Today, I managed to fairly easily put myself into Dwi Pada Sirsasana, lower onto my front and bind my hands behind my back. When I say “fairly easily”, you have to understand that if I didn’t have a feeling that I was going to be able to do it, I wouldn’t have even bothered to try. I just felt really loose and open in my hips today.
I am sure that this can be attributed to a nearly perfect (for me) diet in the past two days. After a weekend that included turkey on rye and tuna nicoise, neither of which is in any way “bad” from a western dietary perspective, I felt angry, exhausted and full. It just so happened that on Monday morning, I came upon an article in, of all places, that bastion of Anus-ara and all things Iyengar, that discussed the healing properties of the spices found in Indian food.
It was an “aha” moment. For a while now, I have been silently questioning why Ashtangis seem to flock to all things Indian, and in particular, to Indian food. From what I have seen, most of the Indian food available in restaurants is greasy and chock full of animal protein. And at the moment, I am the dead last person who would do anything just to emulate a particular culture.
The YJ article made a compelling case for Indian food as a source of feeling well. I decided that Indian food might be the answer to my flesh-eating, vata-imbalanced prayers. When it stopped snowing, I made my way to the local produce shop and bought the esteemed Indian spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and fresh ginger. I also stocked up on a variety of vegetables that I thought I might like to eat and that I thought might be good in combination with Indian spices: plum tomatoes (red) butternut squash and carrots (orange), broccoli, fresh cilantro and skinny green beans (green), onions and cauliflower (white). I also stocked up on canned chick peas (garbanzo beans) because they taste so much better to me than the dried version, as well as dried apricots, peaches and mangoes because I thought they would make nice feel-good snacks for my toxed out body.
Once home, I followed the directions in YJ to mix up the spices. Then I sauteed onions and fresh ginger in extra virgin olive oil. Then I threw in diced tomatoes. After about a minute, I threw in my spice mix and let it get aromatic (about another minute) before tossing in cubed butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower and green beans. Oh yeah, I also threw in some dried porcini mushrooms for texture. I had those in the pantry. I decided not to fixate on how long each would take to cook and instead decided to allow all of it to stew together with some vegetable stock that I had on hand. I let it cook down for about 20 minutes, and can I just say, YUM?!
I had some for lunch with some jasmine rice. Dinner was peanut butter and bananas on flatbread enriched with flaxseed. I had some yogurt before going to bed and woke up refreshingly empty. I had some Snapple (sorry, I just can’t give that stuff up; don’t wanna) and a Balance Bar, took a bath and did my practice.
As I said, my stiff hips and bloated belly were gone, and I give all the credit to hot, spicy, freshly cooked sattvic food (I know, onions and mushrooms not so saatvic, but I have heard good things about both in small quantities, vis a vis healing properties), as well as having put an end to the ridiculous over-training that WoPoMoFo was inspiring in me (I took Saturday and Sunday off from practice, except for some vinyasa-less stretching on Saturday).
Added bonus: Brian, my pickier eater, smelled what I was cooking tonight (essentially the same spice mix, this time with chick peas in place of the cauliflower and no mushrooms or fresh ginger (I had to resort to powdered because I ran out of fresh) and asked for some for dinner. Of course, he had it ladled over his chicken nuggets. But we all have to start somewhere, right?
I don’t expect to be getting into Dwi Pada again very soon, no matter how nicely my diet shapes up to satisfy my ayurvedic needs, especially since I plan to be at the shala again tomorrow, weather and sick-child permitting, and I can only Dwi Pada when I am leaning back against a wall, and that just seems unseemly in a shala setting (although at the CT Shala, almost anything goes, it seems, although not for me, which is a whole nother story for another day).
And on other topics: Mary J. Blige used steroids? I don’t get it. What did she use them for? What did they even DO for her?