Inspired by one of our oracle deck cards, Restful Digestion, I wanted to share a bit about the power of this practice. I have dealt with digestive pains & problems since childhood. One of the transformational practices I have incorporated to make a difference includes being present & slowing down. Creating healthy eating habits is essential for honoring your wellbeing.
Eating is a sacred practice. The frequency of how often we need to eat may have caused us to forget the importance of this ritual. And the fact that we fill our days with endless tasks does not help. With how much is going on in the world today, it makes sense that we have grown accustomed to bypassing this special moment of feeding our bodies & souls. The speed in which my day moves plays a big role in the quality of my digestion. When I feel relaxed enough to sit down & actually enjoy a meal, my digestion is at ease. But for the moments that I feel anxious while eating, as if I can only think about what is next on my to do list or how much time I have until I need to leave the house, that is when I can feel gas, bloating & painful distention accumulating. Many people deal with the feeling of not having adequate time to nourish themselves. Gifting yourself the proper time to enjoy a meal enhances your self worth. It says, "I am worth spending time on my wellbeing."
The sacred practice of nourishing oneself with food demands presence & reverence in order to attain optimal digestion. It is very common for people to eat while distracted or in an undesirable mental state. It is also very common for people to eat in bed or the comfort of their room. I was doing this as our dining table was in the kitchen. I now get that its best to cook in the kitchen & eat in the dining room lol. Eating in the mess of cooking my meal was undesirable to me so I would retreat to my room & watch something instead. But now that I moved the dining table into its own room with all the beautiful plants, I am more enticed with being present during a meal.
Something I still to this day (as a Vata) have to check myself on, is sitting down properly to eat. I have the tendency to literally sit at an angle with my legs facing outward ready to get up as soon as I'm done. I also remind myself to not get up until I finish chewing the last bite completely. If you need help slowing down for a meal, practice using all of your senses & have taste be last. Take in the colors, smell the aroma, notice the textures and then allow yourself to dive in.
Sometimes creating time to eat means restructuring your day. And if this is also a difficulty for you, don't worry, you might just need a few schedule hacks in order to give yourself the time you deserve to enjoy a meal. Plan backwards if need be. What time do you need to leave the house? How long will it take you to get ready? Now factor a proper 30 minutes dedicated to eating a meal with presence. That doesn't mean you have to sit there for 30 minutes straight, but it can include cooking / prep time or clean up time as well. It might feel overwhelming to truly take the time it requires to presently enjoy a meal & not rush off afterwards but it is so worth it. Your body will thank you & thus enhance your mental state. While the body is digesting, it is working already. Try to not give it more work by diving into intense physical activity or a stressful situation.
Perhaps for you, it just takes a perspective shift. Start to see the act of eating as a truly sacred gift to yourself. Through eating with presence, you are honoring the body & soul. It is an act of self respect & love. Add a ritualistic aspect such as lighting a candle, saying a prayer, blessing your food or taking a deep breath of gratitude. If you don't necessarily want to eat alone often, invite loved ones to share a meal with you. Sharing food together is one of the most bonding acts & is enjoyable. Invite the neighbors over, offer to cook for your family or have a potluck where you all contribute. If your close ones aren't as keen on mindful eating as you are, you can always teach them a few tips & make it interesting.