The components of our diet have an impact on every aspect of our life. Our choice of food and our relationship with our food impacts our physical health and the state of our mind and thoughts. The biochemistry of our food forms the biochemistry of our thoughts. When we eat ‘satvik’ pure fresh and clean food, our internal environment becomes the same.
Start Online Yoga Classes in Gurgaon with me @ ‘YogaWithSapna’ and along with posture practice I will begin to guide you to embrace the principles of mindful eating. Are you wondering what mindful eating is and how it is related to yoga? Keep reading.
A Quick Look at – Mindful Eating
Imagine this: you are standing on your yoga mat, a sense of serenity enveloping you. Your breath flows in and out, syncing with your body’s movements as you gracefully transition between poses. In this moment, you are entirely present, aware of the sensations in your muscles and the soothing rhythm of your breath. This is yoga—a practice that coaxes you to be in the ‘now’ and delves deep into the realms of mindfulness and self-discovery.
We are taught that yoga must not end with our session on the mat. Yoga must extend into every aspect of how we think and live. When we are true yogis then Yoga and mindful eating are not separate activities; they are interconnected in a beautiful relationship of self-awareness and nourishment.
Connection To Yoga
Mindful eating would mean making every effort to provide our body systems and our mind with the most nourishing and fresh food.
Mindful eating means always having a clear realization that heavy, rich food or stale food will tax our digestive organs – these precious organs that have to work continuously and last us a lifetime.
Mindful eating means we must live a life of discipline which includes eating with discipline. It means we must finish eating at sundown and then only eat the next day after the rituals of bathing and elimination are performed. In today’s parlance this is popularly known as ‘intermittent fasting.’
Mindful eating is also an approach that encourages individuals to pay full attention to the experience of eating; thanking nature for the nourishing food in front of us. It emphasizes being present in the moment, fostering an awareness of the body’s hunger and fullness cues. It requires us to stop eating just before our stomach is completely full, so that there is space for the food to be churned, processed and easily digested.
When we keep our attention only on the food while consuming it, we fully engage our senses to the flavours, textures, and aromas in our food, so we can develop a deeper appreciation for the nourishment we receive from our food, thus making this activity of eating a deeply satisfying and meaningful one.
When we keep developing this habit of mindful eating then the body automatically begins to crave natural, wholesome fresh foods and turns away from spicy, processed, deep fried and over cooked foods. We delight in eating fresh fruits and vegetables – exactly what the body requires. Add to this – nuts, seeds and wholesome grains or complex carbohydrates and we have the right diet for keeping our gut healthy and disease free. Dairy is a no-no. The milk from cows is for the cows baby, not for us. A vegetarian diet is a clean diet. ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence to all living creatures is a deep yoga tenet.
As we say a silent prayer of thanks every time we sit to eat a meal, we develop a humble spirit, an attitude of gratitude to nature for supplying us with this appetizing nourishment.
As we stay on the yoga path, we keep refining our eating habits.
Yoga Practices That Support Mindful Eating
- Pranayama (Breath Control)
Pranayama can help establish a deeper connection between our breath and eating. By focusing on our breath during meals, we can cultivate a calm and centered state, preventing mindless, hurried, rushed or emotional eating. In tune with a calm breathing rhythm, we also learn to chew our food thoroughly before we swallow it down, remembering the important principle of good digestion viz; digestion begins in the mouth.
Regular meditation is a fundamental aspect of yoga practice. Meditation can enhance our awareness and gratitude for the nourishment our food provides. This sets a positive tone as we accept, eat, digest and assimilate our meal.
Prana and Food
Yoga teaches us about prana, the vital life force that sustains us. Fresh, plant based whole foods are believed to contain the highest levels of prana, making them essential for maintaining physical and mental vitality. Mindful eating helps us recognize and choose prana-rich foods. We must try and source organically grown food as far as possible. We should learn to bring taste to our food by cooking with natural herbs and spices and be aware that food should be cooked lightly to preserve its nutritional and pranic value. Also we should eat fresh food straight from the fire onto our plate and into our mouth. Mindfulness helps get us out of the habit of storing food in the fridge.