How many of us speed through our day more often than not? How often do you eat quickly between meetings without really tasting or chewing your food, talk more than we eat, or skip meal time all together because “we just don’t have time”?
What if I told you that just 10 minutes a day of meditation could free your mind, make noticeable changes in your ability to stay present, and reduce stress and anxiety?
Some of you might feel more stressed about the idea of adding another task to your busy schedule or sitting down with “nothing to do” for even just a short 10 minutes.
The simple task of doing nothing, being with the breath, and clearing the mind for just 10 minutes can seem extremely challenging for most. That is why I am about to share with you a simple tool to adding meditation to your daily life. One that doesn’t include you to make a huge change in your schedule.
We all do it… we have to eat to survive, unless you’re a breatharian and if so kutos to you! But for must of us who aren’t yet surviving off just air, why not take this practice you already do daily and make it into a practice to improve not just your physical health and wellbeing, but also your mental?
I’m about to share with you 3 simple steps for making your mealtime into your daily meditation practice.
Step 1: Be with your food
You wouldn’t invite a friend out and then completely ignore them… so let’s use this concept for our food. You are on a date… PAY ATTENTION.
Use all your senses. That is… first look at your food. Notice all the different colors – all the unique features of your meal.
Smell your food- Take a few deep breaths over your food. It is said that aroma can actually give our body the sensation of tasting the food. Notice if you begin to have any responses in your mouth or stomach just by the simple act of smelling your food.
Before tasting the food, we move onto…
Step 2: Gratitude
Do you ever stop to think about how your food got to be presented before you? Do you ever stop to wonder about who grew the food, where it was grown, or the many hands that were a part in creating such a delight?
Taking a moment to acknowledge the immense about of work, love, and care that went into creating your meal can spark deep gratitude in your heart. It is truly a blessing to have an abundance of quality food each day.
There are many different ways you can do this, so be creative!
Some suggestions are:
Placing your hands over the food, feeling the warmth if it is hot food, or feeling the connection between you and your meal. Mentally or out loud say your gratitude prayer.
One prayer that is short and sweet is “Bless this food, let it nourish my mind, body, and spirit. I am so grateful for everyone who was a part of creating this meal for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
From my own experiences with this practice, one can begin to feel an energetic connection to their food, as in Ayurveda it is said, even if we have quality food, it will be soured by our negative thoughts. Even if we are eating low quality food, no impurities will be part of us if our thoughts are pure.
Step 3: Enjoy
Now this one might seem obvious, yet I am about to explain to you key ways to truly enjoy your meal.
- Chew your food! “Duh” right? But we are all guilty at some time or another of barely chewing our food before swallowing. Ayurveda recommends chewing your food till it becomes liquid. This is because the first stage of digestion begins in the mouth when the saliva mixes with the food. If we rush through this step, we miss a huge part of digestion, leading to poor digestion.
- Be in silence. This may seem awkward at first if you are amongst a group. Yet, sharing a meal in silence with others is such a beautiful and rewarding practice. Start where you feel comfortable, like at home alone or with your close friends or family. Invite someone over for a meal in silence. Enjoy the experience then have good positive conversation after your meal. Silence at meal times allows you to be present with the moment, the action of eating, the action of nourishing yourself.
- Avoid overfilling your belly! How often do you think you enjoy a meal and then afterwards feel like you need to be rolled out of the restaurant and placed on a couch for the rest of the day… Heavy right? We’ve all been there, especially after a pasta indulgence. Yet, our body only needs a small portion of food to be nourished. When we take the time to actually chew our food and eat mindfully, we notice that we fill up way faster! An Ayurvedic rule of thumb is to full the stomach 1/3 full of food, 1/3 full of water, and the rest empty space to digest. An ideal portion size for a meal is the size of your two hands cupped together.
So there it is… a delightful way to create your meditation practice today! It’s wonderful if you can begin this practice fully. Yet small change is lasting change, so even if you pick one of these things to add to your meal time, I honor that choice!
Blessings to your health!