By Vanessa Fleming, Summersalt Yoga teacher
No matter where you’re from, you have a shared cultural experience and tradition with every other culture in the world. It certainly comes in different variations, styles and means, but humans globally share a love. That love comes in the form of…
As we celebrate life in all forms, from beginning to end, and everything that’s in between, the piece that brings together is the love we share for our favorite cuisines.
Unfortunately, modern day life has devalued this favorite pastime. People regularly eat on the go, in front of a computer, or without engagement. That personal touch is a bit lost.
But here’s a time when we will be connecting back to that feeling – that lost art of eating for enjoyment.
Eating for enjoyment has a very yogic quality to it. When you take a bite, and you taste the food on your tongue, you feel its texture, its flavor, and its shape, you’re embracing its nourishment, its vitality, and healing quality. Can you think of anything that is instantly calming and satisfying as delicious morsels? I can not. Not only can good food instantly change your mood, but it stimulates your taste, smell, touch, and even visual senses.
In mindfulness meditation, “tasting your food” is an actual practice. When you practice mindfulness meditation of eating, your focus is on exactly what you’re eating, right there and then. You remove yourself from distractions – no TV, no computer, no mobile devices, no reading. You sit at a table, and you take a bite. Just one bite. As that bite enters your mouth, you put the utensils down and you put your hands in your lap. You continue this pattern until you have completed your meal. It’s an opportunity to have a depth of exploration with your meal, and allow you to focus your mind only on that nourishment. You carry that same mindfulness through each step as you clear your dishes away, wash them, and clean up after.
It’s no coincidence that yoga and eating go hand in hand this way. When you’re on your mat, you are without the distractions of the outside world, and only dealing with what is happening within your body and your mind right in that moment. From the time you roll out your mat, to the end when you collect your things and walk back into the regular world, you carry that careful attention to detail throughout the practice.
What happens when you take the moment to feel every movement, every shape, every breath, every release? Can you feel an immediate satisfaction? Can you begin to see the relationship developing between yoga and food?
These connections start to integrate deeply into our emotional responses. The whole reason why food is such a big part of the culture is all boiled down to one thing – love. Love of life, of your family, your friends, your surroundings, your home…all of that can be triggered through the fragrance of food.