Mount Hood

Say yes to yoga with a sun salutation

A yoga sequence anyone can try

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

Yoga is a great exercise that can both energize and relax the body. According to, yoga has numerous benefits, including decreasing stress and improving strength and flexibility. Try out this yoga sequence — a sun salutation — whether a beginner or a pro.

Take as much time as needed to perform the first and second cycles of the sun salutation. It’s more important to do each pose correctly than to finish the sequence as quickly as possible.

Warm up for a few minutes by sitting comfortably and just focusing on breathing. Stretch out by rotating the neck, wrists, shoulders and ankles. Once ready, slowly move to a standing position and begin the sequence.


Mountain pose: Stand with a straight spine and feet shoulder-width apart. Relax the shoulders while engaging the core.

Upward salute: Take a deep breath in and reach arms straight overhead. Keep pulling shoulders away from the ears.

Forward fold: Exhale while reaching fingertips down to the floor. Keep the back flat, and bend the knees if there is too much strain in the hamstrings.

Half forward fold: Inhale and place hands on shins while looking up and straight ahead. Engage the core to maintain a straight spine.

Lunge: On the exhale, move the left leg straight back and keep the right leg bent at a 90º angle to come into a lunge. Distribute body weight equally between each leg.

Chaturanga: Move into a push-up position on the inhale. With the exhale, lower down towards the floor first the chest, then the pelvis. Come all the way to the floor if needed, and adjust the feet so that the top of each foot is touching the ground.

Upward-facing dog: Breathe in and press into hands to lift the whole body off the floor, including legs. Keep leg muscles active while pulling shoulders down and back from ears. Look straight ahead or upwards if it’s comfortable.

Downward-facing dog: Exhale and adjust the feet so that the soles are now touching the floor, then push up and back into an inverted V-shape. Straighten the spine and bend the knees if necessary.

Lunge: Take a breath in and move the left leg forward into a lunge.

Forward fold: Exhale and relax into forward fold.

Upward salute: Inhale and reach arms upwards.

Mountain pose: Return to an engaged standing position with an exhale.

Repeat this cycle three to four times, then take a few minutes, either sitting comfortably or lying on back, to cool down and once again focus on breathing.

A demonstration of the sun salutation sequence can be found on our website,, and our Instagram @thewesternhowl.

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Addressing anxiety by being in the now

Join the Student Health and Counseling Center for weekly mindfulness meditation sessions

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

This fall term has brought a new service to Western students through the Student Health and Counseling Center: mindfulness meditation sessions are being held weekly over Zoom by counselors Emily Horak and Bliss Boutin.

Western’s administration requested that the Student Health and Counseling Center create a group in light of common stressors that students were facing, including concerns about COVID-19. Horak and Boutin volunteered to tackle these stressors.

“Mindfulness is something that we’re both really passionate about,” Horak said. “We heard that there was a need to start a group kind of like this, and the two of us volunteered to form it.”

During these mindfulness meditation sessions, students get time in a group setting to process the stress going on in their lives and understand ways of coping with them. Students not only learn about mindfulness, but they also practice mindfulness exercises. Horak and Boutin said they aim to utilize a combination of group counseling and mindfulness.

“With classes being online we’re really wanting it to feel less like a lecture and more interactive,” Horak said. 

She hopes they will achieve this by expanding their group. Students do not need to have prior knowledge or experience with mindfulness to join these sessions. The goal of this mindfulness meditation group is to help any Western students who may be experiencing stress. Horak and Boutin said there is no pressure for prospective students. 

“We just want it to feel very welcoming and inviting, and it’s not meant to feel formal for anyone,” Boutin said.

The mindfulness meditation group meets every Thursday at 3 p.m. until Dec. 10. It is free for students who have paid the fall term health service fee. Contact the Student Health and Counseling Center at 503-838-8313 if interested in joining.

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A-plus study tips for upcoming exams

Ideas to improve your next study session

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

Midterms are looming and finals always come upon us too quickly to prepare for. It’s probably a broken record by now that cramming is not the best way to study, but it’s true; according to, one long study session generally does not help to truly memorize the information. Instead, plan ahead and utilize these study tips for that big exam.

Firstly, delegate time within the week or so before a test to just study. Find a few one-hour windows to sit down and only focus on the exam material. During these times, get rid of any distractions that might take away from studying, like getting up to snack or checking phone notifications. Take a ten-minute break halfway through the study session if need be, but be sure to come back to it and finish strong.

As for how to study the material, different strategies work for different people depending on their learning style. If reading out of a textbook, try taking notes and writing the information in a new way as opposed to simply copying it. Annotate the readings with highlights, definitions, questions and summaries.

Another approach to try is making flashcards. This will allow for reviewing the key information all at once, and the process of writing or drawing the necessary terms will help the mind memorize them too. Students can also look over old homework, labs and assignments to see how the material was applied. Take the time to redo some earlier problems and questions from memory to identify what mostly needs to be studied.

If friends or family aren’t too busy, attempt to teach them the material. Explaining a concept to another person gives students the opportunity to organize their thoughts and information to help solidify the knowledge. This can be especially helpful for auditory learners to hear the information spoken aloud in a conversational format.

On the night before the exam, it is imperative to get enough sleep. During sleep, information gets consolidated or committed to long-term memory, meaning it can be recalled later on. Plus, fatigue makes it difficult to focus — exactly the opposite of what students need during their test. Study in the days before the test and head to bed early the night before in order to be best prepared.

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Go nuts for donuts at the Donut Bar

Monmouth’s Donut Bar serves up delectable treats

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

The Donut Bar has been serving fresh, handmade donuts to Monmouth residents since September of 2019. Since their one-year anniversary has passed, owner Eric Brown says their first year of business has gone very well.

“We’ve been really, really blessed,” Brown said. “Luckily, the community has been pretty awesome. They came through.”

Brown and his family first opened the Donut Bar as part of a lifelong dream. Monmouth’s need for a donut shop paired with the opportunity to help out his community at the Limitless Ministries church was what pushed Brown to create The Annex food truck lot and open for business. They are fulfilling their mission to serve the public in a number of ways, including hiring Western students, offering a space in The Annex for another local business, hosting Bible study groups Wednesday evenings — in person and over Zoom — and helping to fund their church.

“We’re fundraising the whole month of November for our church,” Brown said. They are selling $5 raffle tickets, one per customer, to enter a drawing for a free dozen donuts. “Without (Limitless Ministries), we’re not here,” he said.

The Donut Bar offers many services and great deals on top of giving back. They work with DoorDash to deliver their fresh donuts, and they fulfill pre-orders for all types of events. Stamp cards are now available, and anyone can receive a free donut on their birthday. Plus, for Western students, the Donut Bar offers a 10% discount with the presentation of a student ID card.

Not sure what to try first? The shop personally recommends the apple fritters, maple bacon donuts, Oreo donuts or s’mores donuts. Customers can even build their own donuts for endless flavor possibilities. If their extensive donut menu isn’t enough, they also offer a few different sandwiches.

Looking ahead to the future, Brown is planning to open another food trailer, The Loaded Grill, which serves deli-style sandwiches and barbecue. They hope to be open by the end of November. For The Annex, Brown has some ideas to upgrade the lot with ample seating and design it to create a hometown feel. Additionally, they have a long-term goal to open a permanent location Donut Bar cafe in town.

The Donut Bar is located at 191 Monmouth Ave. N at The Annex behind Limitless Ministries church. Visit them from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to check out their daily specials, and pre-order some donuts through DoorDash, Facebook Messenger or by calling them at (503) 798-1328.

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Three lively themed lunches to try

Get creative with these themed lunch boxes

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

If anyone is looking to spice up their lunch game, get creative with themed lunch boxes. Making food that sticks to a theme can make the assembly process more enjoyable, especially when friends join in. Try out these ideas for themed lunch boxes, and have some fun customizing.


2 slices of bread

Sandwich filling of choice

1 large bell pepper, yellow, orange or red

1 apple

Crackers or chips

Using a circle cookie cutter or a drinking glass, cut two circles out of bread. Use a knife to shape the circles into a point on one end. Place sandwich filling on one piece of bread, then place the second piece of bread on top. Cut out a semicircle from a heel of bread for the top of the acorn. Position on top and adhere with nut butter if desired. 

For the produce: cut a large slice of bell pepper, then use small leaf-shaped cutters to create leaves. Other products can be substituted to make leaves, like cheese, melon or fruit leather. Next, cut a large slice of apple and carve an apple shape into the peel.

Finally, arrange each element into a lunch box. On one side, add a desired crunchy snack like pita chips, crackers or pretzels.

Recipe from


2 red mini sweet peppers, sliced

1 mandarin orange, peeled and segmented

1 golden kiwi, sliced

½ cup sugar snap peas

¼ cup blueberries

½ cup red seedless grapes

1 large spinach wrap

2 ounces sliced turkey

½ cup baby spinach, chopped

1 tablespoon hummus

1 slice provolone cheese

Assemble lunch box with produce in rainbow order. Also feel free to replace produce with another ingredient of personal preference, like bananas for yellow or sweet potatoes for orange.

Lay wrap on flat surface. Spread with hummus and top with cheese, turkey and spinach. Roll up tightly and slice into one-inch thick rounds.

Recipe from

For an additional recipe, check out this story on our website at


2 whole wheat bread slices

Sandwich filling of choice

1 cup blueberries

8-10 apple slices

1 lemon wedge

Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese, enough for six stars

½ cup brown rice or quinoa

3-4 snap peas

1 broccoli floret

Use a fish-shaped cookie cutter on two slices of bread. Add sandwich filling to these pieces. For the fish’s eye, cut a small circle from Mozzarella cheese. Put toothpick in blueberry, then through the circle of cheese and through the top of the sandwich.

Drop blueberries in the bottom half of the main dish and arrange apple slices above them to resemble the ocean surface. Rub apple slices with lemon wedge to help prevent browning. Place fish sandwich on top of blueberries.

