Think back to your last meal. How heavy was the weight of the food on your tongue? Could you sense the texture as it dissolved from solid to liquid and slid down your throat?
We are bombarded by advice about what to eat, yet how much focus is given to the how of eating? Taking a look at the process of eating can lead right into the heart of yoga. An ancient science that includes postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and chanting, yoga was developed to make us more conscious with our lives and our actions. One way in which I have become more conscious of how I am living is through eating mindfully.
Many of us eat prepackaged, processed food. It is convenient to choose power bars and smoothie blends that have been pieced together from other foods or to seek out meals that are microwave friendly. Advice about what to consume is answered by asking what foods provide particular nutritional value and which properties can be extracted for optimal health (i.e. beta carotene, vitamin c, proteins, etc.).
What does it mean to become more conscious and live more mindfully when it comes to making choices around food that nourishes you? Here are some options:
Sit down to break bread with someone else instead of shoveling your food alone. Acknowledge the route your food took from its source to your plate. Thank a higher power for the gift of nourishment. Invite the nutrients to be absorbed into your own body.
The most direct way to connect with your food is to experience it. Put down the book, turn off the television, even pause your conversation, and discover your food. See, savor, sense, salivate over the food as a whole and let its energy nourish your entire self.
As you unite with the morsel in your mouth, can you be present with it as it changes form? How often do we wolf down lunch between meetings or grab a bite in the car, barely even tasting the food? Precious are the moments when I take the time to. feel a blackberry burst between my teeth and ooze onto my tongue, rolling it around until the soft pulp becomes liquid and only tiny seeds remain.
Allow this direct experience to be your gifted teacher. What happens if you focus on how you feel before, during or after you devour a broiled hot dog or a huge slice of chocolate cake? If you take the time to savor each bite, noticing how the sensations change as your digestion kicks in, perhaps your perception of the food will also shift. Does the hot dog leave you craving for more because there is little to...