With food, is not only meant the meals that are taken in through the mouth. Rather, food refers to everything that is taken in through the senses, whether it are the eyes, ears, mouth or skin. What we are eating, reading, listening to, watching and everything that we absorb with our senses, is of influence of our state of being. When one reads negative news, watches violent movies or listens to sad music, one’s state of being will be effected as well. Thus, one must be conscious about what the senses are absorbing.
What one eats is of great influence on one’s state of being. The body and the mind are interconnected and of direct influence on each other. Food creates prana shakti: life-force. As we know, prana shakti (vital energy) and manas shakti (mental energy) are interrelated and of great influence on each other. When the body is full of toxins, the mind will be negative as well. Simultaneously, when the mind is negative, it has a negative effect on the body and results in physical tension.
Thus, one’s mind will be effected differently by either organic or processed foods As we know, every action has its reaction. In the same way, everything we put inside our body has its reaction as well. When the body is full of toxins, prana shakti cannot flow. Because of toxins and waste material, there is an increase in inflammatory cells, which are the main cause for disease. Simultaneously, the mind is distracted and full of fluctuations. Thus, the first step in Hatha yoga is shatkarma; cleansing of the internal bodily systems.
Not only is our state of being effected by the food itself, but also by the vibrations that are generated during the cooking of the food. The state of mind with which the food is cooked is as influence as well. When food is cooked with a distracted mind, it can create confusion in the mind. Thus, one must be immersed in the activity and cook the food with true bhava (intention), presence and joy. When it is unknown who cooked the food, one can purify the food beforehand. Purification can be done through the mantras and mudras of pancha prana. In this way, the food which is taken in gross from, transfers into subtle prana, having a positive influence on the body and the mind.
Once the food is prepared, it is important to eat the food with awareness and presence. Food is a form of worship in which one offers the food (a form of Brahma) to one’s inner presence of Brahma. The doer behind the action is also Brahma. Thus the mantra is repeated beforehand:
Brahmārpañam Brahma Havir BrahmāgnauBrahmañāhutaṃ,
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam BrahmakarmāSamādhinah.
The act of offering is God. The oblation is God. By God it is offered into the Fire of God. God is That which is to be attained by him who performs action pertaining to God.
One must make food into a meditation. When one is eating but the mind is elsewhere, one will not be satisfied and more likely to take more and overeat. One must be fully aware at the moment of eating. Aware the structure of the food, the colors, the taste. Eating with the hands increases the connection and awareness as well. In this way, eating becomes a sadhana by itself.