Eating is one of the two main functions of the tongue and so central to our survival. It is logically one of the most efficient and effective mediums for initiating change in consciousness. Each of us has had the experience of sitting down to a meal cooked with love and felt an immediate transformation of consciousness followed by a feeling of reciprocal love for the person who prepared the meal. The fact is, when food is prepared with loving intention, it can communicate in any language. Such food has the ability to break down barriers and turn anger into love, fear into trust, and ignorance into enlightenment. This is no more evident than in the loving exchange between a mother and child.
If we make the effort to focus on this very essential part of our lives — eating — incredible and transformative things can happen to us.
When you are living consciously, beginning with conscious eating, you will do so in all your thoughts and actions. Your life will be consistent and in harmony with your environment. Food is the most basic necessity of life. Its only purpose is to nourish the body, mind and soul. Food, therefore, should give us life, cleanse our body and uplift our spirit. Eating food should never be just about fueling the physical body.
According to all yoga traditions, food that is old, decomposed and consisting of dead flesh will pollute the body and consciousness, while food that is fresh, nutritious and free of any suffering will enrich the body, cleanse the mind and satisfy the soul.
The tongue has two functions: tasting and vibrating, so essentially we are talking about two things we do every day, eating and talking. As mundane as they appear, like everything else we do in life, these two activities can be perfected and purified.
First, with the pure diet of fresh fruits and leafy vegetables in their most pristine form – au naturel – naked, just the way nature intended. can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualification. Raw (uncooked) plant-based diet is the most conducive diet for a yogi.
Obviously, a raw plant-based diet is not conducive to all climates and all body types; however, the mounting scientific evidence supporting the benefits of a balanced plant-based diet consisting of whole fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts is overwhelming.
Second, with the power of the spoken word. Its sonic energy can be harnessed to inspire, to manifest, to heal and to manipulate the subtle and physical worlds. For the most lasting and transformative effect, food needs to be completely free of any negative feelings. The purest food is that food that has been not only prepared with loving intention, but also prayed over.
Because food is mostly water, all food is in one way or another impacted by how it is grown, handled, packaged, prepared, cooked and served. Every person who interacts with a food on its journey from seedling to your plate intrinsically affects the food’s energetic quality, and subsequently your physical, mental and spiritual health. Each person’s thoughts (psychic energy) add to the palette of conscious thoughts that eventually makes their way into your body.
Eating can also be a form of yoga, and this is supported by the very tradition that yoga was born. The term “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root, Yuj, which literally means, “to join.” In the spiritual sense, it is the process by which the relationship of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul is realized by the Yogi.
Unfortunately, too many yogis in the West miss this point and thus they do not enjoy the full benefits of what yoga offers. What most people understand as yoga practice is really just the beginning stages of yoga. Yoga is a life long journey of reconnecting with God. Because food is so fundamental to our existence, the offering of food has been an integral part of every spiritual tradition since the beginning of recorded history. Food yoga, therefore, is the art and science of bringing our body, mind and soul into oneness, honoring the spiritual equality of all beings and reconnecting with our divine source. It is about focusing on the more divine aspects of eating, beginning with an acknowledgement of a benevolent presence in our lives and evolving to appreciating that presence through the offering of pure food, much the same as when you honor a friend in your home. Giving food is the most fundamental act of kindness a human can do, and eating food is one of the few things all humans have in common.
All the world’s great spiritual traditions have elaborate food offering rituals carefully designed to expand consciousness. From the Holy Eucharist to Passover to Diwali, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even the mushroom ceremonies of the Shamanic traditions – all use food as a means to represent or please the Divine and to expand the consciousness of their followers.
The path of food yoga is about reconnecting with your food in such a way that it nourishes your body, mind and soul. This is I believe is a major flaw in most lifestyle or nutrition programs being espoused today.
In essence, food yoga is a discipline that embraces all spiritual paths by accepting one core truth – that food in its most pure form is divine and therefore an excellent medium for spiritual purification.
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