Started my 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT) this weekend and my head is exploding with so much exciting new information. We talked about the history of yoga, the eight limbs, meditation, asana practices and one of my favorite things, the yoga meal.
Of course, my area of interest is the intersection between food and yoga (have you noticed the title of my blog?). So I couldn’t wait to learn more about a yoga meal. Were we all going to bring in sprouts and granola or something? That would be fun.
But no, a yoga meal is not what you eat, but how you eat it. It’s having an awareness and appreciation of your food and how you consume it. It’s about slowing down and actually tasting what goes into your mouth. A yoga meal is a simple, yet profound experience.
Here are the general guidelines:
- Sit at a table. Don’t eating standing up, on the run or in your car.
- Refrain from talking while you are chewing your food.
- During the meal, eliminate external distractions like TV, music or reading.
- Chew and swallow your food completely before picking up your next bite.
- Place only about two handfuls of food on your plate. When you have finished that, wait 3-5 minutes before putting more food on your plate.
- Wait until your food is completely digested (2-6 hours) before having your next meal.
So I tried this out with our family dinner tonight. We usually listen to music during dinner, so that was a little different for us. We all laughed at times when we couldn’t answer a question because we had food in our mouths. My teenage boys were really good sports about the whole thing. This is my youngest, Eli, letting me know he couldn’t speak until he finished chewing:
Personally, I had no idea how much I talked while chewing my food. Maybe I shouldn’t have been that surprised…I talk a lot. I also realized that I am pretty quick to pick up that next bite, even while I’m still chewing. I made a conscious effort to put my fork down and really taste my food. For the next 12 weeks, I will be eating at least one yoga meal a day. I’m pretty sure I will be making some lifelong changes during that time…maybe my family will too.