Saturday, February 20, 2010

mindful eating

One morning during my yoga teacher training we were each given an orange. Rather than this being a cue for a teabreak, it was the start of an exercise in mindful eating. It is an exercise that can be done with any fruit (or indeed any food), but citrus works well because you have to peel it. I have repeated the excercise again over the years both on my own and when teaching. This morning I used a grapefruit.

At first just hold the fruit, be aware of the vibrancy of its colour, feel its texture, its firmness. Roll it against your skin and feel its coolness. Inhale its aroma.

When you are ready begin to peel.

Notice the citrus aroma getting stronger. Be aware of the feeling of the skin of the fruit in your hands. Is is easy to peel or difficult? Does the pith come away with the peel or do you have to take that off separately? How does that make you feel? Does it annoy you that it takes so long to get into the fruit? Breath and be patient. Enjoy this moment.

Begin to tear the fruit into segments. Slowly. Piece by piece.

I loved it with this grapefruit as I didn't realise it was a pink one!

Feel the grapefruit juice on your fingers, how do the segments feel in your hands? Begin to anticipate how the fruit will taste. Tear each segment separately before you eat.

When you are ready take a few more deep breaths to notice how you are feeling.

Finally eat! Savour each mouthful. Chew slowly. Notice the sensations in your mouth. Notice any memories. Be aware of the fruit nourishing you, refreshing you.

Eat mindfully and be thankful! I know we cannot eat every meal with such awareness but take a moment to think about what you are eating and why you are eating it. I often find, when I think about it, I don't want that chocolate biscuit after all! And then again sometimes only a cupcake will do!

What other foods could you practice this mindful eating exercise with? What sensations would they bring?


Eco Yogini said...

what a fabulous post. You are so right, I have to consciously stop and remind myself to *think* about what I am eating, how it tastes, the texture... or in seconds it is gone and I wonder if I ate at all....

eating this way also helps us slow down, which helps with digestion... which is pretty important for someone like myself with IBS :)

I really like this exercise! I'm going to try it!

kathleen said...

Thanks Rachel for this wonderful post.. I have been trying to eat more mindfully and consciously for a while now and this is a really wonderful exercise to practice! I'm going to try it :-)
Oh and I love pink grapefruit too!

Jumbleberry Orchard said...

This is a great idea - I love eating oranges for exactly this reason; taking the effort to eat something complicated, while considering all of its sensory value is something really special.

I always do the same with chocolate, too. My policy is to only buy really good chocolate (Green and Blacks - yummm!), because I only need 1 or 2 squares of it, eaten with care and consideration, to feel satisfied.

I guess this would work well with juicy fruits such as mangoes, as well as 'fluffy' or delicate foods such as rice and cous cous.

I'm going to try it at lunchtime! :-D Have a good day!