The Yoga Yajnavalkya states that "A monk may have eight mouthfuls of food daily; those in retirement, sixteen mouthfuls; a householder, thirty two; and students as much as they wish."
The other day I ate at Qdoba. I got a bowl with rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. I counted my mouthfuls as I ate. After 20 mouthfuls I lost interest in eating any more. I had eaten about half of the bowl.
Have you ever counted your mouthfuls?
I have become acutely aware of my relationship to food. I often put edible things in my mouth out of boredom or tiredness. It distracts my mind and brings all my attention to my senses and my belly. I am comforted.
As I read more old yoga texts I am struck by how often they refer to restraint and austerity as vital to the path. Some even say that restraining food intake is of the highest importance. They are of course not talking about yoga in the modern, western, health and fitness way, but in a mental and spiritual way.
Regardless, it is illuminating to note how powerful is the attachment to food, eating and the sensations of eating. If we aspire to things like mastery over the senses (Pratyahara), we must come face to face with our attachment to food.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga