The Sweet Potato and the Flexible Heart

Saturday morning with Jordan is my one can’t-break commitment with myself. I take Jordan’s 90-minute yoga class in TriBeCa whenever I’m not traveling. I go as much for the stories he tells during the first 15 minutes as for the workout that follows.


Photo credit: j / f / photos on Flickr

After his story today, he took us into practice by asking the usual question: “Please let me know if anyone has any injuries or physical issues I can help you with.”

For once, I wanted to pipe up and say, “I have an emotional injury.” I’m going through a rough transition in my life right now and I have some emotional work to do. That’s the stuff I address through yoga. I get on the mat, put my hands on the ground and give my mind the space it needs to wrap around my life. To process.

After seven months of regular yoga (and that after a decade of trying to find a type of yoga I enjoyed), I feel less angry when I didn’t even know I was angry to begin with. I have less stress but also more clarity about areas of my life that have to change.

Jordan shared with us about his time rooting around yesterday on his farm upstate where he’s been growing all manner of vegetables: carrots, beets, squash and tomatoes. With all of those, a farmer can see evidence of their labor as the hints of the vegetable push through the dirt or blossom on the vine.

After almost 100 days in the ground, his sweet potatoes still showed no sign of progress. He’d never grown potatoes before and admitted the sweet potato patch was the hairiest. Snakes and frogs had taken up residence in the overgrowth. Yesterday, he decided to just dig in and root around to see if he could feel anything.

From my yoga mat at my favorite spot in the front right-hand corner of the room, I watched as he reached behind his back and then held up the largest sweet potato I’ve ever seen. He harvested about half the patch yesterday and pulled up 60 sweet potatoes.

He drew for us a parallel between growing potatoes and our yoga practice. One can do yoga for months or years without seeing the real fruits of the work. Sure, your butt might get a little boost and you might feel more flexible.

However, (at least for me) the real results of the daily practice are the feeling of honoring a personal ritual, finding my center and feeling more calm and patient. One may practice for a long spell before feeling and seeing this inward work show itself in our day-to-day lives.

So, I’ll keep practicing. Yoga isn’t all about having a flexible body. It’s also about having a flexible and resilient heart.


2 responses to “The Sweet Potato and the Flexible Heart

  1. Reblogged this on lifeoutsideoflaw and commented:
    Oh my dear, yes

  2. Cheryl, thanks for coming by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s