My yoga practice has changed a lot over the years from a very intense yang style to a more gentle, exploratory style. As a yoga teacher dealing with chronic illness, I’ve often told myself and my students to back off, find what feels good and not worry about intensity. The book I’m currently reading, Live Pain Free by Lee Albert really affirmed my belief that once a stretch stops feeling good, it stops being beneficial. Lee is a Neuromuscular Therapist and yoga teacher based in Massachusetts who teaches Integrated Positional Therapy (IPT) to help people relieve their chronic pain.
After a car crash Lee cured his own chronic pain through solving muscle imbalances. Muscles that have learned to be “locked long” in a long and weak position while their opposing muscles are “locked short” in a contracted and strong position are what puts our bodies out of alignment and cause chronic pain.
Here’s an exercise from the book to release neck and upper back tension:
Use your left hand on your right shoulder to find a tender spot and press on it. Now rest your right forearm on top of your head in a position that make the tender spot feel better. Hold this position for 2 minutes to allow the muscles to reset then switch to the other side.
Art + Culture
After more than a year of not traveling internationally, my partner and I are just finishing a three-week trip back to the U.S. where we spent time with friends and family in Ohio then headed for sunny California. The Broad Museum in Los Angeles is the first museum I’ve visited in-person in a very long time. It did not disappoint.
Featuring the contemporary collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad who collected works from the 1950s to present day, I was tickled seeing Barbara Kruger’s superimposed black and white words, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s crowns and scrawled figures, Julie Mehretu’s larger than life cityscapes and Cindy Sherman’s self portraits alongside Jeff Koon’s balloon animals and Andy Warhol’s silk screens.
If I could go back and live my life again I would have studied art history in college. I told this to my friend Michael, a long-time L.A. resident who I went to school with as I rattled off facts about the works we encountered. His response really stuck with me:
You know how to be a life-long learner, there’s no reason to lament the past. You can learn about anything you want.
I love art and the history of it more than any other subject but I chose to study something practical. Previously I was a high school art teacher in Chicago and got to extol my knowledge and excitement on my students, but now my writing work sometimes feels far away from my artistic passions. Being given that simple permission to re-explore a topic just for the fun of it was just what I needed.
Who are your favorite contemporary artists I should check out? What are your favorite museums?
Eating a no-oil whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet plus fish is arguably the healthiest diet out there. Whether you follow a specific diet, are vegan-curious, or just want to eat less prepackaged food (and fewer of the preservatives, additives, sugars and oils found in them) my recipes are an easy and inexpensive way to eat healthy.
As I’ve transitioned to eating for health to help combat my own autoimmunity, I’ve found that I’m not sacrificing taste or enjoyment in eating real food. If you try this recipe, please let me know! Was is clear? Did you make any additions or substitutions? Did you enjoy it? Post a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
While you can go through the process of making your own pasta, (I have and it’s a fun, if tedious process) I now buy whole wheat or veggie pasta from the supermarket. You can also serve this sauce over lentils or spiralized vegetables.
2 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bell pepper
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 anchovy (optional, if you eat fish)
1 can crushed tomatoes
A few dashes of red wine (optional)
1 TBSP Oregano or marjoram
1 TBSP Basil or a handful of chopped fresh leaves
Black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
Sauté the onions and garlic in a few tablespoons of water and the balsamic until translucent, adding water as needed. Add pepper and when soft add tomato paste, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Add the anchovy if using, tin of tomatoes, and red wine. Season with black pepper and simmer on very low heat, stirring occasionally for ~20 minutes until thickened.
Boil pasta according to the package instructions (whole wheat has more fiber and nutrients than white pasta) and top with the sauce. Serve with a side of roasted vegetables or a green salad for an easy, delicious meal.