I Did Yoga This Morning!

Welcome  So, yeah, I did yoga this morning.  You are probably saying, so?  Some of my friends are avid yogis and many people have no interest whatsoever in my physical activity.  But I can tell you, if I’m in the right frame of mind I can learn some things in the process of posing.  No, I’m not looking to become a Buddhist or embrace Eastern spiritual culture and wisdoms, but performing yoga, especially on a routine basis, can offer benefits for body, mind, and soul.  Note–I may receive small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links seen on this blog.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  Sadly, I have not done yoga in almost a year!  It was about this time last year that I was trying to become invested in daily yoga practice to combat high blood pressure, stress, and depression.  I was looking for anything to calm my anxious mind and help me sleep at night.  I think my best “stretch” was three or four times per week for about three or four weeks.  I abandoned the practice because every time I would try to “center” I would be thinking of all the other things I should be doing, either for work or our home.  Oh, and it was hard.  I have never been very flexible, partly due to genetics and largely due to poor stretching habits in all of my years of running, sports, and weight training.  So by Thanksgiving, I had given up on the idea of making yoga a part of my regular routine.  So why start again?  For starters, I have more time to focus on my health now, so why not?  But also, last month at my massage appointment I was given some warnings about stretching my muscles and improving my flexibility for the sake of my long-term mobility.  I already feel older than I am.  I don’t need poor posture and flexibility exacerbating that fact.  I also know I need to appreciate what my body is still able to do and take advantage of that movement while I can.

I’ve always had trouble being still.  No, I do not have ADHD, it’s not like that.  I have just always been a person who seeks busy-ness.  I cannot stand to be bored or just do “nothing.”  When I was younger, and not so tired all the time, I would prefer cleaning my house to sitting and watching TV.  Even now, a lot of times while watching TV, I need something to keep my hands busy.  So I wanted my exercise habits to reflect that busy-ness.  When I was in my twenties, my mom became very active with yoga.  She did it twice a day, six days per week.  She even lost weight this way.  She kept telling me I should give it a try.  At the time I belonged to a gym that offered a variety of fitness classes including yoga.  Yet, I honestly laughed at my mom!  I told her that was fine for older people that didn’t have much stamina, but I needed to be ACTIVE!  I would stick to the treadmill, elliptical trainer, and weight machines.  I would take classes like kickboxing and step aerobics.  Come on!  I was there to burn some serious calories and lose serious pounds!  I did not have time for yoga!  I just had a problem with all that stillness. Fortunately, I had a trainer that could talk some sense, and physiology, to me.  She shared many benefits yoga would have for my body, ranging from better joint health for running to improved coordination and balance for the kickboxing classes I loved.  So my compromise was to take yoga twice a week.  Well, over the years I have gone in and out of phases of doing yoga faithfully and abandoning it completely.  I have come around to its benefits though, and not just physically.  I’ve also learned about spiritual stillness and rest, focus and meditation.

I have learned that yoga is not easy, especially certain genres.  Yoga does not just require stillness, but also great strength and stamina.  This is so much like our daily spiritual walk.  Our time with God each day requires not only stillness and focus, but also strength and stamina.  When my body or mind is tired or deeply troubled, it takes strength to come to God in prayer and pick up my Bible to study His word.  Our attention spans are short, being pulled in so many directions with work, family, and home obligations.  I need stamina to stick with my daily time with God, in study, and not rush the experience.  And yes, God wants us to quiet our bodies for a time, to find rest in Him, opening our minds to the peace only He can bring us.  Doing my yoga poses this morning was still difficult, but it also felt good, too.  I could feel certain parts of my body responding to the stretches, and final relaxation is always wonderful.  Studying God’s Word can be difficult and challenging, too, but it still feels so good.  Sometimes we don’t want to hear what He’s telling us, other times we become confused, but if we take the time and focus, our spirit will feel so good, like it’s been stretched in just the right places.  I understand that performing yoga may not be for everyone.  I’ve been there!  But I do encourage you to take time to still your body and meditate with your Heavenly Father.  Take a moment to quiet your mind and let God come speak to you.  Namaste.

Today’s Scripture  “Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Today’s Recipe  I really have to work on taking care of my body, inside and out.  I strive to be healthy, but I probably fall closer to the “80-20” rule.  I make healthy choices about 80 percent of the time.  The other 20 percent is more about enjoyment.  After all, life is short and food is yummy!  But, like I conversed with my family this week, we have to balance the bacon and cheese-filled pasta dishes and layered desserts with some more nutritious, less-fattening options.  When I make those better-for-me options you can bet I’m going to make sure it doesn’t feel like sacrifice!  My healthy food has to taste good too!  That’s where my spice cabinet and oven come in.  Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and completely elevates the flavors.  Getting flavors from different, high quality spices will keep the fat content down since you won’t need to flavor with as much butter or oil.  And don’t forget the beans!  Beans are a good protein alternative to meat, and not just in nutrition, but also budget-friendly!  I use these strategies to bring you this recipe for Roast Vegetable and Chickpea Rice Bowl.  You can mix up the vegetables to your liking and what’s in season.  Just be sure to use a variety to get the nutritional benefits from different vegetable groups.

Roast Vegetable and Chickpea Rice Bowl (makes 6-8 servings, but as always, we like the leftovers, too)

Spice Combination (I use Penzey’s spices.  I am not sponsored by them, but I’ve used their products for at least ten years.  The quality is just so much better and the flavors will be deeper.  You can find a store location or shop at Penzeys.com)

  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 2 tsp granulated Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp ground Allspice
  • 2 tsp Aleppo Pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • In small bowl, whisk together all of the spices and set aside.
preparing vegetables
Place cut vegetables and beans in large bowl. Toss with olive oil and spices.

Roast Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Spice Combination
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil.  If you do not have a large pan, use two pans so vegetables can spread out.  Place cut vegetables and beans in large bowl.  Add olive oil and spice mixture.  Toss, or stir, until vegetables are covered completely with oil and spice mixture.  Place on prepared sheet pans.  Roast in 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and fragrant.

To Serve

  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 6-oz pkg fresh Baby Spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Prepared vegetables
  • Additional red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Prepare rice according to package directions.  Saute’ spinach in pan with olive oil until just beginning to wilt.  To serve, place a portion of rice and spinach into bowls.  Add plenty of roast vegetables.  Serve with additional red pepper flakes, if desired.

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