Silent Mind

My life is full of words. If I’m not writing an article, I’m writing in my journal. If I’m not blogging here, I’m blogging here. If I’m in the shower or walking the dog or cooking a meal, I’m “writing” in my head. Other times I’m reading books (more words) and magazines and newspapers.

Mostly, this is good. I love words. But I realize it’s also important to empty my mind of the 26 letters of the alphabet that are constantly buzzing around in various arrangements in my head.

We live in a world with constant noise: TV, construction, motors, whirring coffee machines – even tranquil spas and yoga classes play music. What’s that about?

Anyway, as part of my home yoga practice, I’m trying to incorporate a time to be silent. I’m not chanting a mantra (more words) or telling myself, “When this is over I need to write that thought down!”

Of course it seems our brains are always full of thought (at least my female brain is…my husband swears he’s thinking of “nothing” if I ask him. Actually, since I’m on the topic, what do babies think about? Can you have thoughts without language?)

Anyway, sitting in silence is an attempt to empty my mind…and to simply experience the quiet. A need that my bloggy friend Kathryn describes as a part of our days that is sorely missing in these times. It’s nice to invite it back into my life.Š

Wasa with Parmesan Herb Seasoning

Ingredients

½ teaspoon chopped basil
¼ teaspoon chopped marjoram
¼ teaspoon chopped thyme
½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pieces WASA Oat Crispbread (may substitute WASA Multigrain, Sourdough rye or Hearty Rye Crispbread)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º
Mix herbs and oil in small bowl. Brush mixture onto crispbread.
Mix parmesan cheese with salt and pepper to taste in a separate small bowl. Sprinkle parmesan cheese mixture on crispbread.
Place crispbread on baking sheet line with parchment and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 147
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 186 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Protein 3 g
Calcium 21 mg

Child’s Pose

Alone in a cabin in the mountains, I put the kettle on the stove. My husband left yesterday to return to the city, and I have a few days to myself before more relatives arrive. I want to take this time to better develop my “home” yoga practice.

After hot oatmeal, tea, and a refreshing shower, I’m ready. In the past, I would quickly find myself intimidated or overwhelmed at the thought of practicing yoga without a teacher and other students, but I recently read an article that put me at ease. It suggested starting with one pose – just one – and building from there.

One pose?

Well. In that case, Child’s Pose.

So that is what’s on my agenda as I walk over to the blue mat rolled out on the floor. It seems appropriate to “open” my practice, so I sit with my legs crossed and chant three Oms (can you believe it – no other voices to drown out mine).

Then I got on my hands and knees and folded back into Child’s Pose. I stayed in the active position instead of the passive position.

I’ve always loved this pose. A wonderful stretch. Also – and I’m not sure if the yoga experts would agree here – but to me it feels like a gratitude pose, bowing down and saying Thanks. Finally, it’s a relaxation pose – not just for the body, but for the mind.

I try to let go of my worries. I can hear the fire crackle in the woodstove behind me. I feel it’s warmth on my back. I sink into the Earth as the tops of my feet and the palms of my hands press into the ground. After a few minutes I lift my head. For awhile I turn around and gaze at the yellow flames through the woodstove’s glass door.

Not bad for my first day, I think. Tomorrow I’ll really shake things up with Child’s Pose and Tadasana. Š

Better Choices

Baked pita chips, hummus, organic raisins, lemon pepper tuna…United Airlines to the rescue!

Seriously, I am sitting here on a plane munching away, so grateful that the airline serves a snack box called the “Right Bite.”

When I woke up this morning, I had a plan. I was going to swing by a center to drop off a car load of items, run by the UPS store to ship a package, drop the dog off at the kennel, pack for my trip, then pick up my husband from work. But somehow I got behind. Way behind.

Not only did I forget to bring apples and trail mix for the plane ride, I forgot to eat breakfast. And lunch. When I flopped down in my seat, I was sweating and breathless (we nearly missed the flight) and very hungry. I flipped through the food options and knew I would be able to get my body back in synch with the Right Bite instead of having to resort to “snacks” full of empty calories and sugar.

I’m glad big companies are becoming more sensitive to offering healthier food choices. I keep reading the debates about replacing sodas and candy in school vending machines with healthier alternatives. The other day I was doing some freelance editorial work for a large newspaper. The building included a cafeteria – mostly pizzas and burgers and fries, but I found a vegetarian station. And I noticed an announcement that they would be having a “sustainable foods” day, offering locally grown meats and produce.

I’m not sure if these actions are coming from consumer demand or a greater awareness on the company’s part (or both), but I’m thankful for the trend.Š