Saturday, February 28, 2009

5 of My Favorite Yoga Poses That Will Leave You Feeling Full of Exuberance

The Pigeon Pose:  Not only is this a great hip-opener, but it feels magnificent.  Make sure to keep a steady balance by keeping the hips in line and being conscious of not leaning too far to one side.

The Triangle Pose:  This is a great stress reliever, helping to relieve all built up tension gained throughout the day.  It stretches and strengthens the spine, hamstrings, knees, ankles, hips, and groins.  Make sure to bend from the hips, not the waist, and keep the torso directly over the leg.  Reach the tailbone upwards towards the back heel.  Beginners may use a wall to focus on alignment and balance if needed.

Warrior 2 Pose:  This vigorous pose makes you feel strong, energized, and powerful.  Remember to make sure the bent knee is in a 90 degree angle and does not come over the ankle.  If possible, extend the thigh as close to perpendicular to the floor as possible.  Center the torso in the middle, keeping the abdomen, chest, and head right above the hips.  Turn the head towards the front arm and look out over the hand, calming and focusing the mind on the fingers.

The Headstand:  This centering pose helps to calm the mind and send energy to the brain.  It strengthens the arms, spine, legs, and neck as well as stimulates digestion.  Be careful when first learning this pose and feel free to balance against a wall if necessary.  Make sure not to position all of the body-weight on the head and neck, but rather balance the weight between the arms and shoulder blades.  This should be a calming pose, not a strenuous one.

The Lotus Pose:  This tranquil pose strengthens and elongates the spine.  Remember to keep the posture as straight as possible, lifting the sternum upwards.  This pose is often recommended for meditation and is a good way to center the mind.

For all of these positions, and this goes for any yoga poses, remember to breathe easily and deeply, and to center your focus on the practice, ridding the mind of all other hindrances.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Miss March


I saw Miss March at a premiere showing at the Bridge Theater in Philadelphia today.  It was laugh-out-loud hilarious!  It features Eugene, a boy inexperienced and intimidated when it comes to sex, and his best friend Tucker, a sex fanatic who is not in the least bit shy about the subject.  Eugene is struck with some misfortune in the beginning of the movie as he drunkenly falls down some stairs, putting himself in a coma immediately before he was about to meet his girlfriend and lose his virginity.  Upon waking up from a coma four years later, he finds out that his high school sweetheart has become a playmate and is "Miss March" of playboy.  As he and his excited buddy Tucker make their journey to the playboy mansion in order to find Eugene's girlfriend, they encounter some rather amusing anomalies.  The movie was filled with frivolous comedy that sent the audience (and myself bursting into laughter. Bizarre situations full of exuberance left the audience unable to guess what would happen next.

After the show there was a Q & A with Zach Cregger (Eugene) and Trevor Moore (Tucker).  They answered questions such as how long they spent filming at the playboy mansion and what that experience was like.  They filmed there for only a day, using Hugh Heffner's room to get the scenes with his character in the movie.  The young boys joked about Heffner's personality and about the number of monkeys he owned, saying that you know you've become rich when you start to lose track of how many monkeys you have.  The next movie they plan on making is intended to revolve around the characters of their current TV show, The Whitest Kids U'Know, which airs on IFC.  From the couple of clips I've seen of the show, it seems to be quite entertaining.  Their jocular personalities and the ingenuity of their work makes me believe these young adults are only just beginning their stardom in the film industry and will be sticking around for some time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who knew Rock, Paper, Scissors could provide so much opportunity?

Making paper out of rocks

February 18, 2009 by Grace Dickinson   

In the final bracket Edgar Lopez (left) and future champion Matt 'Moose' Muscella face off in an intense heat that ended in multiple ties, although Muscella went on to win. (Nic


Two students eagerly faced each other with their hands engrossed in a battle. Some spectators may think their lives depended on the outcome.

The final decision between rock, paper and scissors would decide the winner’s future spring break fate. Edgar Lopez, a freshman economics major, and Matt Muscella, a sophomore chemistry major, were engaged in the final round of the USA Rock Paper Scissors College Championship held in the Student Center.

After pumping their fists three times for the final game, Lopez displayed his hand in a horizontal “paper” position while Muscella opted for the V-shaped “scissors” and ultimately became the winner of the tournament.

Students engaged in Rock, Paper, Scissors, the game often used to resolve frivolous disagreements and make trivial decisions, at the Student Center Tuesday to decide the winner of a spring break trip to Panama City, Fla.

In Florida, the champion gets the chance to compete against winners from 20 other schools nationwide in the final championship of the USA Rock Paper Scissors Tournament.

The tournament will be aired on mtvU, and the ultimate winner will receive $20,000, which is intended for use toward college tuition.

“I was just eating some bagels [at the Student Center] and heard of the contest, and it sounded fun,” said winner Muscella, who skipped studying to come to the event. “I was really surprised. I didn’t expect to win anything.”

Lopez, the second place winner, received $100.

“It was fun and it still feels great,” Lopez said. “I’m strapped for money.”

AMP Energy gave away free energy drinks at the competition and sponsored the event.

“Last winter, USA Rock Paper Scissors league contacted AMP, and we came up with the idea of benefiting college students and giving them money which could be used toward college tuition,” said Jon Robertson, the representative manager for AMP Energy and Freedom Zone, a marketing company.

AMP saw it as a good opportunity for sponsorship. The company also found the simplicity and the prevalence of the conventional game to be appealing.

“It’s a game that pretty much everyone can compete in,” Roberston said. “It’s a fair playing field, and we’re really excited to give everyone the opportunity to compete.”

Fifty-two students came out to compete in Temple’s qualifier tournament.

“Rock, Paper, Scissors is really enjoyable, and I can maybe get $20,000 from playing. There’s no downside to that,” said Craig Scheihing, a freshman film and media arts major.

Scheihing and his friends use the game to make a lot of choices.

“It’s like following fate rather than just making a decision,” he said.


In one of the preliminary matchups, Arielle Gold defeats Jacob Kindlon in a narrow victory. (Nic Lukehart/TTN)

Virtually no one at the event was new to the game. Many were actually frequent players of RPS.

“I’ve been playing Rock, Paper, Scissors all my life, and when decisions have to be made between me and my friends, I usually win,” said Domenick Cucinotta, a junior film and media arts major. “I play whenever a hard decision presents itself. If something can’t be decided, you have to play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Everyone knows that.”

Nick Beers, a sophomore business administration major, attended the event said he plays RPS at least once a week. He and his friends even made up their own modified version that Beers called “Extreme Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Beers’ version calls for punching the opponent in the arm when winning with a rock, slapping the opponent on the arm with two fingers when winning with scissors and slapping the challenger’s hands when winning with paper.

“It gets pretty intense,” Beers said.

His strategy in the tournament was to “be unpredictable” and frequently mix up his hand gestures. However, Beers didn’t make it to the final round.

“I hate Rock, Paper, Scissors,” Beers jokingly yelled after losing.

Muscella said he plays RPS around twice a month, a little less than his competitors. He usually utilizes RPS to settle an argument, but in the upcoming month, he will have the opportunity to do much more with the game than using it as a peace treaty.

His strategy for the finals in Florida: “Work hard, train hard.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm Going to Bonnaroo :)


I purchased Bonnaroo tickets this past weekend, and let me tell you, I am pumped!!  June couldn't come soon enough.  The line-up consists of well over 50 bands, and as quoted from Rolling Stone, Bonnaroo has become a "mind-blowing musical smorgasbord".  From classics such as Bruce Springsteen to rappers including Snoop Dogg to indie bands such as the Decemberists, Bonnaroo has a little bit of everything making it so almost anyone would want to go.  In fact, my dad's almost convinced that he wants to come along to the event!  I don't blame him; Lucinda Williams, Merle Haggard, Bruce Springsteen, and our favorite soul-jammer Erykah Badu will all be performing.  (To most kids this sounds like a nightmare, but my dad definitely hasn't grown out of his "hippiness" yet, and if he's helping to pay for my $250 ticket, then I'd be glad to have him come along.)  


I actually only just found out about the event last summer after I read an article about it in a Rolling Stone magazine that happened to be lying around on one of our coffee tables.  To me, Bonnaroo sounded like the Woodstock of my generation.  The article portrayed the event as a hippie dream land, full of stellar music, drugged grilled cheese, whimsical dancing, and communal bonding/partying/camping, (oh and showers)!  After finishing the article, I knew I had to eventually go.  However I surmised this would just be an unfulfilled dream...But after talking it over with a friend, we decided this was an opportunity we couldnt't pass up...which means music blaring, tent in the trunk, and my dream carried out as we head on a road trip to Tennessee this summer!  SO EXCITED

Friday, February 13, 2009

0901-maria-sharapova.preview.jpg  Maria Sharapova, like me before this past week, has also taken some time off from playing tennis.  She is recovering from a shoulder injury which has prevented her from playing since last August.  But that hasn't prevented this blonde-haired beauty from staying active.  In an interview with Women's Health magazine, Sharapova said, "To be honest, everything in my life outside of tennis is great.  I'm doing amazing projects that, if I didn't have time off, I wouldn't be able to focus on."

In fact, Sharapova told Women's Health magazine that eventually she wants to move her career completely away from tennis and move into fashion designing.  "I don't see myself playing tennis in 10 years," Sharapova told the magazine.

I guess that's what you could say I've been doing-- taking time off of tennis to focus on my career/college education.  However, I'm not all that close to becoming the affluent young female that Sharapova is.  According to a September 2008 Forbes magazine video, Sharapova is the highest paid female athlete.  What exactly does that mean?  She's raking in an annual income of $26 million!

A lot of athletes today are racking in money from areas other than sports.  From clothes, to cameras, to cereal boxes, almost all industries thrive on using athletes to sell their products.  This virtually makes the athlete a celebrity, making it easy for them land a millionaire job outside of athletics and making their transition after retiring from sports easier than ever.  Sharapova will have no problem moving into the fashion industry.  She's already seen as a kind of fashion diva/model.

I'll probably never be a tennis superstar, but I can at least dream of having the lifestyle Sharapova plans on leading after retiring from tennis--money, interviews, fashion, and tennis as a recreational hobby.  Doesn't sound so bad, does it?  Pshh...Keep dreaming...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Return of Tennis

Nostalgic memories of hot, summer days endlessly playing tennis have seeped into my mind, taking all of my present concentration.  All I can think about is how I just want to keep playing!  It feels like spring outside, and I'm loving it!!  I got to play some tennis today for the first time in what seems like forever.  I used to have an incredible fervor for tennis, and still do, but not quite to the extent as during my high school days.  Much of my time used to be devoted to the sport.  I'd spend weeks at camp, play hour after hour with my best friend almost dying in the 80-90 degree weather, go to daily school practices, drive my dad insane trying to get him to play with me on the weekends, and consistently do training on my own all because of my passion (or should I say obsession) for tennis.  But hey, I guess it's a productive habit.  According to, tennis burns approximately 475 calories an hour.  Not to mention it builds muscles, increases endurance, works on agility, and enhances reaction time.  I wouldn't mind making more time currently to get out and play.  Hopefully the weather stays nice!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Healthy eating, Rolled up

February 3, 2009 by Grace Dickinson   

Trying to lose a few extra pounds gained from all the holiday festivities? Cheesesteaks, potato chips, hot dogs and other greasy, fatty foods make it easy for students to opt for unhealthy choices, delaying weight loss and allowing them to forget their wants for a healthy lifestyle.

When looking for a healthy alternative, the answer may be Nauaji, the sushi bar located in the Student Center.

“I tried sushi because I wanted to try something new, and now, I really enjoy it,” said Max Seidman, a sophomore philosophy major.

Sushi is low in fat and contains protein and other essential nutrients.

“It provides a portion-controlled source of carbohydrates and lean meat,” said Nicole Patience, a registered clinical dietitian at Temple.

The raw fish component of sushi is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood pressure and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

“Omega-3s have been shown to improve our good cholesterol as well as our mood,” Patience said.

Omega-3 fatty acids increase levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, and decrease the levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, within the body. They are also linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, depression and arthritis.

For students who can’t bear the thought of eating raw fish, or for those who don’t eat meat, there’s vegetarian sushi, which provides numerous health benefits as well.

“A lot of vegetarians are keen to that taste, plus sushi is light and healthy,” said pre-pharmacy and French major Bobby Oliver, who is a vegan.

Sushi from Nauaji, one of the Valaida S. Walker Food Court’s healthier places to eat, is high in nutrients and vitamins and low in calories. Dietitians suggest eating it in moderation (Kevin Cook/TTN).

Nori, the seaweed wrapped around rice used to create sushi rolls, is full of protein, vitamins and minerals. It contains high amounts of iron, iodine, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A and C.
In fact, seaweed contains more nutrients than most vegetables.

The rice in sushi also provides many health benefits, although brown rice is considered a healthier option than white.

