Ayurveda Life: Thanksgiving Sadhana
We are excited to bring you another post in a comprehensive series on the practice of Ayurveda. ‘Ayurveda Life’ is a weekly series of posts from some of the most influential Ayurvedic authors and organizations. We are proud to partner with Banyan Botanicals and hope that you enjoy and share these posts with your communities this holiday week.
Video & images via Choate House
Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude, and the feast is the centerpiece of the experience. It fosters a time where family and friends take pause to share a special meal and give thanks to each other. And in the spirit of gratitude, what if we viewed our Thanksgiving meal as symbol of abundance in our lives, and its preparation became a sacred act of sharing our love?
In Ayurveda, it is said that it is more important how you eat, rather than exactly what you eat. A meal prepared in a loving, peaceful way contains more prana than one that has been prepared in anger or discord. Equally, a meal shared in gratitude has a sattvic effect on the body and mind. Taking from the old adage “you are what you eat,” wouldn’t you want to eat a meal that promotes inner peace and harmony?
Maya Tiwari (renowned spiritual teacher and Ayurveda pioneer) says that the two most important ingredients in a meal are love and kindness. So instead of arguing over cranberry relish recipes, try this kitchen meditation as you set out to prepare your family’s feast this year.
Conscious Cooking: A Kitchen Meditation for Cultivating Gratitude
- Create A Sacred Space
Your kitchen should be a sacred, joyful space! Eliminate any clutter or distractions. Turn off the TV, take out the trash, and wash the dirty dishes – a clean kitchen means a clear mind as you begin to prepare your mindful meal.
- Set Your Sankalpa
Craft a loving intention to guide you in the kitchen. If negative emotions are present while cooking, then the food will be affected. Watch how you’ll burn a dish when you are feeling angry (too much pitta!). Use your sankalpa as a prayer to infuse into your food while cooking.
Before you handle the food, take 5 deep breaths to ground and center yourself. Conscious breathing helps align you in the present as you begin to cook.
- Awaken the Senses
Cooking is a sensory experience. Awaken all five senses in the process. Take pause to notice how an onion feels in your hand before you cut it, the sounds of the oil popping in a hot pan, what the herbs smell like as you slowly sauté them in ghee, and how the colors merge together in the pot to create the perfect sweet and savory stuffing that satisfies every taste bud.
- Practice Presence
From chopping the herbs, to stirring the pot, to washing the dishes in between, merge completely and presently with each task at hand. This is true yoga. Should negative emotions arise, leave the kitchen and take a pause from your preparation. Allow the emotions to dissolve before returning with ease and attitude of love. Use your sankalpa as a tool for practicing contentment and connection in each moment.
- Give Gratitude
As you sit down to serve and enjoy your food, take a moment to give gratitude for all those who’ve had a hand in your meal. Honor the farmer, the truck driver, the grocery store stocker, and all those in between the farm and your table. And at the end of your meal, remember to thank your body for receiving the nourishment you’ve prepared, as gratitude outward and inward is truly the best medicine.
Claire Ragozzino is a certified yoga instructor, plant-based chef and holistic nutrition educator. She works with clients around the globe to inspire transformational changes in their health and well-being. Her wellness programs are infused with Ayurvedic principles, plant-based nutrition, and yogic philosophy to cultivate knowledge for intuitive healing. Work with Claire one-on-one to craft a unique personal nutrition and lifestyle plan, or join the online community as she guides you through a purposeful seasonal detox. Learn about her seasonally-inspired plant-based recipes, e-courses, global retreats, and nutrition coaching sessions at www.vidyacleanse.com and follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram.