In the D.C. area, the weather in May provides plenty of incentive to get out and get moving before summer’s heat and humidity set in. You can fuel that activity with fresh produce from newly reopened farmers markets or grab a peak-season mango from the supermarket. It’s all good.
The Wellness Checklist for May
Salute the sun
The capital goes gaga for yoga during DC Yoga Week, which is May 15 to 21 this year. During the sixth annual event, 10 studios will offer free and $5 classes for students of all ages and abilities. For example, Flow Yoga near Logan Circle has a free Vinyasa Flow class on May 16 at 12:30 p.m. and a free Yoga Ecstasy Hour on May 21 at 5:30 p.m. Register in advance with each studio, as space is limited.
The celebration kicks off May 15 with Yoga on the Mall, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. This huge communal yoga practice near the Washington Monument will be led by local teachers and famed yogini Shiva Rea. Kids can take part in a special class from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
New this year is what’s being dubbed a yoga flash mob on May 21. The Asia Heritage Foundation invites everyone, including the family dog, to gather at 10 a.m. in John Marshall Memorial Park (between C Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, next to the Canadian Embassy) for an hour of mass sun salutations.
Why do any of this? Aside from the fun, there’s mounting evidence that yoga is good for you. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety and lower heart rates and blood pressure. And a recent study found that yoga can counter atrial fibrillation, a common and potentially dangerous heart arrhythmia.
Read about yoga in next week’s MisFits column.
They’re not local, but mangoes should be at their peak starting this month. Sweet and juicy, the tropical fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and is packed with fiber. You can peel and eat them just as they are (that’s my favorite way), add them to smoothies or build a salsa around them.
Registered dietitian Keri Gans, author of “The Small Change Diet,” says adding mangoes to the shopping list can help fruit lovers add variety. “People need to be a little more adventurous in their diets,” she says. “Otherwise, they get bored.” Gans suggests trading your customary banana for a mango, “at least for a little while.” She likes to use mango slices to sweeten her oatmeal or plain Greek yogurt.
A word of caution, though: With sweet fruits such as mango, portion control is key. “One half of a small mango is a serving size,” Gans says. “Even fruit has calories, and they have a way of adding up, even if they’re nutritious calories.”
To market, to market
Many of the area’s seasonal farmers markets open in May. In the District, the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market (17th and Lamont and Mount Pleasant streets NW) is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting May 7. In Alexandria, the West End Farmers Market (4800 Brenman Park Dr.) is open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And the Greenbelt Farmers Market (101 Centerway) is open Sundays starting May 8.