In Ayurveda, not only is eating in accordance with your constitutional type important, but developing balanced behavioral tendencies surrounding food can be the most valuable tool to understanding nutrition and controlling weight. Your yoga practice will help you effortlessly bring mindfulness to your eating habits and improve your relationship with food.
During the holidays, it seems we are bombarded with offerings of not-so-healthy-foods at every turn. Though it is sometimes difficult to practice self-control, understanding your body’s biological needs and making a commitment to support those needs through healthy, nourishing foods can help you to say “no” to unnecessary or toxic food and appreciate a more balanced mind and body. (Ayurvedic Tip: The simplest way to know you are getting all the nutrients necessary is to eat all six tastes and all seven colors every day.)
Having will power and practicing discipline when it comes to food, has everything to do with mindfulness and self-respect. Our bodies are remarkable systems with an innate intelligence for healing and maintaining balance. If we take a few deep breaths and draw our awareness inward several times throughout the day, we can start to notice more about the feeling of hunger, strength of digestion and the role emotions play in our eating habits. The tastes and qualities of different foods become clear and we can begin to understand how they relate to our individual constitutional types and how they promote feelings of comfort and discomfort.
Being able to identify true hunger is a good first step in developing greater awareness of your body in relationship to food. Most of us are conditioned to eat a meal at a particular time each day and never stop to check in to see if we are actually hungry. When a person eats food when they are not hungry, chances are, they are lacking the digestive capability to utilize it. Similarly, eating a second meal before the previous one has had sufficient time to digest can lead to indigestion, bloating, gas, burping, storage of toxins in the tissues, bad breath and discomfort!
Tuning in to your hunger and cultivating a good appetite is a general way to monitor the strength of your digestive fire or agni. If you are unclear whether you are hungry or not place your hand on your belly, close your eyes and ask your body. Taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood can help to stimulate the appetite too. Or try nibbling on an Ayurvedic “appetizer” of thinly sliced fresh ginger root spritzed with lime juice and a sprinkle of rock salt or take some old fashioned Swedish Bitters (available in the Boutique or from our website www.joyfulyoga.com) to get digestive juices flowing. Don’t deny yourself the offerings of holiday treats during the season but be mindful, aware of how much you are eating and bless them to your body.
To take the Dosha quiz and understand your own mind-body constitution, go to www.joyfulyoga.com or, even better, schedule an appointment with our Ayurvedic practitioner Jacqueline to find out how to get your body-mind in balance.