It’s that time of the year again when December embarks upon us and we start the festive season preparations. I love Christmas, when you get to spend an entire three days with family and friends just chatting and eating. Christmas is a big deal in my family. We start celebrations with a Christmas eve dinner. Traditionally, we would sit down at the table when the first star appears and begin feasting for the next six hours with 12 dishes coming out in batches with breaks in between.
I used to eat a lot and over-indulge. It’s so difficult not to. The dishes we eat on Christmas eve we generally only make once a year because of the work involved and it being a time of tradition. This year I decided no way do I want to feel stuffed and uncomfortable like in previous years. Not to mention waking up the next morning with a hangover due to too much wine and vodka. This year I was going to practice one of the aspects of Saucha.
In Yoga philosophy there are rules of conduct that need to be followed and one of them entails practicing individual discipline when it comes to the body. Saucha refers to purity of mind, body and speech. From the perspective of the body this personal observance refers to eating only for health, strength and energy. We should eat only when hungry and not to satisfy our taste buds. A yogi eats for sustenance. A yogi does not over-indulge in food as the body is seen as the house of the spirit and needs to be taken care of. Over-indulgence can lead to digestive disorders which throws the bodily systems out of balance. So, I decided I was going to eat mindfully this year, a little bit of everything and no matter how good it tasted I would not have seconds.
With twelve dishes to get through in an evening I stuck with only dishing up a table spoon or one serving of everything. I drank only water and made sure to have only one shot of vodka to help the fish swim down to the tummy. This is a joke in our group of family and friends, that you can’t eat herring without vodka because it can’t swim down dry. I was very proud of myself. Despite all the desserts at the end of the meal I still managed to try them all and left that dinner table feeling not full but content.
Next time you attend a dinner party or have a celebration practice Saucha when it comes to what you eat. Make the commitment before leaving home that you will only eat that which is healthy for you and which will give you strength and energy. You eat only as much as the body wants, not as much as our taste buds and eyes want.