- You are your own resistance. Unlike biking, weight lifting, treadmills, etc. that require equipment to challenge you, yoga is completely reliant on your own body limitations and weight to stretch and tone your muscles which makes it as easy or hard as you want it to be.
- The visual inspiration is abundant. People who do yoga on a regular basis have ridiculously toned bodies. There’s nothing like seeing the finish line to get you to the starting line. I figure if I do it as much as they do, I might be able to stand on my head and have a six pack one day too.
- You get to finish with a mini nap, otherwise known as a savasana. What other exercise do you know rewards you with a 5 minute nap right after your hour workout? It’s awesome.
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For the fourth edition of the AliBytes and Dudgington Post blog off, I picked the topic: BBQ. The problem with BBQ is that just about everything has already been said about it (here’s a taste of the infamous gas v. charcoal debate from the perspective of NY Times and MSNBC). So to keep my July promise of more quality posts, I did some digging.
It was just a few weeks ago that I gained a greater appreciation for BBQ as I walked by the intensity that was Safeway’s National Capital Barbecue Battle. If you don’t already, you’ll likely share my appreciation for BBQ aficionados after checking out a couple of the links below.
- Take a class with a pro: Coming soon to a city near you (if you live in Kentucky, Louisiana or Oklahoma), Chef Paul, nicknamed The Baron, will cover everything you can think of that has to do with BBQ starting with the basics of BBQing Brisket, Pork Butt, Pork Ribs, Chicken, and Sausage. You will also learn about “the most misunderstood tool,” fire management, fuels, BBQ rubs and spices (that I’ve never even heard of - capsicums?), BBQ sauce, contest presentation, and much more. Clearly, this is all business.
- Try the best BBQ in every state: I am amused by this Pig A Day calendar mostly because they used “pig-me up” - it’s apparently “The perfect pig-me-up for the BBQ lover” - but also because it seems to be a pretty thorough guide to BBQ restaurants, festivals, teams, caterers, and products across the country.
- BBQ in the rain: Brookstone has two cool products - the Grillzebo and the Grill Canopy - both of which allow you to “grill fearlessly.” They ask “Why let too much sun or a passing shower interrupt your barbecue?” Good question!
- Get cool gadgets: To me, two of the most underrated joys of BBQ are kabobs and s’mores. That’s why the Mallow Master Marshmellow Fork and the 3 prong KeBab Fork will make your BBQ that much better. Bill and Lana Scanlan seem to have a nice little shop set up at Wee Willy’s.
- Grill your dessert: As highlighted in many online recipes and this NPR story, “Fresh fruit is a healthy and simple dessert any time of year, and the fresh flavors are enhanced further by placing the fruit over a fire. Grilling extracts fruits’ natural sugar by caramelizing the surface. The heated sugar liquefies and becomes a brown, sweet syrup.”
- Test your skills: GirlsAtTheGrill.com, with the motto “If you can eat it, you can grill it,” provides a bunch of tips, recipes, and this handy little quiz to see how much you know about BBQ. So how long should you preheat the grill before placing food on it? Hint: the answer is not “Preheat? Are you kidding?” It took me a long time to learn that lesson.
- Get to a local event: I couldn’t leave off the “world’s number one publication dedicated to the sport of barbecue.” This site is a resource for news and an impressively updated list of BBQ events for the most passionate enthusiast.
What better Father’s Day topic is there than golf? A couple weeks ago I came upon a post at one of my favorite like-minded blogs Four (or Five!) Reasons Why…Golf is so frustrating. I have been plotting my response and since I spent this non-holiday on the links, I decided it’s time.
- Myth: “To play well, you need to play a lot.” In my opinion it’s more like, to play well you need to find a course that makes you look good. I think my friend Dave said it best after our imperfect round: a good course gives you room to play. Some courses you either get it right or you feed your ball to the alligators but I prefer to play on courses that allow me to have a few bad strokes and not have to get out my ball retriever or fear getting poison oak each and every time.
- I totally agree that you can’t ever replicate your perfect shot. But you know what, neither can the people you’re playing with which makes that one shot out of 100 (or more if you play like me because I like to “get my money worth”) that much more amazing. If this frustrates you it’s because you haven’t learned how to talk up the couple of good ones so in a week everyone only remembers that amazing bogie you had on the 9th hole.
- Eating and drinking on the course is definitely one of the highlights of this sport. It’s sort of like baseball or bowling in that way except you get to wear proper fitting khakis and polo shorts, not tight spandex that highlight your unnatural steroid-induced curves or dopey rented shoes that ruin any outfit.
- Mark and Sean point out that “You have to behave well and dress properly.” This is true and can be frustrating since I do have an urge to run to my ball or yell across to someone, but hey swearing is allowed. Rarely do I get away with the kind of potty mouth I use on the golf course. Plus, they’re clearly forgetting the reckless driving that ensues when you put the average person behind the wheel of a golf cart. Certainly this makes up for any manners you have to follow.
- Regarding their last point that “If, by chance, you get a hole-in-one, you have to buy everyone in the clubhouse a drink - whereas it should really be everyone buying you a drink given you’re the one who did something amazing!” I wouldn’t know but come on, you get to go to a “clubhouse” to drink when you’re done.
Yoga is an interesting activity namely because the less you have time for it, the more you actually need it. Though I have started jokingly saying “exercise doesn’t fit into my lifestyle right now,” I am in fact looking for ways to make it fit.
One way is to try self-yoga. I found this useful website YogaJournal.com that outlines some poses in a really easy to follow manner complete with pictures and the benefits of each. Here are some standard, interesting and ridiculously hard poses.
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose): Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves; stretches the thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back; improves concentration; and improves sense of balance
- Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose): Besides making you bad ass, strengthens the arms and wrists; tones the belly and spine; and improves sense of balance
- Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose): Stretches the shoulders and chest; stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen; strengthens the legs and ankles; and improves balance
- Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose): Simple but surprisingly a good one, this stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas); strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back; and strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): Apparently the “green tea of yoga” (i.e. lots of benefits for this one): Stretches the chest, neck, and spine; calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression; stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid; rejuvenates tired legs; improves digestion; helps relieve the symptoms of menopause; relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported; reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia; and therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
- Balasana (Child’s Pose): One of the best, it gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles; calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue; and relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported
- Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose): Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spins; stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines; helps relieve stress; and improves digestion