Thursday, October 24, 2013

Heavy Metal Yoga Revisited

A while back, I talked about the possible connection between yoga and the heavy metal music genre as well as a way that "negative" emotions may be processed in a positive way. Recently, I found this article that describes a metal yoga class and if it was closer geographically, I would be there with metaphorical bells on. I see what the teachers are doing (especially if you filter out the writer's cynicism). I get the idea on truly fundamental level that is thoroughly grounded in recent experiences with the purification process that comes with a regular practice.

Strange thing is, I don't think music and yoga mix well most of the time. When I'm practicing, I don't need the distraction. I want to be focused and I want to listen to Teacher's instructions and I want to take the experience inward as much as possible. I can't see how you would avoid working rhythmically which may be the point but I not sure I could do it without losing the breath with the movement and that's a challenge to me as it is. I think it's mostly a personal preference since I know the addition of music works very well for some but it's just normally just not for me.

But the experience described in the article with the low lighting and the more ambient stylings of fringe metal, I could see that creating an intense experience especially if someone was having trouble processing the "negative" emotions that may come up in a regular yoga practice.

Because yoga does pull it out of you. That's one of the revelations that has left me reeling a bit. I intellectually knew that a purification process would happen since I had read about it. I started feeling the effects within the first month even. But as the process continues and the meditations become deeper and the practice sessions become longer, more and more "stuff" comes bubbling up. Its jarring at times and disconcerting at others. Issues that you would have sworn had no bearing on the present come charging to the front of your mind along with the accompanying emotion that you no doubt suppressed at the time. Now you have to acknowledge it, express it and breath through it or suppress it and wait for it to come up another day. I choose breath most of the time but it's hard. The past is the past until you realize you're still living in parts of your past that you never let go. So you bend and you breath and let the emotion happen again only this time you experience it fully and let it go. Then the past is the past.

This is not necessarily a pretty process which brings us back to those negative emotions that may be associated with past situations. I can see denying the pain of the past and refusing the emotion that comes up simply from fear of that pain but if you can't get through it then it will always be there somewhere within your psyche, chewing its way through your system and manifesting in other ways. Letting the yoga practice ease this stuff out is better overall. But it can still be hard. And you won't find much open discussion about it online or elsewhere. Most are just looking for the physical exercise or they are chasing "bliss". You'll hear about the transformations and evolutions but I think the majority of yoga presented on the internet is coated with a thick layer of sugary sweetness that makes me want to go brush my teeth. I get chasing bliss but I'm not chasing the same bliss that I hear described most often.

Bliss for me is balance. Bliss is walking the middle road so that life becomes more full and alive and less reactive. The highs and lows are still there and will always be there as long as this body is part of the cycles of this world. But from the middle ground I can truly surrender to the highs and not succumb to the lows since I know the center. That is bliss. Surfing the center. Coasting through the troughs. Testing the stars at the crest. Returning to the center with a breath.

So the anchors and chains of the past have to go since you can't really surf the center when you are constantly being dragged into some past drama. But it's not going to be pleasant and that's why I think that the metal yoga would work. Here I stand in a dark room. With dark music. Staring down the past and daring it to come up so it can be fully realized and gone. Having slogged through some pretty wild experiences over the last month I can barely imagine what would come up and I may be wrong to feel so combative about facing those demons since those demons are just me on a bad day from long ago but I kind of like the idea of going on the offensive.

Or maybe it's just better to let it happen as a natural evolution. I'm not really far enough into this to advocate one way or the other. But I'm open to the ideas and that alone may be enough to scare some of those demons up and out on their own.

Here are the links for convenience and the curious:

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Flat Bread Solution

Western cooking is full of bread which makes it the instant challenge of any low carb/paleoish diet but there are substitutes and in some case the substitutes are better than the missing breads.

Take, for instance, this Pumpkin Paleo Flatbread recipe I found when I was looking for a replacement for corn tortillas. Corn is a grain so it's not paleo approved but it's better than a flour tortilla in a pinch. But I've been looking for a viable alternative for some time and I think I've found it.

Baking flour-free usually involves using a nut based flour substitute such as almond (which is crazy expensive) or something like tapioca flour (which is much more budget friendly). We will avoid the usual arguments about whether or not any kind of baking is paleo since I don't really do a strict paleo diet. I avoid sugar and wheat and so any way I can substitute and get to visit old favorites I'm all for.

So I need tortillas for things such as fish tacos and pulled pork and the stated recipe works perfect and can adapt to different ingredients. Basically you can replace the pumpkin with different starches such as baked sweet potato. I also used a generic gluten-free flour instead of straight tapioca and it seemed to work fine. They come out with a little bit of stretch and are very durable, more durable than corn tortillas by a long shot.

There is also dessert possibilities. Run the batter a little thin and the texture gets very much like crepes. So some sauteed fruit with some honey wrapped up and topped with goat cheese and more honey becomes a savory dessert. I'm pretty sure you could add some baking soda and powder and you should have gluten-free pancakes.

The next experiment involves using the sweet potato version with the pulled pork but I can see make a batch of these every Sunday to keep through the week to supplement lunches and such.

Here is the link to the recipe for convenience: Pumpkin Paleo Flatbread