What: Eating meditation is the art of mindfully chewing and swallowing each bite of your food. As Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield writes in Meditation for Beginners, “the only real rule is that you really pay attention to what you eat.”
Examples: Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, and Jan Chozen Bays offer instructions for eating meditations. A variation on the practice, called mindful eating, is also taught in secular settings by mindfulness teachers like Jean Kristeller and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Benefits: According to the Huffington Post, scientific studies have found mindful eating (which can include specific eating meditations) can help people lose weight, reduce overeating and binge eating, lower their body mass index (BMI), and cope with anorexia and bulimia, among other conditions.
Keywords: delicious, mindfulness-inducing, sensorial
Try this: In Meditation for Beginners, Jack Kornfield recommends practicing an eating meditation with three raisins. First, give yourself permission to slow down and practice mindfulness (moment-to-moment awareness) throughout the exercise, which can easily take five minutes. Then examine the raisins closely, contemplating where they came from and how they arrived on your plate. Touch them and feel the sensations in your fingertips. Then raise your arm slowly and place the raisins on your tongue, observing the taste and other sensations without chewing. Finally, close your eyes, chew the raisins slowly, and mindfully swallow them.
Jan Chozen Bays offers some advice for eating mindfully in the article 6 Ways to Slow Down and Savor Your Food.
You can also learn more about eating meditation and mindful eating from Thich Nhat Hanh in this video.
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies