Mindful Eating & Cooking

Mindful Cooking

All eating starts with cooking or preparation of some kind. Cooking and preparing food is a wonderful opportunity to calm down and tune in. Smell, listen, and enjoy your food as you go. While you’re cooking check in with yourself, how are you feeling and how does cooking this particular dish make you feel? This doesn’t have to be a longer process than what it typically is, just a much more present process. This also allows for a much purer energy transfer into your food. I am sure you have heard the phrase, “made with love” and to me that is what this is. If you are grumpy and rushed when preparing your food the nutritional value and flavor profile decreases. Cook your food with love and presence and it will surely taste better and better nourish your body and mind.

Mindful Eating

When you sit down to eat make sure you have everything you need so you don’t have to get up during your meal, use the bathroom, grab a drink, and prepare to enjoy. Turn off the TV and the radio and allow your presence to come to what and who is in front of you. Allow yourself time to chew your food and really enjoy it, notice the flavors, and the signals the food is sending you as you eat. Enjoy the conversation with the people around the table with you, or if you are alone allow yourself this time to clear your mind and really focus on what you are doing.

Why eat mindfully? There are the initial, obvious and amazing benefits that this gives you in terms of relaxing and enjoying yourself a little more as you eat your meals. A lot more is happening within you, however, as you slow down and tune in when you are eating. Studies show that the more attentive we are when we eat, the less we eat now and later. I’m not saying it’s necessarily important to eat less, but if we slow down and focus on our food and practice mindfulness as we eat, this gives us a moment to feel and acknowledge the hormonal signals our stomach is sending to our brain that tell us when we have add enough to eat. It takes about 20 minutes from the time your food crosses your lips for your brain to recognize that you are full, so giving yourself this extra time and awareness when you are eating will help you from overeating before it’s too late. Also, the more aware we are when we are eating gives us a greater memory of the food we’ve consumed causing us to sustain that feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. So, give your plate your full attention!

Downward Dog into Forward Fold

Arriving in Downward Facing Dog

Come into downward facing dog by stepping the feet back away from the hands creating an upside down “V” shape with the body as pictured above.

The Hands: Take your gaze up to your hands and make sure all of the edges of your palm are firmly pressed into the mat or earth and make sure the tips of your fingers are firmly pressed in so that the fingertips begin to turn white. Check in with wrists and make sure that they are supported by the hand, if the wrists begin to feel tender, press a little firmer into your hands to relieve some of the pressure.

The Shoulders, Back, and Abdomen: Begin to feel your head tilt downward so that the gaze is in between the knees or the thighs. Feel your belly button begin to reach up and in towards the diapraghm engaging uddiyana bandha. Feel the sit bones reach up towards the sky as the pelvis presses away from the rib cage. Feel the heart press in towards the thighs, your hands pressing in to ensure you are not dumping into your shoulders, if the shoulders begin to round forward in a cat-like posture take a slight bend in the knees to support the spine.

The Legs and Feet: Your feet should be about hip distance apart, begin to feel your strength in your legs as your heels start to magnatize towards the earth (they do not need to touch.) Feel the pads of the feet beneath the big toe and pinky toe ground into the earth, and feel all ten toes pressing into the mat with a little bit of space in between each.

Moving from Doward Facing Dog into a Forward Fold

Exhale to take a big bend in the knees and feel the thighs press in towards the abdomen, inhale to come up onto the toes, exhale and feel the upper and lower core engage. Inhale to gaze up in between the hands signalling to the legs where they are headed, exhale using the core to reach the right foot up in between in between the hands, exhale, and then on your next inhale reach the left foot up in between the hands to meet the right. Inhale taking the hands to the thighs, shins, blocks, or the ground and half lift reaching out through the crown of the head and the tailbone. Exhale taking a slight bend the knees, fold in as you feel the belly button reach up and in, and the sits bones reach up towards the sky.

Home Practice

I am hoping that throughout this current social and economic climate I can provide you with a reprieve. I am sharing some tools to add to your toolbox so that you can care for yourself during this time of uncertainty. I am also hoping to provide you with some healthy ways to spend your plethora of down time!

Asana Practice

I have mentioned this first because it is the most obvious, the most available, and the most well known. Asana is the sanskrit word for “pose” or “posture” and this is the physical practice that you likely immediately think of when you think of yoga. There is no shortage of online classes (free or donation-based) available to you at this time. I am personally offering free online classes via ZOOM on Saturday’s at 10am MST (code 437 249 6637). Youtube also has never ending classes amongst many other platforms. If you are struggling to find asana classes please reach out to me and I will do my best to point you in the direction of one that will suit your needs!


