Thursday, March 10, 2011

Breaking Bad Habits; Give Yourself Something Nice.

     So this is birthday week for me. And what do I want to give myself for my birthday? What would be the ideal thing to make me happy and help me to ease into being older? Judging from the way I feel so far this week, a nice long nap seems to be in order. And maybe an entire pizza, a big, greasy one like they make at Vinny’s on Court St. But no! I refuse to give in to malaise! I need to do what is good for me, not what is convenient. I will not be defeated! This week I’m giving myself yoga. I’m vowing to do one class a day, all week long, whether I like it or not.
Yoga push up.  Photo from
     My usual routine: I try to make it to two yoga classes, two gym sessions and as much cardiovascular/outdoor type activities as I can swing. The yoga classes are intense, power vinyasa, working abs, back, thighs and shoulders. My shoulders are always sore from the massive number of yoga push ups we do per class. I tried to keep a push up count one class and lost it at 38. A yoga push up is done with your arms in by your sides, elbows straight back, instead of arms and elbows out to the side. It works your shoulders, upper back and triceps more than your pecs and chest. During the gym sessions, I warm up running on the treadmill, then lift weights for total body toning and finish with an abs and stretching series. For cardiovascular exercise, I just try to get outside on the weekends, usually for a long walk or hike on Saturday or Sunday.

     This plan doesn’t always happen. Usually one thing gets pushed back. For example, last week I went to the gym twice, yoga only once and went for a bike ride on Saturday.
This pose, from the standing balancing series is excellent bathroom at work exercise.  Photo from
     I also do yoga in the bathroom at work (I added this to the tips on It can be embarrassing if someone walks in, but it feels amazing when I’ve been sitting at my desk for hours staring into my computer screen. I usually pretend straighten up and pretend I wasn’t up to anything, but people must wonder why I’m winded from washing my hands. I don’t do any downward dog, nothing where my face might end up near the floor. I just do a few stretches in the standing balancing series. This doesn’t really make me more fit, just wakes me up a bit. I do one every time I go, so long as there’s no one else in the ladies room.

     I had a Bikram (hot yoga) teacher in Montana who would say, “You get seven days a week to change your body. Change your body, change your life.” So this is the gift from me to me. I’m going to do yoga all week long. I’m going to work on not fidgeting during class. Stop cataloguing and planning. I’m going to try to be present. Change your body, change your life. Happy Birthday to me.

Buddha Bowl
     On the subject of yoga, health and meditation, this is a good time to discuss the ever so easy Buddha Bowl. A Buddha Bowl is like a hot and cold Asian salad. You can pretty much create one out of whatever you have or whatever looks good at the market. You start with steamed brown rice in the bottom of a bowl. Add whatever sautéed veggies you desire. I used kale, mushrooms and water chestnuts. I seared some extra firm tofu in oil. Then I grated a little raw carrot and cabbage over it, added fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and cashews. Other additions include flax seed, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, etc. Any combination of vegetables and ingredients can be used.
     The flavor is in the veggies but also the marinade/dressing. I start with about two tablespoons rice wine vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in a tablespoon soy sauce, minced garlic, a teaspoon hot sauce (I like Sriracha), black pepper, a dash of sesame oil, maybe a squeeze of lime juice, maybe some fresh grated ginger. Pour over Buddha Bowl and voila! You’re finished. I also use a little of the marinade to season the vegetables while they sauté.

     So I'm forcing myself, dragging me kicking and screaming, to do what is good for me.  Even if I want to treat myself badly, think about what I haven't accomplished so far; even if I want to give in to my own criticism.  Instead I'm going to treat myself by not indulging.  Hopefully I feel good too.  That's the plan anyway.

     Are there ways you could treat yourself better, make yourself feel better, without indulging in bad habit?  I want to hear about your good habits.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - the Buddha Bowl looks and sounds delicious! I want to try it, and also to stick to my gym regimen this week!!! Thanks for another inspiring and mouth-watering post!