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With a centered mind and limber body, you leave your Vinyasa class thankful for the very air you breathe. Then a rapping cell phone sucks the "chill" right out of you. Here's how to hold on to what little peace you've got in a few decidedly unpeaceful situations.
The Zen Zapper: A bad date
The Pose: Eagle
You're all dressed up for nothing. "A quick way to release frustration is with an eagle pose," says yoga and Pilates instructor Kristin McGee, host of her own DVDs Power Yoga and Bendigirl.
Here's How: Cross your legs under the table. Take the foot of the crossed leg, hook it around the opposite ankle and squeeze your thighs as if you're juicing a grapefruit between them.
The Zen Zapper: A Stress-Monster Boss
The Pose: Seated spinal twist
If it's impossible to duck under a lampshade, "do a seated spinal twist to wring out negative energy," McGee instructs.
Here's How: Grab the armrest and the back of your chair and turn your torso as far as it'll go.
The Zen Zapper: Traffic
The Pose: Breath of fire
You're trapped, with a belt securing you motionless. "Short nostril exhalations will help exert some of that pent-up energy," explains McGee.
The benefit: Every time you breathe out, your stomach muscles will contract as if you're doing a crunch.
Not kissing your reflection in the mirror today? No problem. Linda Bird, author of Look Gorgeous Always: Find It, Fake It, Flaunt It, offers easy wardrobe remedies that will give you instant confidence.
Not loving your upper arms? "Disguise them by wearing long sleeves with wide cuffs -- a popular look this season. Avoid chunky knitted sweaters, which just add bulk. Go instead with cashmere V-necks that draw the eye downward to your cleavage."
Not loving your hips or butt? "A-line skirts minimize width and rear girth."
Not loving your calves or ankles? "Knee-high boots disguise heavy lower legs. Go for a heel of an inch or higher: It visually lengthens your limbs and makes you stand up straighter."
Our makeover candidate, Lisa Renwick, was two pounds from her goal -- and fell off the wagon. Sound familiar? Steal her bounce-back tips.
Why I went overboard: "Daily cardio, my feisty kids, the monotony of work -- in spite of my husband's support, I wanted to combust. So I started binge eating my kids' sugary cereal. Even though I've been adding a little cardio each week to my workout, I still gained two pounds. When I'm feeling upset, I want that immediate gratification. One day I grabbed a box of Cinnabons and just ate until only crumbs were left. For two seconds, it's blissful, then I'm feeling lousy. It's a vicious cycle."My Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Chew Absentmindedly
"I'm not buying that cereal anymore -- that's for sure! My life coach, Lois Barth, thought reading a book called Intuitive Eating would offer some perspective on my 'feeding' habits. So far, I've learned that I'm an unconscious eater. I inhale food because I'm always feeling rushed. I need to practice eating more slowly and taking smaller bites, which my nutritionist, Cindy Sherwin, RD, says will help me feel fuller and back away from my fork."My Fat-Busting Plan
When there seems to be no rest for the (female) weary, take heart: You have our permission to place all of the following things on the proverbial back burner -- hopefully there's room.Put Off: Reading as many self-help books as possible.
The self-help genre published nearly 3,300 titles in 2005, accounting for more than 10 percent of all book sales. The next time you need a therapeutic hit, it will be available -- in spades. Pick one title for now.Put Off: Scoring the perfect guy and having a baby before age 30.
So don't worry if it's not in the cards for you -- yet. "Dear God, I didn't even know that was supposed to be one of my dreams," says 24-year-old Julia Allison, "The Dating Life" columnist for AM New York.Put Off: Studying your MP3 player manual.
Why, why, why torture yourself? Instead, ask a friend to help you get the hang of your new gizmo. Says Double Agent Matthew Dworkin of Best Buy's famed Geek Squad, "Those booklets are usually written for more tech-savvy audiences." You'll have more fun if a tech-savvy friend helps you.Put Off: Washing your dog weekly.
Unless it's an absolute must, who needs the suds, the splashing, and the soggy fur? After all, it's not like he's headed to a cocktail party!
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2007.