hatha yoga in Austin Texas
Eating Meditations
On-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney

hatha yoga in Austin Texas

Try practicing one of the following two Eating Meditations before your next meal. Take a small portion of food, like a single strawberry, raisin or a slice of apple or orange, or a cracker.

Amnesia: Imagine you have never seen a strawberry (or any piece of food) in your life, and examine it the way a baby would examine something newly discovered. Look at the strawberry and try to notice something about it that you have never noticed before. This should be easy, as no two strawberries are ever identical. Now close your eyes and see if you can smell the strawberry. Lick your lips and rub the strawberry over your lips, massaging your lips gently. How does it feel? Now lick your lips. Can you taste the trace flavor of the strawberry? Hold the strawberry in your mouth, and roll it around. How does it feel in your mouth? As you chew, notice the immediate change in the intensity of the flavor. Slowly chew the strawberry while resisting the urge to swallow. Sit a little taller and notice if posture affects your appreciation for the strawberry. Breathe in deeply and let your breath go with long soft sighs. Does breathing help you enjoy the strawberry? Relax your face and smile. Notice how smiling improves the taste of a strawberry.

Sincere Appreciation: Eat a second raisin practicing Sincere Appreciation. Eating just as slowly and following the same instructions from the first raisin, but this time contemplate the many miracles that brought this raisin to your lips. The farmer who grew the grapes, the truck driver, the architect who designed the store where you bought the grapes, all of the people whose lives helped make this moment possible, including your parents for raising you, the rain and sun and the miracle of life present in a single raisin. Give thanks for the wonderful gift of taste. Students who practice this eating meditation are often amazed at how much better food tastes when they take the time to notice and appreciate the food as they eat it. You will notice that a single raisin, eaten with sincere appreciation brings more joy and happiness than a whole box of raisins swallowed unconsciously.

Kids take to this exercise readily, and when they realize that they can get more enjoyment out of a piece of candy by practicing mindfulness they are sold on the idea. Even animals can learn mindfulness!

I used to have Rhodesian Ridgeback named Chani. She was a big dog, and loved bananas for some reason. She used to eat bananas like she ate rib bones, crunching them into two pieces and then swallowing both halves, skin, stem and all. One week I decided to teach her the eating meditation using a raisin.* Normally she would swallow a raisin without noticing what she had eaten, so I held the raisin between my fingers so that she could only nibble the tiny exposed portion of the raisin. She took my whole hand in her mouth! After a while she let go of my hand and contented herself with licking and nibbling the exposed portion of the raisin as I slowly exposed more of it over the next minute. During this time she grew increasingly excited and wagged her tail and her whole rear end. This might have been the first time she had ever tasted a raisin, although she had swallowed more than her share.

After a couple of weeks of this ritual with the raisin, I was amazed when she took a whole banana from me, and instead of swallowing it, took it out onto the back porch and set it down almost delicately. She held the banana with one paw and peeled it with her teeth, and then ate slowly, wagging her tail, and pausing occasionally to look back at me. Finally when it was all gone, she returned to the banana peel and ate that as well.

* Please note that I have since found out that raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. Although it is doubtful that a single raisin would be sufficient to cause any symptoms, I would still advice using some thing other than raisins, if for no other reason than to reduce the likelihood that your dog will seek out raisins on it's own and consume larger quantities which can be harmful to your pet.

hatha yoga in Austin Texas

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