Talking about connecting the dots. Yoga is about connection. But it is about more than connecting the mind and body.
My understanding of the ancient practice is to connect yourself with something that goes beyond your limitations of body and mind. Something that is greater than your physical limitations. Connecting the divine in you with the divine of the cosmic universe. Pure awareness is the key.
Why should there be a difference in our food then? Why do we allow such a disconnection between the food we eat and where it comes from? Why don’t we be led by the people who are the experts: the yogi, the farmer, the master, or guru?
In my opinion, we should all try to let them tell their story, to learn, and be inspired. Just like we feel the connection of a group in a yoga class, we should connect to the people around the table. Appreciating all the flavors and all the different tastes that gather together to enjoy a meal.
Just as you adjust your yoga practice depending on how you are feeling that day, you can adjust what you eat. Be in the moment, go with where you are at and roll with the seasonal flow.
One morning, I will have some simple overnight-oats for breakfast. The next day, I am all in for making a big batch of fluffy banana-pancakes or a creamy coconut smoothie bowl. I believe that those feelings you have while cooking, that is what gives the food its flavor. So never skip the secret ingredient: LOVE!
Make modifications. Be open. Try out new recipes. Step into the unknown. Challenge yourself and let go of any fear and expectations. No matter how long you have been practicing yoga – or cooking – you can always learn new things!
Just as we are using yoga blocks or other assistants, there are cooking tricks as well.
Once you are on the mat, you want to stay focused, right? You don’t want to run across the room in the middle of the class to grab your blocks and a strap. It is the same in the kitchen. Chefs call it “mise en place” – “everything in its place”.
In general, any yoga practice begins with a gentle warm-up, moves on to standing postures, and finishes up with a twist and Savasana. Cooking can also be a vinyasa flow in its own way.
I always start with a clean, empty mat aka kitchen – and proper comfortable clothing as well as clean hands. When I prepare my meals, I start with grains and legumes that need longer to cook. While they are cooking, I chop the other ingredients and finally pick fresh herbs to accomplish the meal. This will give you the best results and saves a lot of time. Even if this sounds like common sense, in reality, it can often be improved!
Proper sequencing will also make the cleanup much easier, as you will have more time in between steps to wash a dish or put away ingredients that you have been using. If you can make a meal in just 20 minutes, but then it takes you 3 hours to clean up, which doesn’t count as proper time-saving. Unless – of course – mindful dishwashing is a practice for you.
My main message: remain calm. Don’t rush. Remember that we have to do things properly and with a clear and calm mind.
As your experience grows, so does your confidence. Just as in your yoga practice, intuition in the kitchen requires trusting in yourself and in the process. No matter what comes up on the mat. No matter what ends up on your plate.
Letting go of perfection in a dish is like letting go of perfection in a pose. You might strive to reach a certain goal while being aware of your limitations. You explore your edge and find the beauty in your abilities, accepting your experience for what it is.
Now the fun part begins: Eating! Well, fun can be quite complex for most of us. Speaking of moderation, enjoying, digestion, values, and so on. But still, it is something really important in our daily life. To live, to thrive, to survive.
Mindful eating means paying attention to the smells, colors, taste, and feeling of your food. It helps us digest it more easily and become more aware of when we are full.