Welcome to the second in a series of posts relating my yoga lessons to the food relationship. Today, we're talking about mindfulness. Before you roll your eyes, I'd like to quote one of my favorite authors, Brené Brown. She says, "Mindfulness is simply paying attention". Simple and approachable, right? I like to teach mindfulness through using all the senses to tune into your experience. I mean, how much sensory input is happening constantly that we just ignore? Some of it's necessary (like when your brother whines at you for drinking the last of the wine... what? can't hear you!). But when it comes to "listening" to your body, using all of the senses is key!
In yoga, you can come to your mat and move through the poses while composing a grocery list in your head. Or, you can come to the mat and notice your physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions in each pose and throughout transitions. Creating this space for awareness allows for healing and transformation.
With food, you could choose to chug a protein shake while driving to work, or you could choose to be present with the experience. Being mindful with food involves engaging all of the sense, which allows for listening to the cues of the body. Being present with food encourages optimal digestion, a sense of feeling more satisfied with the meal, and often you will notice feeling full more quickly.
And, my favorite thing of all, is that mindfulness often enhances pleasure (*wink*)! I loooooove a yummy meal and when I sit down and fully pay attention to the goodness on my plate it blows my mind (pun intended)! One caveat: fully paying attention can also highlight what you don't like, and that's ok too. By paying attention to the senses we begin to listen more closely to our bodies. Which, if we're being honest, know far more than our brilliant brains would have us believe!
I know... you're busy and if you didn't chug that shake while driving, you'd skip it altogether! Totally understand! How about trying just one meal per week and see what happens? Which meal could you show up to, fully present, with curiosity?
Once you're sitting down (please don't do this during your morning commute!) I've found the best way to do that is to tap into your physical experience. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you feel? There's no right or wrong. Just notice your experience of paying attention!