Yesterday, I attended an incredible, three hour yoga class at Dragonfly Yoga on a single topic: bone health. As a health coach, I’m tuned into the importance of caring for our bodies through exercise and nutrition, but Patti Zolnick, the instructor, really opened my eyes to the simple and powerful use of supported poses to strengthen and protect.
We used blocks, straps, blankets and even chairs as supports and explored more than 15 poses. She showed us how to use the breath to change a pose, reminded us to surrender our ego, and challenged us to trust and honor our bodies. I left the class feeling educated and empowered. Kudos to Kit Mcfarland for bring such powerful healers to our little town!
Confession time. I admit, prior to the class, I rarely concerned myself with my own bone health, even with genetic indicators and a personal history of risk factors. As a CrossFit athlete, I push weights. I jump. I carry heavy things. I run. I challenge my body daily to grow stronger. As for diet, I have always relied on leafy greens for my calcium, as recommended by Dr. Greger at Nutritionfacts.org. Kiwi, chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, okra, tahini, almonds and kale are some of my favorite foods, and they are great sources of calcium. I also spend at least two hours outside each day gardening, walking, on the water or relaxing. I supplement with D3 as well. Whole plant foods also have the vitamin K1 needed to help your gut bacteria produce the vitamin K2 that supports bone health, so I’m doing everything I need to, right?
Yes, and no.
As the class continued, however, I recognized that I’d been taking my bones for granted. When I do sun salutations in the morning to wake my body, am I honoring my lower back and spine by gracefully bending my knees? When I practice cat and cow in the evening before bed as part of my mobility, do I remembering that my neck is often stiff and does not like being forced, even gently to over-extend? The answer, prior to the class was no.
I am happy to share that when I practiced my gentle yoga poses this morning, I thought about my bones with deep appreciation and gratitude. They do so much for my body! I honored my sore hips and found gentle openers, practiced understanding with my lower back and neck, and most of all, I thanked them with slow, gentle movement.
I shared two snacks with the class. One is a gem from The Doctor Yum Project. This is my favorite way to eat kale, and I think you’ll like it too! Be prepared to double the recipe because you won’t want to share!
The second is a fun little combination that I created to replace the quick, go-to bars that athletes often use in between meals. One of my favorite combinations is lime, coconut and macadamia nut, I combined to create these yummy snacks. I use a mold and freeze them but you can make them into balls or bars. Feel free to roll them in coconut or cacao.
Key Lime Bites
Makes 15 balls
12 dates, pits removed
½ cup of unsweetened coconut, shredded
1 cup macadamia nuts, roasted and salted
Juice and zest of one lime.
Using a small food processor, pulse dates until they form into a ball of paste. Add coconut and macadamia nuts and continue to pulse. Add lime juice and rind. Pulse until combined. Shape into balls, press into a pan to make bars, or use a mold with small shapes. Freeze to harden. Store in the refrigerator. Can be enjoyed at room temperature.
I often use the early morning to organize my thoughts into paragraphs. And sometimes into recipes.