As is the food so is the thought.
At the foothills of the Himalayan mountains off the banks of the Ganges river, I heard these words and instantly fell in love.
The lush jungle and intense culture of Rishikesh paired well with the calm of ashram I was staying at. A north Indian city, revered as the birthplace of yoga – can one even begin speculate to the origins of a such a universal truth? – was my home for the week as I came to celebrate the coming of a new age and to practice yoga with family.
A large part of our trip was learning about our physical bodies through their adaptation to food and culture. Many got sick, stressed out, or drained of energy. In an attempt to understand how to heal, I spoke with the woman in charge of our meals. The first words she told me were Jaisa Ann Vaisa Mann.
In India, food is viewed through the lens of intentionality. The intentions behind food usage depend on the person eating the food. In the case at the ashram, food was prepared to heal physical imbalances from the stress of travel as well as aiding us in our yogic endeavors – often times up to 10 hours of practice a day.
Not only were specific foods chosen that would physiologically support certain outcomes, but energetic intention was imparted as well. This is where most Western minds get lost. In Ayurveda – the science of life – all food carries energy or prana. This energetic life force can be altered through its existence. It can be influenced by it surroundings during all stages of its life, even during the cooking process.
With this in mind, the food for the ashram was grown on fields that were blessed with positive intention for growth. Throughout their life the food was given an intention to heal and spread positivity. In the kitchen the food was handled in an environment free of stress, anger, and unnecessary urgency. Those who handled the food meditated on their intentions before doing anything.
Although this seems like a foreign concept, is it really that far away from home? Doesn’t food cooked with love taste better? When was the last time someone prescribed chicken soup for the common cold? Don’t we say an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Did you know that the act of giving a toast is to impart the drink with whatever you are toasting to – good health, celebration, long life, successful weddings. It seems food and intentionality may not be such a new concept. Taking the leap into other areas of intentionality, such as those exhibited at the ashram, might not then be so daunting.
Given the coming of the holidays, why not change the way you think and impart some good vibrations into your own food.