There is one famous Zen saying that describes meditation perfectly:
“Eat when you eat, sleep when you sleep”
What it means is that you do not need to sit in a lotus pose to meditate, simple acts like eating can become our meditation.
To me it means giving my mind a job to do and staying aware to make sure that the mind does not slip into analysing past or planning the future. Watching my own breath, listening to surrounding sounds, repeating a mantra, mindfully relaxing my entire body – there are millions of ways to let our minds focus. And eating can be one of them.
Here are 5 tips on how you can turn your next meal into meditation:
1. Give thanks. Before taking your first bite take a moment to appreciate all the work involved for the food to arrive on your plate: someone had to grow, harvest, deliver and cook it for you. If you did it all by yourself – you are my personal hero!
2. Appreciate. Look at your food, notice all the colours and diversity of all ingredients. Whenever I cook I love playing with colour. Eating the rainbow is my motto!
3. Smell your food. Take a few deep inhalations to fully experience the fragrance of your meal. Can you identify ingredients: spices, herbs, vegetable used for this recipe? Your belly is probably rumbling right now!
4. Taste it. Make sure to chew well so you can feel the texture and taste the ingredients. Notice any change in the way you breathe and feel in your head. Whenever I am very hungry and finally get to eat – I always produce a sigh after my first few bites. My body and mind relax and I calm down.
5. Be mindful. Do your best to notice a moment where you are satisfied and full. Oftentimes people do not notice this subtle message we all receive from our stomachs, so they continue eating. If you want to get up from your table satisfied but not heavy, learn to tune in to your body so that the “I have had enough” message is well received.
Follow @YogaBarAustralia for more tips, advice and inspiration on all things meditation throughout Meditation Month in March.