Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cleanse Mania

I received one of my guilty pleasures in life in the mail earlier this week - Self Magazine.  I always enjoy dramatizing the big cover story promises with Marc - "'Beauty tricks for busy chicks'??  Why, I'M a busy chick!" - and analyzing just how much airbrushing has gone into the cover model.  But I find once I open the page, Self often has interesting and empowering articles among the standard "Lose 8 pounds in one week!"-esque empty promises.

So I was intrigued, as a yogi, as someone who loves food more than words can possibly describe, and as a lover of alliteration when I came upon this article:  Detox Diets Debunked.  (At the bottom, be sure to continue to click on "Beat Bloat," etc. to read further - it's less general information and more "eat this instead of detoxing with that" but it's still interesting)

Given our body obsessed culture in our modern world (even in the magazine that publishes this very article), plus the "detoxification" obsessed culture in the yoga world, it's no wonder that Cleanses just keep getting more and more popular.  This morning as I was sitting to read the New York Times before writing this blog, I came upon another article about detoxes/cleanses:  The Juice Cleanse:  A Strange and Green Journey.  (I think it's also worth briefly mentioning - the Self article is actually more investigative and the NYTimes article is more fluffy.  Interesting.)
Mmmmm.  Dinner.
I'd hear about them occasionally in college - a friend or two wanting to drop weight fast or get back to feeling good after some junk food binges left them feeling sluggish.  Since I moved to New York, however, I seem to hear about them all the time.  I have several dear friends who have done the Master Cleanse (it's crazytown to me how detailed this website is).  They lost weight, they sometimes felt wonderful and sometimes awful, and they survived.  Some people do it once a year or even once a month.

Personally - I have never understood it.  I certainly understand the desire to hit a reset button on your body when you've overdone it and I understand the desire to shed weight and to feel - well, cleansed.

But what I understand more?  My body needs food to survive!  Not just "craves," not just "desires" - needs.  If you go without food for a time - yes, you will likely lose weight.  But what kind of weight are you actually losing?  How long will it last once you inevitably start eating again?  What happens to your metabolism, your blood sugar, your muscle mass, and your necessary fat stores in the meantime?

As a New York yogi, I'm not sure just how in the minority I am on this.  Often it's  justified through the concept of saucha, or purity, which is one of the niyamas (observance) of yoga.  To me, however, that just implies that your body is a dirty thing which requires extra effort on your part to cleanse it.  That's not what I think saucha is supposed to be about.

The cleanse trend seems to be commonplace, but all I hear and say in yoga classes and conversations all day long is honor your body.  How on earth are we honoring it by depriving it of fuel?  It's about as logical as "honoring" your car by driving on fumes for a week to cleanse and detox.  We can honor our body by trusting our internal organs that work just fine at detoxing and taking care of waste, thank you very much.  No cayenne lemonade diet required.

Anyone else have any thoughts?  I'd love to hear opinions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rub your hands...Sit up tall...Take a deep breath...

Om...

The Karma Kids "Om Song" seemed an appropriate way to begin another "long lost blog" entry ;)

So even though it's been over a month since I quit my old job - it still seems like just yesterday - the big news is still my transition out of "day job" security and into the joy and occasional terror of being semi freelance.

The "semi" part of that is due to my new position as a teacher / part time desk person at Karma Kids Yoga!  It's a wonderful kids yoga studio that also provides classes to tons of New York schools, community centers, and even private family yoga in the home.  I started my teacher training very shortly after my last blog entry, and it was amazing. Working with kids is a completely new venture for me and it's been really fun and challenging so far.  I'm excited for everything it holds for me.

So now I have a whole almost-month until my next training - in November, the week before Thanksgiving, I take Lotus Palm's Thai Yoga Massage Level 2 Intensive.  I'm so very ready.  I'm reaching out to everyone I can for my last pure Thai 1 massages before I learn all kinds of new wonderful tricks of the trade and can start reaching out to people all over again to offer a "new and improved" massage.

To that end, today I have two massages lined up - one being with a friend who has also been my most steady and loyal Thai Yoga Massage client, bless his heart.  The other is with Alison Renee Foster, an incredibly talented actress, singer, dancer, and now - fitness guru!  Her awesome blog, Foster Fitness, is inspiring, informative, and funny.  It's really worth a read, especially if you're a reality tv junkie like Alison.  Even if you're not - it's worth the time.

I haven't seen Alison since we were both in Sarasota working at Florida Studio Theatre two years ago - which feels like a lifetime.  It'll be wonderful to catch up and to share with her my little corner of the fitness/yoga world.

Even though it's been over a month since I've been starting this independent venture, it's still taking time to get used to things, to find order in a somewhat more chaotic schedule, and to pinch myself and realize that it's actually happening.  The dust is slowly beginning to settle, but I'm not sure if it ever completely will!  And I think that's fine with me.