I used to go to regular yoga classes as a teen and they were fun – up to the point where they started going dramatically into the more spiritual side. At which point I stopped going as I wanted to move my body, not my soul.
I started going to yoga classes again about 18 months ago and was enjoying them a lot – I like making shapes apparently! There the chap who would openly laugh at anything overly spiritual or non-tangible – mentions of “prana” in particular used to send him off into giggles, however he left a few weeks ago.
(A poster used by the gotmilk people)
With his departure there has been a marked increase in wibble, some of which is easy to take/leave and some which sneaks into your consciousness. An example of the latter is a random speech on “what you put in to your body is what you get out” with regard to food. In theory I have no issue with this, but I do feel that this sort of thing has to be tailored to the individual to be really meaningful or safe.
Blanket one-size-fits-all health statements are something I am familiar with; my gym instructor is a major fan of banning carbs outright, personally my energy and endurance plummets if I totally cut out carbs. So I am fairly used to smiling sweetly and declining to put their dramatic suggestions into practise!
However I was still surprised when my yoga teacher spoke passionately about the evils of dairy (specifically milk) using phrases that I recognise from and associate with PETA – who are inarguably passionate about their cause and are widely seen as extreme in their actions and rhetoric.
(Photo from solsticeyogastudio – this looks a lovely restful pose & setting combination and probably doesn’t feature the teacher ranting about food choices in the background)
Calcium is a big concern for me, my sibling has a crumbling hip joint as a child and a grandparent has osteoporosis, so I have always tried to ensure that I have a decent portion of calcium each day. Most of my calcium comes from milk – it is convenient, easy to store and cheap. There are other sources; a quick internet search confirms the following are good sources of calcium (1):
◾milk, cheese and other dairy foods
◾green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach
◾soya beans – not a huge fan
◾tofu – not a huge fan as tofu can be used to make gross things.
◾soya drinks with added calcium – yuck!
◾nuts – I get bored easily.
◾bread and anything made with fortified flour
◾fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards – double yuck!
Kale is something that the NHS website lumped under green leafy veg that is currently rather popular, although if you boil it then it smells like cabbage. But looking at the US Office of Dietary Supplements website (2) milk still wins hands down.
The NHS advises that “Adults need 700mg of calcium a day” (3) so even if I eat a lot of kale or broccoli every single day then I would still be short of my target, hence milk is my friend. I must acknowledge that there are a lot of anti-milk research/studies out there that are somewhat concerning, my thinking is you pick your poisons and I’ll have a glass of milk a day whilst hoping that it cosmically balances out against my non-drinking of any soda or coffee.
(Kale photo from rivercottage.net) who encourage you to massage it before eating…)
Just to make things really awkward my yoga teacher also declared all grains evil (including wholegrain), that sugar was the anti-Christ and that members of the potato family (aka Solanaceae – which is a big family including peppers, eggplant and tomato) were bad for you. This starts being a rather large number of things that she feels we shouldn’t eat – I also have a suspicion that she thinks we are all vegetarian…
Her views on diet are fine for her and I hope that they give her everything she wants, I am just a little uncomfortable that she felt it was ok to go off on a semi-rant to a class about it. I do like the class and I will keep going for now, but I’m going to use this as motivation to finally go to a Pilates class and hopefully they will give me at least 18 months of just making shapes!
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