Mindfulness seems to be a buzz word on everybody’s lips nowadays. Mindfulness is a skill we all naturally possess, although we need to take time to develop and nurture it, Ayurveda teaches us that how we eat can be as powerful and transformational as the types of foods you eat.
We are going to touch on a series of techniques that the Ayurvedic sages and rishis developed to have a more mindful relationship with food and the way we eat. They did this to gain deeper spiritual knowledge and live a more satisfying, fulfilling life.
Mindfulness And Awareness
Before discovering Ayurveda, many of us treat our bodies much like a composting unit. We eat while driving, walking, talking, or working on the computer.
We seldom pay attention to what we are eating, where we take our meals, or when we eat.
Eating was a routine we performed to function. Rarely ever tasting our food.
Mindfulness And Food
Through Ayurveda, one’s experience of eating becomes transformed into a dedicated spiritual practice. Seeing and honouring our bodies as the home of a higher being can be catalytic in overcoming years of destructive eating.
Letting oneself have the “royal experience of eating” is profoundly healing.
Through the act of eating you can connect to a higher power; in yourself, in the food you eat, in the person(s) who grew the food, in the one(s) who cooked it, and in the actual act of consuming it.
Sankalpa or Mindful Intent
One of the main ways to work on healing the mind is by setting a mindful intention, called a Sankalpa.
The nature of the mind is to be unstable and always jumping from thought to thought. Setting a Sankalpa helps strengthen and stabilise the mind, which supports healing.
In the setting of a Sankalpa, we transform the physical experience of yoga asanas from mechanical to spiritual.
The same applies to the way you eat.
As you become familiar with the practice of mindful-eating, set a Sankalpa for yourself to honour your body as the vessel of your indwelling spirit.
Beginning Your Meals With a Note Of Gratitude
Scientists at establishments like UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Harvard, and Duke University Medical School have begun to recognize the value of gratitude to increase your overall health.
The Vedic sages who developed Ayurveda always knew that gratitude is a key practice for health at all levels. To put our feelings of deep appreciation and connection into meaningful words, they left us with beautiful universal mantras to recite before eating.
Pronunciation: Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ …. A-U-M Shanti Shanti Shanti
Translation: Om Peace Peace Peace
Pronunciation: sarveshamsvastir bhavatu | sarveshamshantir bhavatu | sarveshampurnam bhavatu | sarveshammangalam bhavatu
Translation: May there be well-being for all, May there be peace for all. May there be wholeness for all, May there be happiness for all.