Common Ground

  • Common Ground
  • October 2008
  • Dot your i's and Cross Your Knees
Common Ground Apr. 08

Stretching before tests? Breathing exercises after recess? For happy evidence of yoga’s increasing mainstream influence, consider that yogic techniques are beginning to pop up in after-school programs, gym classes and K-12 classrooms around the country.

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  • Me and You and Everyone
  • A new project documents the many expressions of interconnectedness across the globe

Few concepts are as slippery as “oneness.” Sure, the idea that all things are interconnected might appeal in the abstract. But trying to wrap your brain around what oneness actually means is a lot like trying to understand infinity or a bazillion dollars or the distance between here and the sun — it’s hard to conceptualize something that “big.” Among the daily distractions of work, kids, or that craving for a soy mocha, it seems simpler to leave the pursuit of oneness to the “woo woo” world — the meditation masters, the Buddhist monks, psychics, yogis and their ilk.

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  • Common Ground
  • August 2008
  • Open Up and Say Spa
  • "Integrative" dentistry aims to turn your frown upside down
Common Ground August. 08

For many of us, a trip to the dentist usually spells dread — in grape fluoride flavor. But time in the chair beneath the paper bib could be changing for the better. More and more dentists are incorporating spa-like practices to help make the usual rinse, spit (and sometimes drill) routine more relaxing — or, dare we say it — even enjoyable.

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  • Common Ground
  • July 2008
  • Peace at the Table
  • The Ayurvedic practice of food sadhana restores mindfulness to mealtime
Common Ground Apr. 08

Cooking and eating have always been high on my list of alltime favorite things to do. Visiting local farmers’ markets to pick out seasonal produce and concocting beautiful, healthy meals were two pleasures my ex and I often shared together. So when we broke up last summer, my connection to food felt broken as well. My enthusiasm for cooking vanished overnight, and I found myself on the infamous “break-up diet,” consisting of pretty much anything I could pop in my mouth, sans heat or preparation of any kind.

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  • What Dosha Are You?

Ayruveda, meaning “science of life,” is a 5,000 year-old practice for achieving greater life balance, originating in India. It includes suggested approaches to nutrition, physical activity, rest, relaxation and spiritual practice. According to Ayruvedic medicine, we are each a unique blend of three different doshas, or mind and body types. Everyone has a dominant dosha and is subject to particular imbalances due to stress, poor eating and sleeping habits.

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  • Common Ground
  • April 2008
  • Pasteurization Nation
  • How fresh foods are freaking out the feds, and why you should care
Common Ground Apr. 08

If you're not nuts about nuts (sorry, we just couldn't resist), the USDA's recent ruling requiring all store-sold raw almonds to be pasteurized probably passed under your radar. And it's true, for the average occasional nut-eater, the raw almond ban was unlikely to raise an eyebrow. After all, a nut's a nut right? How much difference could there be between pasteurized and unpasteurized?

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  • Common Ground
  • March 2008
  • Garbage In, Art Out
  • Three eco-mavericks are changing the way we make, stash and talk trash
Common Ground Mar. 08

We all know people — friends, co-workers, neighbors — who have embarked on some reductionist experiment or another. From the members of San Francisco's Compact Collective, to the devout followers of Rev. Billy's Church of Stop Shopping, to your ex who pledged to forego petroleum products or plastic grocery bags for a month, these determined downsizers were motivated by the dawning realization that, on a rapidly warming planet, there is no "away" to throw things to.

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  • What's With All the Cups?

When I was growing up I never liked the flavor of coffee. My parents always told me it was an acquired taste, and to just wait until I got to college. But somehow, my taste buds never cooperated.

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  • Common Ground
  • February 2008
  • What's Sex Got to Do with It?
  • Check your ism's at the door. One workshop aims to solve the so-called gender identity crisis
Common Ground Feb. 08

When Will Keepin, PhD, author and president of the Satyana Institute, a non-profit service and training organization, invited the audience to stand and participate in a group exercise, I felt myself gripped by a familiar panic.

I had intentionally chosen a "safe" seat in the back of the dimly lit room at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) where I had gathered with about 70 other people to hear Keepin discuss his new book Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation Between Women and Men (Hohm Press, Nov. '07). As someone who cringes at stuff as mundane as partner yoga, I was ready to bolt.

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  • Common Ground
  • January 2008
  • Breathe Easy
  • When it comes to indoor air quality, what we can't see can hurt us. Our ten easy tips for clearing the air
Common Ground Jan. 08

We are what we breathe. And unfortunately, the air inside our homes isn't always pretty.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health, estimates that the air inside our homes is a whopping two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Multiplying this by the fact that we spend as much as 90 percent of our time indoors results in a slew of health problems, ranging from dizziness and nausea to allergic reactions, asthma and even cancer.

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  • Common Ground
  • October 2007
  • Fashion's True Colors
Common Ground Oct. 07

Skeptics need only visit San Francisco's new Eco Citizen boutique to witness: Green is irrefutably the new black.

Just a short walk off Polk Street on Vallejo, this hotspot is a destination for shoppers with a conscience and a penchant for high-end design. "Green doesn't have to be crunchy or look like a potato sack," insists owner Joslin Van Arsdale...

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  • Common Ground
  • September 2007
  • Yield: Give yourself over to green wine
Common Ground Sept. 07

Gone are the days when organic wines needed to be regarded with suspicion. Now there's Yield Wine Bar, a place where you can surrender to all that green wines have to offer.

Tucked away on Third Street in the industrial heart of Dogpatch, Yield's simple but cozy design makes visitors feel right at home. The brainchild of owners Celine Guillou and Chris Tavelli, Yield is the first and only "green" wine bar in San Francisco committed to supporting sustainable winemaking and agriculture... 

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  • September 2007
  • Common Ground
  • Don't Panic, It's (Sort of) Organic

With more consumers ponying up the extra dough for organic products, and big companies vying for a piece of what was formerly a mom-and-pop pie, the debate wages on over what percent non-organic ingredients can rightly go into organic foods...

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  • August 2007
  • Common Ground
  • Bodywork On The Next Level: Six under-the-radar treatments to change your life
Common Ground Aug. 07

I once subscribed to the "no-pain-no-gain" school of thought. If it didn't make sweat pour from my brow and my heart leap from my chest, it wasn't worth doing. Going to a 90-minute, chaturanga-filled Ashtanga yoga class was only permissible if I had also run (at least) five miles earlier that day. Fast equaled good. Slow was bad.

Bodywork was the same. If I wasn't sucking in my breath and clenching my jaw, it wasn't deep enough.

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