I have a tendency to eat enough for 8 people and then help myself to thirds, and then forths.... and are there any cannolis following this meal? I find it particularly difficult to show any restraint eating, especially while traveling to foreign lands and opening my palate to tastes I have never experienced before. Thankfully, the yoga practice stretches off the mat and into the kitchen. Brahmacharya is a yoga practice of non-excess that can apply to how we approach eating. One technique to limit excess consumption is to focus on all of the work and effort it took to have the food arrive on the plate. It really is astonishing to think about the magical development of a fruit or vegetable to grow and harvest, not to mention the time preparing and cooking the final product. I find this focus to be a form of meditation that slows the eating process and creates a pure appreciation of food. The result is eating only as much as we need and enjoying the experience to the fullest.
Can you imagine if every meal was a life changing experience? Why not? Most of us that practice yoga have experience something profound on our mat. Slowing down our movement just enough allows us to experience the pose in a more powerful way. What if we created that same type of pace and mindfulness at the dinner table? What if eating could help us find a fuller expression of ourselves?
There is a significant message I took away from a cooking teacher I met during my travels: Food is something to celebrate. One of the most important things with food is balance- that we listen to our bodies and don’t stress too much about whether we are eating the right or wrong things. Food should never be a stressful part of our lives; instead it should nourish us and help us live our passions.