As you might already have guessed, I’m a lover of good food.
I love to eat and I love to cook. For me, my yoga practice doesn’t end when I step off my mat, and I certainly feel that cooking and eating is part of my practice.
My kitchen is my temple (as is my body, by the way), a place to remind me of the divine in everything – in you, in me, in the food we share…
I love this verse from the Bhagavad Gita, as it expresses this divinity (or love, light, or any other word you feel comfortable using) in everything so perfectly:
Brahmagnau Brahmana Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
See God everywhere: God is the ladle; God also is the food; God is the fire; God is the preparer; and God is the eater of the food. God is the reason for eating and God is the goal to be reached.
To connect with this divine spark, it’s vital to cook and eat with awareness, with love and with joy.
This already starts when you buy the groceries – choose pure, clean, real, fresh products, preferably organic and in season. Take your time choosing what to buy, instead of rushing through the grocery store while checking the latest Facebook updates on your smartphone. Connect with those you meet in the store or at the market, say ‘hi’ to other shoppers, smile and be kind to the ones helping you at the counter.
Before cooking, set an intention. Your intention may be to nourish your loved ones, to connect with your divine spark or simply to cook with attention, care and love.
Feel your feet on the floor, breathe deeply and consciously start to prepare your dish (or drink).
Be mindful while you’re cooking. Feel the crispness of the vegetables, see the beauty of seeds and grains, smell the spices, enjoy all these different textures, flavors and scents.
If you like to sing, sing a mantra. It’ll help you to focus and to cook with joy.
When your dish or drink is ready, take a moment to feel grateful for this food. Sit down (on your heels would be best, according to yogic scriptures) and eat. Chew, chew, chew your food.
Eat with attention, don’t rush, enjoy all of the different flavors and textures. Try to eat when you eat. I know, that sounds silly, but really: don’t do anything else when you’re eating. No television, no arguments with your kids, no texting.
When you’re finished eating (or drinking), take a moment to say thanks again. To the earth, sun and rain for feeding you, to the farmers growing whatever was on your plate, to the divine spark in us all…
When you eat and drink with awareness, love and joy, cooking and eating will become part of your practice as well. And through practice, we’ll connect to that divine spark again.
As the Vijnana Bhairava says: ‘the taste of delicious food is the essence of the absolute’.