Pranayama is the sanskrit word for “breath control” and is another tool for calming and focusing the mind. Odds are if you’ve practiced a yoga asana practice, you’ve practiced a pranayama. This is another practice available with endless resources, you can find many youtube videos with different pranayama exercises for different ailments. My go to pranayama practice lately has been nadi shodana or alternate nostril breath, I explained this breath technique in depth in my last blog post.


Meditation has been by far one of the most beneficial practices for me in terms of my mental health and getting through hard times. It is so easy in these times to tune into the world and start to feel anxious, because the world is a very anxious place right now (and for good reason!), but as we know this is not a healthy response. Spend some time sitting down with yourself, it doesn’t have to be complicated, arrive in a comfortable seated position and focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your nose. If you have trouble focusing you can mentally say inhale as you inhale and exhale as you exhale, or count 1 on the inhale and 2 on the exhale, as your mind wonders (because it will) just draw the attention back to the breath. So simple and so powerful!


Mantra, or chanting, is an excellent way to open up your throat chakra, ground down, and bring positive energy into your life. This, like the other practices I have mentioned in this post, does not have to be complicated. This can be as simple as sitting down and chanting the universal vibration of, “OM” three or so times. This can be very powerful for calming the mind when the thoughts start to run rampant. Lately, my personal favorite mantra has been, “OM Namaha Shivaya” which directly translates to “OM greetings to the auspicious one (Shiva)” and this has been important to me lately because Shiva is the God of transformation and I am personally feeling like transformation is something the world and myself desperately need(s) right now.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is another amazing practice for calming the mind and body. Yoga Nidra is a practice of moving through each part of the body and relaxing it with the mind, sometimes followed by a guided mediation, this is the ultimate mindfulness practice and a great cure for anxiety. I have been using a YouTube video for this that has been amazing and I highly recommend for times when you are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H0FKzeuVVs. 

I hope so much that these practices help you during this odd time and that each of us can use this time for personal and spiritual growth. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me during this time if there is any way that I can support you or with any questions you may have, I am here for YOU!

Let’s Talk about Bandhas!

What are bandhas?

The word bandha means to “hold,” “tighten,” or “lock.” Bandhas are energy locks that are created in the body through minor movements made externally and internally. Bandhas are meant to facilitate energy, stability and strength in the body. Bandhas prevent the release of prana (vital energy) through points at each end of, and in, the body by the blocking the flow, redirecting it, and forcing it to flow or accumulate in the body.

3 Bandhas

There are 3 major bandhas that are used in regular yogic practices like asana and pranayama, and if you have taken a yoga class you have probably heard them described or maybe even mentioned. 

1. Mula Bandha

Mula bandha is the lower most bandha located at the perineum and is coined the “anal lock” or “root lock.” To create the feeling of mula bandha sit down in a comfortable seated position, tuck the tailbone towards the pelvic bone, tuck the pelvic bone towards the tailbone (opposing the tailbone but still tucking the tailbone,) and begin to feel the sits bones draw towards one another. This should draw all your attention and muscles towards a center point and create your mula bandha. This bandha is most beneficial when trying to accomplish the more challenging balance postures like headstands and handstands. Mula bandha is beneficial in facilitating and “locking” prana in the body because it is the very base of the body

2. Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana bandha is located right below the belly button, and for this reason is coined the “abdominal lock.” Uddiyana bandha has also been coined “upward lifting lock” and the reason for this is that it is activated by pulling that space right below the belly button up and in, almost as if you could draw your belly button up between your lungs and into your diaphragm, creating that upward lift. This bandha is particularly beneficial when hopping forward from downward facing dog into a forward fold, and is responsible for the “float” that happens in this movement that you may have experienced or seen happen. Benefits from this bandha include massaging the internal organs, assisting in digestion and circulation of blood, and assisting in deepening of the breath.

3. Jalandhara Bandha

Jalandhara bandha is the higher most bandha and is located and the base of the neck and for this reason it is coined the “throat lock.” To create the feeling of jalandhara bandha tilt the head forward slightly as if you are holding an apple in between your chin and your clavicle and begin constricting the throat. Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are activating this bandha, but you will know you have got it when you can feel yourself swallow quite a bit more intensely. This bandha is most beneficial when working with various breathing exercises, or pranyamas, by opening up the circulatory and respiratory systems, and for opening up the throat chakra. Much like Mula bandha, Jalandhara bandha is beneficial in facilitating and “locking” prana in the body because it is the very top of the body.

Maha Bandha: The “great lock” is the activation of all three of these bandhas together.