Before Yoga – Eat Pancakes; After Yoga – Eat Pancakes
Fluffy pancakes dripping with warm, real, grass-fed, hormone-free cow butter and delicious pure maple syrup. Yes, that's right, pancakes. Not gluten-free, not dairy-free, not egg or sugar-free, just pure, fluffy, the way grandma used to make 'em pancakes, stacked to the hilt on a plate in front of you with a glorious cup of Joe and some fruit. I don't care which fruit you choose: bananas (cause you can get em year round), strawberries, blueberries fresh or frozen. Hey, maybe you are a chocolate chip pancake fan, or chia and cinnamon. How ever you stack it, I am going to show you how you can practice yoga while enjoying a hearty stack of flapjacks right now. Shanti Om.
Everyone thinks yoga is a bunch of body-twisting postures which contort your form into strange positions for the purpose of both fitness and enlightenment. And though this is true, to an extent, yoga is truly so much more. It is more correct to say that yoga is a state of mind, and you can practice that state of mind in any situation, at any time. In fact, the more you can practice in random, mundane situations, the better of a yogi you become.
I choose the yoga of pancakes to illustrate the fact that yoga is not a strict dogma of practices which limit, but is instead a mindset, which when implemented in its fullest, liberates.
Before ever practicing and embodying yoga, one might sit down to eat a stack of fluffy pancakes and enjoy them with very little thought. Maybe even while watching television or reading the daily paper, maybe with the companionship of Aunt Jamima or Mrs Butterworth.
As yoga is brought into one's life, the experience of eating pancakes begins to change. It starts with a deeper awareness of the body and its relationship to the foods one is consuming. Perhaps one newer to the practice of yoga may suddenly decide that they don't jive with fake syrup, or that wheat flour pancakes are preferred. Later, as the practice deepens, gluten-free might come into play and an awareness of butter – real or not – starts to matter. Perhaps there comes a time when the yoga practitioner is not feeling the pancake vibe at all and instead feels the need to eat lighter, fresher or more “crunchy” foods.
All of these shifts reflect the refinement process in the mind of the yogi.
As consciousness begins to truly take a seat in the awareness of the yogi an equilibrium takes hold which is less and less affected by outside circumstances and input.
Instead, the yogi starts to influence his or her surroundings, and those things which are consumed are likewise transmuted through the alchemical field created by the yogic mind.
Now, pancakes become once again pancakes, as enjoyed in the beginning, but now somehow enhanced by the observing mind. The yogi now participates fully in the act of eating and with every bite the witness mind engages, transforming the act of eating pancakes (or doing anything else, for that matter) into a yogic practice and a holy moment.
The yoga of pancakes is not unlike the yoga of parenting or the yoga of bike-riding. It is synonymous with bhakti yoga, karma yoga and mantra yoga. The yoga of anything or anything yoga is the conscious doing of a thing, anything, which brings you into a deeper experience with that thing. It is the allowing of any moment, of any task, of any engagement to become the gateway to the eternal holy moment of presence. With awareness, everything becomes yoga – be it dish-washing, child-rearing, sun-salutations, mantra or pancakes.
When a yogi eats fluffy pancakes dripping with warm, real, grass-fed, hormone-free butter and pure maple syrup, they do so with consciousness and presence, allowing them to over-ride all else. A pancake eaten yogically is a pancake fully surrendered to, with no preconceived notions, no limitations, no expectations and no labels. It is an occasion to experience the god-self through the filling of the senses...a pratyahara moment which gives way to a pancake meditation and a transcendent experience that defies even the pancake.
So if you love pancakes and you think eating them can't align with your yoga, or you are a yogi and you think you have to give up pancakes, or anything really, just remember this. Yoga is a state of mind. States of mind are stronger and more potent than any physical object or experience. It is the way you choose to respond to an experience or thing that determines the quality of that experience or thing. The Yoga of Pancakes can be applied to every moment and every act. It is the ghee in the supermarket of choices. Get clear. Eat pancakes, do everything, like a yogi.
May Bliss Be in Your House Today - As it is in Mine.