Affirmation to My Body
I recognize you are the temple
in which my spirit and creative energy dwell.
I have created you from my need
to have my spirit manifest on earth
so that I may have this time
to learn and grow.
I offer you this food
so that you may continue to sustain
my creative energy, my spirit, my soul.
I offer this food to you with love,
and a sincere desire for you
so that you may remain free from disease and disharmony.
I accept you as my own creation
I need you
I love you.
The four of us, weekend away / yoga retreat ladies, fall into line as we arrive at 2pm, check in, leave our bags in the luggage room and grab our first cup of herbal tea. There are no labels indicating what kind of tea it is, but it is warm and earthy. I add a little slice of lemon and let it warm my throat and belly as we wait for whatever will come…the official workshop doesn’t start until 7pm.
We take our first of a series of wonderful, gentle yoga classes and report to the cafeteria at meal time. There is a buffet the size and quality of a king’s banquet. All the choices are healthful and lush. Salads, vegan pastas, pesto chicken, hearty breads, sweet breads, panini station and more.
The program begins.
Our first “undisclosed meal,” is light. Remember the sense of timelessness, there are no clocks for us to see and the meals shed formal tiles. We walk into the cafeteria in social silence and see that all but one section is emptied of choices. It’s all Basics Bar for us, Baby.
My journal entry from that day:
“There are lots of simple whole food choices, some not typically considered breakfast. We are asked to be mindful of eating and to start the meal with a affirmation to the body. Each person has a candle and small quote in front of their plate setting. The choices are a steamed broccoli / kale mix, raisins, nuts, steel cut oatmeal, quinoa, boiled eggs, apples, oranges, corn flakes, soy milk, brown rice, Indian yellow rice, miso soup and veggie broth. It was a quiet meal, put down the fork between bites, tasted my food and it was good.
I wouldn’t normally prefer or choose these simple, healthy, whole foods in everyday life because I have so many choices.”
Breakfast, or the first undisclosed meal of the day, is by far the best meal because of the fresh fruit. Fruit has never tasted so sweet when paired with such basic foods. Later that night, when I go to sleep, I find an apple stashed at the foot of my bed. We’re already turning into squirrels.
Our second undisclosed meal: tofu, brown rice, lots of veggies, carrots, salad with a basic oil and vinegar dressing, cabbage, peas.
“The tofu was good, reminded me a little of steak. I broke social silence and whispered this to my neighbor at the table. She said, girl, you are just really hungry.”
“Dinner was similar to lunch, rice and beans, tofu, steamed veggies. Not much along the line of salt or seasoning. You taste the food for what it is. I clear my plate. We’ve done a lot of work today and my body is telling me I’m hungry. I’m starting to notice the people who don’t like the food and aren’t really eating anything. One woman put her chin on her fist the whole meal and was near tears.”
But Dude, if someone is cooking food that’s healthy for me and I don’t have to do the dishes, I’m happy. Simple.
Second meal on Day 2:
“Lunch was quinoa, Sagg, apple, orange, kale, broccoli and for dessert, ahhhhhhh, a glass of vanilla soy milk. To this lady, it tasted like melted vanilla ice cream: affects of sugar detox.”
Last undisclosed “dinner”
“whipped yams, brown rice, curried veggies, green salad, apple, miso soup, more vanilla soy milk. The social silence is becoming more challenging, especially at meal time, because the group is starting to bond. We giggle through the meal. I catch Heather putting an orange peal in her teeth and turning to Jill who sits behind her at another table.”
Saturday and Wednesday are dessert nights at Kripalu. All day we smell cinnamon wafting through the windows from the bakery and kitchens right below us. That night, the facilitators ask us to close our eyes. When we open them, there is a big basket of oatmeal cookies for us. I’ve never savored a cookie as much as I did this one. I tasted every single crumb.
Last undisclosed “breakfast”
“boiled eggs, grapefruit, rolled oats, raisins, nuts.
After the weekend of the Basics Bar, Heather says to me, I won’t be eating rice for a very long time.
“Feeding yourself is an act of self love.”
“As you begin to chew, chew consciously and with awareness.”
“Ask yourself if you can feel the prana, the life force in your food, feeling the warmth of the food as it travels into your body to nourish you.”
“Chew well and chew slowly. Chewing well reduces cravings for sweets and allows enzymes in your saliva to mix well in your food and begin the process of digestion.”
“Simply observe any thoughts that may arise, not needing to change your thoughts, just returning your awareness to chewing, tasting, breathing.”
“Eat with joy and entitlement.”
“Release past experiences with food and eating. Let this experience be new and pure.”