Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Food for the soul

I have so few childhood memories but the few I do have usually involve food. I remember one day coming out of kindergarten to find my father and my uncle Bob waiting for me. They walked me home from school. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Jenny had come for dinner. My mom was in the kitchen cooking. I can still smell the food. I climbed on a chair to help my mom bread the chicken cutlets.

This time of the year always reminds me of the ritual of making tomatoes sauce and roasting peppers and making pickled eggplants. These are my favorite childhood memories. My mom and my zia always cooking.

This past week-end I had the great privilege of co-facilitating a women's yoga retreat with a teacher who I love and respect. She introduced me to the Wise Earth Ayurveda sadhanas. These are beautiful spiritual practices that involve food and breath and sound. The blending of food and yoga has been a magical experience for me.

During our retreat, Padmashree introduced us to a mandala making sadhana. We used various grains and beans to create a mandala. Each of us added to the design, a few beans or grains at a time. While we chanted the vow of Ahimsa (non-harming) a beautiful image began to unfold. I was transported back to my childhood. The kitchen full of woman adding one ingredient at a time.

At the end of the sadhana we had collectively created a beautiful work of art. As we stepped back to admire the beautiful image it didn't matter who placed which beans where. It was through the effort of the collective working together that a beautiful work of art was created.

The practice had awakened in me that memory of my mom and my zia and even us kids cooking together and sharing a meal. All of us collectively, washing and cutting tomatoes. All of us collectively peeling peppers. All of us collectively preparing the food that would nourish us. When we sat down together at the table it didn't matter who added which ingredient or who made which part of the meal. The collective effort of the woman working together to create the beautiful meal nourished not only our physical bodies but also our souls.

I have so few childhood memories but the ones that I do hold on to usually involve food.  Food and a circle of women. The food always tasted so much better when it was prepared together and eaten together. It was infused with a little extra bit of love.

It is through the power of the collective working together, for the greater good, and without ego that beauty is created.

                                I take the vow of ahimsa
                     I make inner harmony my first priority

                               I take the vow of ahimsa
                        in my thoughts, speach and action

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