Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yeast and Yoga

As part of this morning's well being, I am making what I believe is my first loaf of yeast bread for the year, although I had used yeast in the pizza dough yesterday.  This morning, I got the bread started before doing yoga, so yoga was the second thing rather than the first.

In any case, I was thinking about the relationship between yeast bread and yoga as I kneaded the dough.  I have always found kneading therapeutic as I get lost in the time that I focus on repeating the same thing over and over again.  And yet, that getting lost was simply from repetition.  That is not why I was thinking of a relationship between yeast and yoga this morning.

The yoga that I was exposed to at the end of last year (thanks to Isabella Jones at was about stretching, breathing, and relaxing in the oneness of mind and body.  My first FB post of the new year was even that I had begun my year with breathing and stretching.

It is the breathing, stretching, oneness, and quiet time that leads me to draw a parallel between yeast bread and yoga. The process of kneading is like breathing and stretching for the dough.  The stretching happens each time the dough is pushed away in the kneading process.  The breathing is when air is incorporated into the dough when the dough is pulled back toward the baker.  The breathing and stretching are not particularly quiet, but there is a quiet time when the breathing and stretching are done.  During that quiet time, the dough rises.  Leaving aside the science of rising yeast, it is like the growth of a spirit in the dough.  The quiet time in yoga is also a time to focus on my spiritual needs and to allow for spiritual growth and a deepening of my faith.

Where does the "oneness" enter the picture.  As the dough goes from being a mixture of separate ingredients into a beautiful whole that moves together and grows together as the dough becomes the bread for the day.

(As a P.S. for anyone who ever wants to know why I make my bread by hand, I just can't imagine getting such insights on life from putting ingredients in a bread machine to be mixed there.)

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