Food prepared with loving care and attention can communicate, at times, more than many nice words. It can even be more curative than medicine in some cases. In fact, some cultures have a traditional food that is given to sick people. Often it has the power to make a person feel considerably better!
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with yoga. Can preparing a meal have something to do with our practice? Ask yourself these questions: Does it take focus to pay attention to what you are preparing? (How many times have you, like me, burned something or overcooked it, having forgotten about it being on the stove or in the oven?) Can food keep you healthy? Does it take time to prepare? Can you put love or your mantra into the food? Does It make a difference if you are angry while cooking? Will practicing mindful breathing be helpful if you are fixing something that requires particular attention?
I think you are getting an idea of what my opinion is. In my opinion, there is a parallelism between food preparation and what we have learned by practicing Yoga. Food doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated. Offering a person something as simple as a nutritious slice of lightly toasted bread with virgin olive oil, a swipe of garlic, tomatoes and basil which have been finely chopped (something we love in Italy), can be as appealing as a three course meal. It can cheer a person up. And a bowl of spaghetti is a true comfort-food for most Italians.
My Yoga practice spills over into the kitchen. Here are two letters I have recently received which may prove my point: “The meal was wonderful. Eating a home-cooked meal so far from our home was quite emotional.” And this is the second one: “Thank you, thank you! It gave me energy to continue…….. I couldn’t resist eating the lovely soup right away enjoying the sunset, how delicious…… later on I had the rest that you prepared. So nourishing to body and soul. I was so tired. Our Yoga practice can help us when we cook for ourselves and others, once we have realized the connection. And when we are at the table, moderation and control are necessary companions. There are so many elements in common!
What we learn in Yoga can take us in so many undreamed of directions.
In gratitude, Elizabeth