The Yoga of Food: 5 Ways Busy Moms Can Make Eating a Spiritual Practice
With our hectic schedules and busy lives, connecting with the Divine has become an even bigger priority for many of us moms out there. However, if you are a busy mom with carpool, PTA meetings, soccer practice and your own work to do, you may not have time to fit in a formal meditation, prayer or yoga practice.
But what if we moms did what we do best – multi-task?
What if we could take something that we do every single day and build our spiritual practice around that?
Just imagine the time you would save, and how much more meaningful that otherwise mundane experience would become . . .
In this article, I’ll suggest 5 things moms (or dads) can do at every meal to make eating a more mindful, fulfilling and spirit-filled practice.
But first an old story of food wisdom
There is a story told in my yoga lineage of a holy man who was motivated to steal the Queen’s necklace after dining on food grown by anxious, fearful farmers. Only after the food had been digested and eliminated from his body did he realize his actions were completely out of character.
We often become the energy of the food we eat
Knowing that we often become the energy of what we eat, the holy man quickly realized that the energy of the people who grew the food he’d eaten had been transferred to him and therefore he too began to act fearful and anxious.
We often become the energy of the food we eat
Food is more than calories, fat, and carbs. I tell you this story to illustrate that food is a much more powerful energy source than we often give it credit.
We often only think of our food in terms of calories, fats, carbs and nutrients. All good things to know, but rarely do we think of food in terms of an energetic exchange.
The ancient yogis understood the energetic qualities of food and would avoid eating food prepared by an angry cook.
Food is a much more powerful energy source than we often give it credit
The bottom line is, energy is never created or destroyed. We know this from physics. And what goes into bringing your food to your plate? Energy of course!
Food is a much more powerful energy source than we often give it credit.
- Energy in the form of nature growing the produce you eat
- Energy in the form of farmers tending the crops (angrily or happily)
- Energy in the form of a cook preparing the food (resentfully or lovingly)
- Energy in the form of your effort to lift your fork and eat it (hurriedly or gratefully)
If you’re interested in connecting more to your food and transforming your everyday eating and cooking into part of your spiritual practice, then follow these 5 tips.
5 simple tips to mindful eating:
1. Cook more
This is a good idea for your physical health, as we know that home cooked meals tend to contain less fat, calories and artificial ingredients. But it’s also a good idea for your spiritual health.
Just as you have control over what ingredients go into your meal when you cook it, you also have control over what attitudes and mental energies go into your food when you’re the chef. You can choose to cook in a positive, loving mood or you can choose not to.
2. Grow more of your own food
Yes, home grown organic produce is super healthy and nutrient dense. But it also carries the loving energy of the person (you) who grew it. Growing your food connects you more to the food itself, along with the earth from which you grew it. How sacred is that?!
3. Bless the food
Many of us take a moment before we eat to express our gratitude for the meal we’re about to receive, but I’d encourage you to take this one step further. Take a little extra time during that blessing and speak loving intentions over the food you’re about it eat.
Remember – it all comes down to energy. And while we may not be able to control how the farmer or the cook felt (if we didn’t cook it ourselves), we do have full control over how we receive our food.
Don’t know what to say? Try this simple blessing: “May all who prepared this food be blessed. May this food nourish our bodies physically and spiritually. May we all be blessed in receiving of this nourishment.”
4. Eat mindfully
Research shows that eating slowly and mindfully is a great way to eat less and lose weight more easily. But eating slowly is also a way we can practice our spirituality.
At the heart of every spiritual practice is mindfulness. Be aware of how you’re feeling while you eat, and allow yourself to fully enjoy the experience. Mindful eating – the act of slowly experiencing each bit you take – makes the food taste better too.
5. Check your attitude
Nothing (not even ice cream) is worth eating if you’re in a bad mood. Physiologically, when you’re in a bad mood, your body revs up its stress response, sending all your available energy to your arms and legs – your fight or flight response – just in case you have to run away from a bear . . .
This leaves no resources at the core of your body, where digestion takes place. In other words, eating while you’re angry or stressed will ruin your diet and compromise your body’s ability to properly metabolize the food.
Spiritually, negative emotion keeps us closed off from the good experiences that are always flowing to us. So, eat whatever you’re eating with a light and grateful heart to receive the most benefit.
There you have it! Five simple and practical ways you can multi-task your spiritual practice into your busy mom life. Humans have always known (even before we could measure a calorie) that food is a big part of our physical and spiritual connection to the world around us. This mindful eating is one powerful way to make an every day action a spiritual practice.