A long time ago there was a yogini, Giri Bala who lived without food – Yogananda tells us in the in the Autobiography of a Yogi. At age 12 responding to her mothers-in-law taunts that she eats too much, Giri Bala with the help of her Guru stopped eating in order to prove that humans are sustained by spirit not matter.
To me, Ayurveda, as a holistic medicine practice, is related to yoga as another practice of cultivating connection with the universe, others and within. I am drawn to the view of eating as a cosmic event where elements collide.
There are too many conflicting accounts of yoga principles to account for here. The details are less important or interesting. The idea that I am a location where streams of cosmic energies like earth, water, fire and air whip up into a special climate is fascinating. My encounters with others shape my physical, emotional and spiritual environment, my personal reformed and reflected universe. For example, spicy food can fuel my anger, yet energize another.
This is certainly not a medical prescription, for weight loss, Ayurveda is a way to use food as a spiritual practice.
Here are the principles worth considering:
- The principle of Power: Everything has qualities and powers.
- The principle of Balance: Like qualities increases like qualities and balancing requires inviting the opposite quality.
- The principle of Doshas: Eat things with qualities and powers that balance your constitution (inside)
- The principle of Seasons: Eat things according to the season (outside)
When we pay attention, we know when we’ve eaten too much or too little, we recognize that something is fighting us in our stomachs resulting in gas or heartburn, we know when something smells or feels wrong in our mouth. If we mindfully eat and digest, we feel when we need something heavy and grounding and when we need something light and soothing. Usually, we don’t eat mindfully or pay attention to our bodies, we eat with our eyes, our memories, our expectations and worse, our stress.
Your stomach is your internal universe that transforms matter into energy. What is it craving now?