Sweet Potatoes the size of grapefruit.

It was 5 pm, time to start the hour long yoga class. I turned the music down so Tibetan bells sang quietly in the background. It was a small class of four. Large classes can amp up the energy but I like the quiet intimacy of smaller groups.

“Good evening everyone, welcome to Slow Flow… “, I began but was quickly interrupted by Moe.
“Excuse me, when does this class end?”

“At 6, one hour.” I replied.

Moe said “Oh” and lay back down.

“Now take a big inhale…” I continued.

Moe sat back up and asked how long it took to cook a potato. “I put it in the oven just before I left the house.” She said.

Curly sat up and asked, “Regular or sweet?”

“Sweet of course” said Moe. We all murmured our approval.

Larry stayed prone but asked how big it was.

Moe made the size of a grapefruit with her hands.

Shep, with eyes closed, asked what temperature the oven was set.

“300” answered Moe.

“It’ll be fine, can’t really overlook a sweet potato” added Shep.

Everyone lay back down and I started class…again.

Unfortunately all I could think about were sweet potatoes.
Funny I never liked them as a kid, wouldn’t even try them, marshmallows added or not, just not happening. I love them now. Isn’t it funny how palates change? Acorn squash is also added to the list of things I now eat. Then again enough butter and thyme works on a myriad of vegetables. Honeybun likes squash but not sweet potatoes. (He had a terrible experience as a child.) I wonder if he’d notice if I mashed up sweet potato and put it in an acorn squash shell. He’d be mad if I tricked him. I’m getting hungry.



This internal monologue went on through the warm up, standing and balancing poses, until I glanced at my watch. Holy Hot Potato, I have 15 minutes to cool everyone down and go into final relaxation. Where did the time go? The thing is time didn’t go anywhere, my mind did. I managed to shorten the class by 15 minutes because I think 45 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a sweet potato to cook in a 300 degree oven.
Moe said “Wow that was fast!”
Larry, Curly and Shep echoed her sentiment. “We must have been in the zone!”

“Uh, I have a confession to make.” (Yes, I really did confess.)

Dharana (dah-rah-nah), the sixth limb of classic yoga, is the practice of roping in our wandering minds. It’s concentrating and focusing, and it takes a lot of effort to disengage from distractions whether you are a student, a teacher or a chef. Pranayama (pra-nah-ya-ma) , listening to, controlling and feeling your breath, helps. Sometimes repeating a mantra or intention will draw the mind back in as well.

I don’t recommend chanting “One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato, more”, but then again…

Namaste- what will we have for dinner today?

What’s the buzz?

 

IMG_0703 Dharana

The peepers are out today, chirping away.  Are those crickets too or is it white noise again, the steady buzzing in my head.

I heard this sound 3 years ago and decided it was OM, the sound of the universe talking to me. It wasn’t. It’s tinnitus. I know some people have a terrible time with this condition but I don’t. Most likely because I like pretending that it is indeed the universe talking to me.

Last week I went for my annual ear appointment to see if my mild hearing loss was changing. It’s not like I’m all that concerned nor do I notice.

Me: “I have an audiologist appointment today.”

Honeybun: “When is it?”

Me: “What?”

Getting your hearing tested is fun. You sit in a booth with big headphones and lift a finger every time you hear a sound. I decided that I was going to put all of my yogic powers of concentration towards improving my hearing. I was going to focus.

The “hoot” sound moved from ear to ear.

Me: “Wow, that sounds like an owl. Wouldn’t it be cool if each tone was the start of a bird song. I can name that bird in one note! That would be so impressive. Actually an owl sounds like “who cooks for you”.  Bear hoot.”

I got so involved in my inner dialogue that I ignored the new “ping” sound. I have no idea how many seconds passed before I realized I was no longer lifting my finger at anything. I almost stopped the session and asked for a do-over. My hearing loss is at the same level and so is the white noise. I’m okay with that.

Sometimes we hyper focus and miss all kinds of stuff. Sometimes we don’t focus and miss all kinds of stuff.

I was at the ATM depositing a check thinking about nothing really.

Me: “This is taking forever and what the heck is that beeping sound?”

Was I standing there for seconds? Minutes? I have visions of bank security reviewing video footage wondering why I took so long removing my debit card.

Staying focused isn’t easy. Dharana (dara-na) is the 6th limb of the 8 limb path of yoga. It’s training the mind to concentrate on one thing. The idea is to notice when concentration takes a wander and bring it back. It’s the beginning of meditation.

How often are we hyper focused or lacking focus physically or mentally? What are we missing out on? Can we practice listening to nothing?

Wait, what did I say?  I SAID NAMASTE!