While there is no difference in calorie content of the two, brown rice contains more fiber, Patience said.
Both are low in calories, but brown rice contains approximately three times as much fiber as white rice. It also contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Nauaji offers several types of sushi made with brown rice, particularly in the vegetarian varieties.

“I eat the brown rice sushi and enjoy it just as much [as white rice sushi] because I know it’s healthier for me,” said Rachel Maddaluna, a freshman biology major.

For inexperienced sushi-eaters, ever wonder what that strange, green glob or pink-colored, fleshy substance in a container of sushi is? Surprisingly, these funny-looking condiments are packed with nutrients.

The green ball is wasabi, a spicy paste used to add “zing” to the meal. The pinkish substance is pickled ginger, which cleanses the palate between each piece of sushi. Wasabi and pickled ginger aid the digestion process, helping to prevent certain kinds of cancer. The combination of wasabi and pickled ginger contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Not only is sushi full of nutrients, it’s low in calories and contains a substantial amount of fiber, which makes a person feel full, Patience said.

Sashimi, a piece of raw fish that doesn’t contain rice, typically ranges from 20 to 60 calories per one ounce of fish, depending on the type.

There are potential risks for eating sushi containing raw fish that contains bacteria, parasites and other contaminants. If handled properly, it is generally safe for consumption, and more people become ill from contaminated produce than sushi.

“I wouldn’t recommend sushi for pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems, but for others, I would recommend sushi in moderation as part of a healthy diet,” Patience said.

Sushi is available at various eateries surrounding Main Campus. The Noshery at Avenue North offers different types of sushi like shrimp tempura and “make-your-own” sushi, in which the diners choose what they want in an individual roll. The Noshery also accepts Diamond Dollars.

Next time you’re faced with a healthy food dilemma, skip Burger King and choose the sushi venue instead.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


So the inherent coldness of winter quickly made its return.  However, this time it brought with it some beautiful white snow flakes.  Since I was kept inside yesterday because of the snow, I decided to do some yoga in my dorm room.  There is just enough space between the beds of me and my roommate.  I put on some soothing Steven Halpern music, spread out my blue yoga mat, and tried to avoid glancing at the prolific amount of clutter surrounding the room.  I began with sun salutations, followed by some traditional poses, continuing into the evening until the sun went down.  It was great to be able to work on my alignment in the cobra pose while looking out the window and seeing white flakes drop against the dark, uncanny sky.  I was able to focus my attention out of the room and into the tranquil setting of the wintery wonderland being formed outdoors.  After almost an hour and a half of yoga poses, it felt great to relax in Savasana, the relaxation pose.  And afterwards, I felt totally reenergized, along with a vehement desire to continue practicing yoga during my days at college.  Though this can be quite tough, due to time limits and space restriction (especially when my roommate is in the room).  However, I think it's important to practice and center yourself, and if you have a love for yoga, you can make the time and room, which I will go into in a later post.

Today I did a DVD, an Intermediate Yoga Class taught by Sri Swami Asokananda. 
It was rejuvenating, and my energy levels have Intermediate Yoga Session - Swami Asokananda DVD
really been feeling the benefits of yoga lately. 
 I love how supple yoga makes your body feel,                 
especially after consistent practice.

I plan on eventually giving tips and advice in these posts, but for the meantime I am practicing and focusing on developing my writing skills.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Mirage of Spring

AHHH I love stepping outside in the middle of winter and having warm, unexpected air hit my face.  These kinds of days lift me up, no matter what particular mood or state I'm in.  They create a mirage of spring among the plethora of dismal wintery days that I dread each year.  I couldn't help myself from embarking upon a run, since these kinds of days aren't like the ubiquitous wintery days of February.  So I ran.  Up to city hall and back.  And I feel great!  Which hopefully is a sign that mono is pretty much gone.  I'll know for sure after next week when I get my tests back.  I absolutely can't wait until the arrival of spring...when I can regularly ditch the cramped indoor treadmills consisting of monotonous running in place, or the track where I'm forced to run in continuous circles like a dog chasing its tail.  When I'm free of mono, and able to stretch my legs and just run, soaking in the sun, scenery, and splendor around me.  But as for now, I will just have to enjoy the anomalous (new word of the day, currently in the process of expanding my vocabulary, so you might notice this in upcoming posts) days that lift me off my feet, literally, and send me running (but to no particular place, or desire of escape!).