How to Enjoy a Meal 5 Times


Life is a process.

There is no end-point. It’s a series of nows-

How many nows do you disregard, or throw away because you think some future event will be more enjoyable? Often we rush through things because they feel difficult or burdensome or dull. But moving too fast and skimming the surface keeps us looking for more because it’s not so satisfying. There is always enjoyment to be found in the present moment if you have the intention to do so. 

The aim of Ayurveda and Yoga is to bring you into the now - with all of your energy and senses open to fully receiving and appreciating what this moment has to offer. These practices encourage you to pay attention and savour the details. Then life becomes a rich and satiating experience. 

A good way to practice relishing the moment is through the cooking process. I tell my Ayurvedic chef students that there are five steps to truly enjoying a meal. 

Here’s what it looks like, along with some simple tips for enjoying and absorbing each step along the way:

1. Preparing the components

  • Cultivate calm by planning ahead: Make a meal plan for the week using the 60 / 40 method.

  • Commune with growers: When possible, head to the market and get to know your local farmers.

  • Commune with nature: Grow your own veggies and herbs.

2. Cooking the food

  • Cultivate sattva: Prepare food in a clean, peaceful kitchen.

  • Take pause: Before you begin, take 12 slow, purposeful breaths, smile to yourself and set an intention for the meal.

  • Follow your heart: Break free of intellectual patterns by connecting to your intuition.

  • Shake things up: Experiment with how you chop things - the size and shape will impact the taste and provide a variety of experience.

3. Serving the food

  • Beautify: Choose pleasing tableware, soothing lighting and flowers. Experiment with using the same bowl and spoon each meal - over time the objects will collect your energy.

  • Appreciate: with a prayer or mantra or some simple kind words.

  • Engage your senses: enjoy the colors and smells.

4. Eating the food

  • Savor: Sit down and chew thoroughly so that you don’t swallow any solids. Take the first bite with your fingers. Put your utensil down after each bite.

  • Elevate the conversation: Keep it light, peaceful and sweet.

5. Digesting the food

  • Support agni: Take a gentle walk after the meal and notice the beauty of the environment.

  • Avoid lying down for at least an hour and 3 hours before sleep.

  • Avoid sexual activity for at least 2 hours.

​Your chosen attitude as you move through each step makes all the difference. If you decide that it’s not just about the destination - that 15 minutes spent eating.  Rather, you decide that it’s about the whole process, then you can get so much more out of the experience.  

This is a practice. It’s a great opportunity to observe yourself in each moment. The yamas and niyamas can serve as your guiding light - in this and in all processes:

​These steps represent the willingness to be kind, loving and considerate toward yourself. It’s a great way to learn how to take loving steps inward, towards your Self.

The yamas and niyamas invite you to be more conscious in every step of your life. Bringing sattva into all of the steps is how we experience the richness and joy of living. This is how we experience satisfaction in the entire meal process. Then food becomes our medicine.

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