As you may know, in the world of yoga we believe in the power of food to either sustain or deplete mental, emotional and physical health.
There's an ancient yoga saying that goes "As is the food you eat, so is your mind." Or as David Frawley says in his book Vedantic Meditation Lighting the Flame of Awareness: "The consumer is the consumed."
These statements consider everything we consume through all of our senses as a form of food that either creates vitality or takes it away. This includes what we eat, look at, talk about, listen to, smell and feel. And, just as we can choose to eat nourishing and energizing foods that enhance vitality we can do the same with the conversations, reading materials, televised or online media and so forth we choose to take in. This doesn't mean we ignore challenges, but like planting a garden, if we ignore the garden or if we feed the weeds instead of the vegetables the weeds are what we grow.
Simply put, when junk food and junk information becomes the leading source of consumption, fear and anger rise creating unmanaged stress and depletion. On the other hand, when we find our balance with nourishing foods for all of our senses we experience more energy, focus, health and natural radiance.
How to eat more nourishing foods through all of our senses?
When it comes to food, feeling satisfied requires a balance between nutrients such a protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, air and space; that is to say, we need to chew and leave some space to avoid feeling stuffed and bloated. In addition, feeling energized from our food requires a balance of different foods and they must be in accordance with the seasons and our unique constitution.The same applies for the consumption through our other senses. In order to participate in this world, we need to consume knowledge such as understanding how we as a global community relate to time, money, work and basic ethics. We also need specific information with regards to our chosen vocation. But, in excess it can become a source of bondage that clutters our mind with fear, stress, guilt and comparison. Eating broccoli is great. Overeating broccoli is not...but it is better than overeating chips. The same is true with what we take in through all of our senses; Just as we need space in our belly to avoid feeling overstuffed we need mental space such as silence and integration to experience clarity, focus and intuition and we need discernment in terms of the quality of information or experiences we are taking in.
In addition, identifying the difference between material (the mentioned worldly information) and subtle (inquisitive) consumerism brings better balance. Subtle information is about self-inquiry, service and possibilities. It is the type of information that brings personal growth. Ensuring we have a balance of worldly information with subtle information reduces the type of hunger that can't be satisfied. If my body is in need of water and I keep giving it vegan chili, I will become stuffed before I experience satisfaction. If my mind and emotions are in need of silence and inquiry and I instead feed it worldly information, netflix or even positive social interactions I will keep wondering why I am so depleted and stressed.
This is why when we're feeling out of balance we need to invoke inquiry and explore what we are actually hungry for. Am I overstuffed with broccoli/to do list? Do I need space/rest? The more we integrate this approach, the more we can identify the imbalance and create habits that fuel our natural radiance.
Know that in large part yoga practice is about making conscious choices that fuel our body, mind and emotions in order to experience energy, focus, purpose and happiness to eventually create a foundation that allows for the experience of the deeper dimensions of yoga. And, what we CHOOSE to ingest through all of our senses impacts our ability to manage stress and energy and therefore, our unique radiance.
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