THE GREAT SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS OF 2008
EXPERIMENT NUMBER ONE: SPROUTED ALMONDS
Dharma's teacher training program includes a lot of "homework." During the first month it included a very specific daily breathing-concentration-meditation sitting practice, teaching free karma yoga classes and coloring a page of Oms (which is very meditative).
If you miss a day of the sitting practice, you are not allowed to eat solid food after 4PM the following day. If you miss three times, you don't get the next plan. Of course it's on the honor system.
This time we have a different sitting plan, with different breathing and concentration practices (including Trataka) and a different meditation focus.
We also received a diet plan.
This month we are to start each day not with caffeine but a stomach-cleansing elixer of hot water and lemon, with or without sweetener.
It actually works; yesterday after sitting I just had to smell the coffee as it brewed and it had the desired effect (ie; an elimination round).
The other thing we must drink each morning is Dharma's Breakfast Blend - a smoothie consisting of one banana, a handful of sprouted almonds and juice or soymilk.
At first I was skeptical; as a former food combiner I had issues with the idea of mixing a sweet fruit with any other type of food.
And I had no idea to sprout almonds.*
Here's what you do:
-Purchase raw almonds.
-Cover with water just above the level of the almonds.
-Soak for ten hours.
-Drain the water. Cover the almonds and wait two-to-three hours.
-By now the almonds should be sprouted. Little white nubs will appear.
-To make it easier remove the skin (which is said to be toxic), pour the almonds into boiling water for a few seconds (not long enough for them to cook or to turn yellow). Drain immediately and rinse with cold water.
-Peel some more
-After two days, store the almonds in the refrigerator. Change the water every two days.
I've been blending the almonds and bananas with apple cider. Not only is it tasty, but the stomach has no problem with it. Still, I may try making it with tender coconut milk tomorrow, for an all-raw senation.
Our diet plan also includes consuming at least two items each day from a list of solid foods that ranges from salads, sprouts and raw or steamed vegetables to brown rice, tofu and sprouted breads (If you skip either "diet," you cannot have solid food after 4PM the following day. For me, this is plenty of incentive to stay on track).
Fortunately, the solid diet is the same as what I usually eat.
But even afer just four days of hot water/lemon and the Breakfast Blend, I'm feeling leaner and meaner (actually, I feel a lot nicer) and less hungry.
EXPERIMENT NUMBER TWO: LAS CUCARACHAS
I have not knowingly killed a cockroach since before last year's teacher training.
This is done in the name of Ahimsa, or non-harming of other creatures. (Ahimsa is the first and therefore the most important of yoga's ethical guidelines. As we learned last weekend, Patanjali always lists the most important item first).
In yoga, each living being is thought to have the same inner light or Atman or soul; in other words, deep down we are all the same.
If you really believe this - and I'm trying to - them you have compassion for all beings - from the jagoff in the BMW who cuts in front of you to the poor little cockroach trying to eke out an existence in your kitchen.
As Dharma says, even the cockroach has a family and just wants to live its life.
As his disciple Andrei Ram says, even killing one cockroach is a step off the path.
And, according to Yoga Sutra II-34, you're just as guilty if you let someone else kill them if it's done within your sphere of influence.
So I've been doing my best to keep the kitchen clean.
It's not working.
A whole family is living with me.
I'm watching them grow up.
I dread it when I don't see them; I dread it when I do see them.
So tonight I bought some Pandan Leaves at the Asian market.
Apparently cab drivers in Singapore Malaysia leave them in the car to keep the cockroaches at bay.
I'm hoping for the best.....
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*Apparently sprouted almonds are easier to digest and more nutritious than their plain bretheren: "Sprouting is the key to preparing many food items that traditionally are thought to need cooking. In order to make them optimally digestible, a raw foodist will simply soak seeds, nuts, grains and legumes, causing them to germinate." More here.