Dam Ice

The ice dam cometh
Entice man, damn! Melt for pay
When doth winter end?

Winter Wonder

Eyelash icicles
Lunatics on bicycles
Winter wonderland

Dem Bones

I picked up the book “Building Bone Vitality” at the library. A few pages in I thought “Did I wander into the self-hell section by mistake?” This book is quite preachy and dogmatic – not my style. The theory, however is sound, based on oriental medicine’s emphasis on maintaining a healthy PH balance. Plenty of research and data support their claim, which is basically, for bone health, eat your vegetables. Consuming excess amounts of protein, among other things, leads to an overly acidic environment in the body. This adversely affects cellular function, and causes bone tissue to lose calcium. There are foods that dramatically bump up the alkalinity (dried apricots and grapefruit are at the top of the list – who knew?) Of course I’m on board with eating well, but guess what else is a culprit in raising the acidity of our internal environment my friends? Stress. A stress reaction floods the system with adrenaline, and the result is a highly acidic state. We can handle this in short term bursts but when the stress becomes chronic, as it so often does in our modern world, it becomes more and more difficult to get ourselves back into balance. Whatever the stressor, the mind alerts the body that danger is present. The adrenal glands respond by releasing hormones that stimulate the nervous system.

This increases:

Blood Pressure
Heart Rate
Muscle Tension
Mental Alertness

And shuts down:

Repair and Recuperation

What to do? Increase the amount of time that you are feeling calm. This will strengthen your potential for returning to calm following a stress reaction.
How to do it?
Try this:
Calming Breath – Lengthening the Exhalation
Long full exhalations tell the body that all is well. Take a few minutes to get comfortable either seated or lying down. Bring your attention to your exhalation, following the exhalation all the way into the slight pause at the end of the breath. Gently begin to lengthen your exhalations, by counting to two on your inhalations, and three on your exhalations.
Continue to follow your exhalations into the quiet pauses, where the next inhalation will arise. The idea is to lengthen your exhalations without any strain. If at any time you feel short of breath, you are probably trying too hard.
Continue until you find a comfortable rhythm where you feel relaxed and calm. Then let go of any control of your breathing, and simply watch the breathing pattern that emerges as a result of this practice.
By consciously lengthening the exhalation we can trick ourselves into relaxing even in the most stressful situations.
Calming Breath Excerpted from Donna Farhi’s “The Breathing Book”

Zero below

The high is below
A wintry wind is blowing
That’s zero, you know

5 Ingredient Fix

The “5 Ingredient Fix” show on Food Network features recipes that have, you guessed it, 5 ingredients. (Salt and pepper are freebies) Claire Robinson is the clever girl who came up with this formula. Upon moving to New York City from Texas, (and in a state of disbelief at the amount of schlepping one does – been there, done that!) she formulated these recipes so her grocery bags would be lighter. The components for an effective approach to yoga practice add up to exactly five ingredients as well:


In a Soma Yoga class we begin lying down on our backs. The spine, and in turn, all the joints in the body respond to the support from ground by decompressing (Relax). Muscular tension decreases while the whole physical structure is brought into neutral. We anchor the mind in this experience of a still body. Next are movements done on the back, addressing the hips, spine and shoulders, including spinal twists – the ultimate body tonic. (Release) We continue with gently flexing, extending and side bending the spine (lengthen) and gradually find our way up for standing poses. (Strength and Stability). Movement sequences take us down to the floor for poses to strengthen the back, and the transitions condition the whole body. Breath is not treated as a separate practice, but is integrated from the very first moment. Finally, Savasana (relaxation pose – this is no time to skimp) is when we receive the benefits of our active practice. And then? Make these Blueberry Strudels – fabulous!