be okay. The End.

If this movie wins any more awards, I'll be really pissed.