Next, cut cheese into starfish shapes, and place in a side container. For the final dish, create turtles out of the broccoli and snap peas. Use the broccoli floret for the shell, and slice snap peas to resemble flippers and a head. Arrange these pieces over rice or quinoa to complete the turtle. 

Recipe from

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Monmouth says farewell to favored food trucks

Downtown food truck pod demolished to make way for Monmouth Commons

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

On Oct. 28, demolition began of the Neighborhood Market and Deli and the adjacent food truck lot. To many, this change was sudden, but according to Monmouth Community Development Director Suzanne Dufner, this project has been in the works for a while — at least a year and a half, she recalled.

Nick Dhote — owner of the Neighborhood Market and Deli and the property leased out to food trucks — and Salem real estate brokers Sim Dhote and Baset Shagrun submitted a design review application through Studio 3 Architecture to the city back in March. They proposed a new multi-use building deemed the Monmouth Commons. The ground level is to be commercial space, nearly half of which is already allocated to the Neighborhood Market and Deli. Two more businesses — allegedly a restaurant and a coffee shop — will occupy the rest of the ground floor. There will also be three floors of apartments built above this business space for a total of 27 two-bedroom spaces.

Nick Dhote and partners are enthusiastic about this project.

“We are so happy and excited to bring something new and (exciting) to the city of Monmouth,” Sim Dhote said via Facebook. Those involved in creating the Monmouth Commons hope to meet the demands of Monmouth residents by providing new living spaces and a place for desired businesses.

These plans were approved by Monmouth’s Planning Commission on May 20, 2020. According to Brian Etienne at Tucky’s food truck, the food truck owners were originally informed that they would need to leave by the end of August. Etienne said Tucky’s began looking for a new location at that point.

“We were going to have to move eventually,” Etienne said, “but in some way I feel we were hoping we would be able to get through 2020 and have an opportunity to rebuild what we had lost financially.”

Etienne said Dhote contacted the food trucks on Oct. 26, informing them that the Neighborhood Market and Deli would be moved out by Oct. 28. The next day, Dhote told them they would need to move out that night so demolition could begin.

Both Etienne and the owners of Lonney’s Lunch Wagon say the situation is bittersweet.

“I miss seeing our customers more than anything,” Etienne said. However, both food trucks are embracing the change and are looking forward to the future.

“Even though we had to leave,” Lonney’s said, “(there’s) always other opportunities out there so we always continue to look and work forward, always (pushing) on.”

Tucky’s plans to move their business to Springfield, OR and is in the process of finalizing location details. In the meantime, Tucky’s is offering dinner delivery service to the Monmouth and Independence area. Check out their online store at to place a dinner order by 3 p.m. Also follow them on Facebook and Instagram @tuckyskitchen to stay updated and get access to deals.

As for Lonney’s, they plan to use their time to renovate their trailer for the winter season and get set up at a nearby space in Independence. While closed for now, customers can get excited for easier online ordering and more Lonney’s merchandise. Follow Lonney’s on Instagram @lonneyslunchwagon to get the latest information.

Taj India Food Cart, the final truck that was located at the food truck pod, has relocated to Independence. Their new address is at the Space Age gas station: 1082 Monmouth St. in Independence. Contact them at (503) 422-8299.

The Monmouth Commons expects to begin construction in July 2021. They anticipate it will take 11 months to finish, though it could take as long as 18 months due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations. 

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Time to unwind: how to destress in these stressful times

Take it easy with these quick tips for relaxing

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

We’re just over a week into November, and so much has happened already. From election stress to the perpetual class and work load, it’s safe to assume that many of us could use a break by now. Read on for some tips to destress and relax.

One tip that most anyone will recommend is to practice breathing techniques; these can be used any time of day, no matter how busy someone is. Sit, stand or lie down comfortably and relax muscles, then take in a deep, slow breath through the nose. Count to five, then breathe out through the mouth for another five counts. Continue for at least three minutes if time allows.

Getting outside can also reduce stress. Being out in nature can be very calming, and exercising is a proven stress reducer. Take 10 minutes or more to lightly exercise by walking around town. Enjoy the sights and take this time to clear the mind and just focus on the present. Remember to bundle up if the weather calls for it.

On the same track, doing any exercise can be helpful to relieving stress. Do an at-home workout, perform a yoga sequence, head to the gym or go for a jog. An exercise session produces endorphins — stress- and pain-relieving hormones — and allows a break from stressors. 

Another strategy for destressing is to take a break from the things that are contributing to anxiety if possible. This can include social media, news updates, family members or roommates. Let housemates know that some alone time is needed, and spend this time with phone notifications turned off. 

During these social breaks, do something that will reduce stress. For some, this may be catching up on projects, while for others, this might be something totally removed from work and school. Enjoy a favorite hobby — reading, drawing, playing music or watching movies, to name a few — take a nap, meditate, take a bath or try writing about things that are causing stress. Venting in a journal or identifying what is stressing someone out can be a great release of pent-up frustration.

Remember that mental health is something that needs to be nurtured along with physical health. If anyone is really struggling with stress and anxiety, contact someone who can help and provide support.

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