Dolmades and my relationship with yoga (weekly recap)

I’ve had a very joyful week. Full disclosure: I might have written this while drinking one of these, which has the ability to make pretty much anything joyful (in my experience, at least).

The good stuff started on Tuesday, technically the first day of the short post-holiday week. We had wine and chocolate at our writer’s group on Tuesday night, which made us feel fancy. I hadn’t had wine in probably close to six months, and it was glorious.

The good eats and drinks continued on through Wednesday. My husband and I go out for dinner with a group of friends once a month, to a restaurant where most of us (ideally all of us) have never been. This week, we went here, and we ate all the vegetables. It was phenomenal, and has been added to my mental list of favourites for veggie-forward food in our city (this restaurant and this restaurant are other winners).

In my Thursday night writing class, one of us is tasked with bringing snacks each week. This week’s snack-bringer brought Dolmades. Are Dolmades the most underrated food ever? Quite possibly. Who knew that dousing grape leaves and rice in lemon juice and oil would produce something so satisfying? Also, the word is fun to say. Definitely bringing Dolmades to the next potluck I attend.

In terms of cooking, I made Poblano Quesadillas with Bacon and Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa from the Half-Baked Harvest Super-Simple cookbook on Monday night. They were tasty, but my husband and I both agreed that we preferred the Poblano and Halloumi Tacos that we made (from the same cookbook) a few weeks ago.

Did I do anything that didn’t revolve around eating and drinking this week?

I did go back to hot yoga for the first time after a six week hiatus. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about my relationship to yoga recently. I was a very casual hot yoga goer for the better part of the last decade, going to a class maybe four or five times a year. I started to go much more frequently in 2018, largely because there is a great studio just a five minute drive from my office. By the end of 2019, I was going at least three times a week. The problem is, as much as I loved it, and as great as the feeling of finishing a class is, it was consuming me. Between getting to the studio early enough to get a spot (preferably with good access to the door so I could sprint to the shower as soon as class ended), to the class itself, to the requisite post-class shower, it was taking a long time. Not to mention the time I’d spend at work deliberating which class to go to, and whether I was going to make it out on time. And the laundry. Oh…the laundry.

So, by December of last year, I was feeling trapped by yoga. I know…said nobody ever. But really, I wanted to go because I knew how energized I’d feel afterwards, but it was starting to feel more like something to check off my list than a true pleasure.

This made me start thinking about something happiness/habits expert Gretchen Rubin has talked about before. Something called ‘tightening’. If you’re not familiar with her Four Tendencies classification scheme (she considers everyone to fit into one of the four following categories based on how they respond to expectations: upholder, obliger, questioner, rebel), then consider checking out this quiz. Like Gretchen, I am an upholder, which means I uphold both external and internal expectations. However, things have the possibility to get sketchy when upholders get too caught up in their internal expectations. In my case, what started out as a lovely once a week yoga class that I really loved turned into needed to be at the studio at least three times a week, and not enjoying it as much. Upholders also tend to do this with food (eating less sugar becomes eating no sugar becomes going ketogenic) and work (a little bit of work on Sunday afternoon becomes working all day Sunday becomes working all weekend)…both of which I have been guilty of.

My six weeks off yoga were actually for medical reasons, but I’m glad I was forced to give it up for a time. While I did miss it, being away wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and there were so many days where it was nice not to sit and deliberate about whether or not I should go that day (and not feel guilty when I decided not to). As I navigate my re-entry into the world of yoga, my plan is to only go once a week. That seemed to be a happy medium for me. I’m also going to try to be more cognizant of my tendency to tighten in other aspects of life.

On that note, here’s three things I’m thinking about right now:

  • I read this article by Kate Murphy in the New York Times. She says that we’re actually not very good at listening to the people we know best, which means sometimes we don’t know them as well as we think we do. “Once you know people well enough to feel close, there’s an unconscious tendency to tune them out because you think you already know what they are going to say.” Guilty. Of. This. How can we fix this? More “everyday talk” about joys and struggles and less discussion of logistics.
  • I also enjoyed this new-to-me (but published in 2017) article by Tim Requart about science communication. He argues the importance of appealing to emotion and gaining an audience’s trust rather than just spouting out the cold hard facts. When trying to communicate something, scientists should think about explaining why it matters to them, and why it should matter to their audience. The communication should appeal to values, not just intellect.
  • On a completely unrelated note, I still haven’t seen Parasite and I’m dying to go.


Have a wonderful week!

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