Mindful eating is one little way that I practice yoga off my mat. This type of meditation is really useful since we all have unconscious habits related to food. Mindful eating is a practice of bringing our attention to what, how, and when we eat.
At the end of this post I've laid out Mindful Eating in 5 Easy Steps. When we shine a light of awareness on the things we do/eat/think, then we can see whether or not they are moving us to (or away from) balance in body and mind.
Two weeks ago I guided one of my favorite annual events, the Chocolate Yoga Meditation sessions at the Grenada Chocolate Festival. Grenada's growing wave of chocolate companies and the expanding industry around cocoa is very exciting. In fact, a lot of small farmers (like my parents) grow cocoa that ends up in these delicious locally produced dark chocolate bars. Mindful eating was at the heart of what I offered at the Festival.
When we slow down enough to fully enjoy foods we love, then in essence, we gift ourself that whole experience. We explored mindfulness as a way of being more connected with life.
Mindful Eating In 5 Easy Steps
1. Why - Why am I eating, am I hungry? Am I just bored, stressed or even thirsty? Surprisingly, we sometimes confuse dehydration for hunger so make sure you are drink plenty water. Pause long enough to really listen to what you need, you are the expert of your own body.
2. Who - Who grew it, harvested it, cooked it? Make more nourishing choices by considering where your food is coming from. In your meditation you can also send your best wishes to the people who contributed to your nourishment.
3. Where - Where am I eating? Am I eating on the go? Buying lunches all the time? Eat home-cooked meals with your friends and loved ones more often. Know what you are eating (and save money) by bringing your lunch to work.
4. When - What times of day do I eat? Observe how you feel based on when you eat. You might notice, as Ayurveda suggestions, that you feel a more sustained energy and sleep better when you eat your largest meal at midday. When the sun is at its brightest, our digestive fire is burning at its brightest as well. This is when we can digest most effectively.
5. What - What is it? Eat with all of your senses. Explore the texture, color, smell and sound of your food. Then when you taste, notice all the layers of flavor in each bite. Sense that each flavor is perceived on a different part of your tongue.
Inviting in these kinds of reflections will support your journey towards eating with more awareness.
Photography by Arthur Daniel