One of the wonderful side effects of yoga, besides the insatiable desire to wear yoga pants in socially inappropriate settings (leggings to a wedding…I’ve thought about it) is an increased sense of mindfulness and body awareness.
This is directly applicable to the enjoyment of food. In particular, an increase in our capacity to savour and fully sense what we put in our mouths. Too often we eat without thinking, myself included.
How many times have we downed a cup of coffee without a second thought. Eaten a granola bar while running to catch the bus. Sometimes that’s just life. I can appreciate a busy schedule.
But what if we stopped thinking of slowing down and enjoying food as a luxury, and started considering it a necessity?
The benefits of eating mindfully are undeniable. The simple enjoyment, stopping when we feel our fullness, or pausing before eating to offer gratitude – it doesn’t need to be to a deity or even the ubiquitous universe. Heck, I like to thank the farmer, the grocer, the store owner, or maybe the wait staff who brought this goodness to my salivating self.
(Photo courtesy of Jelayna Da Silva)
Next is the act of eating. If you practice yoga picture this – the moment in practice where the breath and body are so in sync with one another you can feel your heartbeat, you can sense the mat, like your hands became one with the floor. The air in the room lightly brushes your skin, you hear the teacher’s words and the sound of your own breath so clearly. Your senses are alive. You are fully present to your senses.
Now apply this state of deeper awareness to the moment you sit down to eat. The results are exceptional.
The feeling of the pulse increasing in anticipation of pleasure. The first taste of food as it rolls across the tongue. The textures, flavors and resulting satiation as you feel the body absorb the nutrients. That transition from angry to happy happens in a literal heartbeat as the bloodstream carries higher levels of sugar to all the organs. And that dopamine release? Let that permeate the brain taking slow, deep breaths to prolong that ecstasy.
The mindfulness of yoga applied to the act of eating is a necessity that feels like a luxury.
Namaste and eat slowly today.