Updated: Nov 8, 2019
According to Ayurvedic theory, how we eat is just as important as what we eat. This means that if we eat in a rush, when emotionally disturbed, while standing or driving, or while watching TV, reading, or online, we are not going to process our foods properly and are likely to experience digestive discomfort on some level. Just because we are eating healthy foods does not mean we are eating in a healthy way. Eating is not just something that is required to keep us alive; it should not be merely shoveling food into our mouths to fill ourselves up. Rather, mealtime should be a chance for us to connect to the life-force that we are bringing into our bodies through the foods we eat. Perhaps eating becomes a meditation of sorts; an offering to the agni (fire) in our belly. When eating becomes a sacred act, it sets the stage for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation.
One very simple practice that I have incorporated into my mealtime is to pause to chant the Shri Annapurna Bhojan mantra before eating. Annapurna is the goddess of nourishment and the incarnation of Goddess Parvati. She watches over our food supply and our soul’s nourishment, and chanting to her before eating is a way to honor her and pay respect. Furthermore, when we pause to give thanks before our meal it brings sanctity to the act of eating, creating a meditative state. From this state we are better able to process our foods, giving rise to a healthier body and brighter mind.
The mantra is simple:
Om Hrim Shrim Klim Namo Bhagavati Maheswari Annapurne Svaha
Now let’s eat.