Expand your yoga + food horizons
By Erin O'Brien
Just like there are an unlimited number of asanas (postures) in yoga, only a few of which have been adopted into the modern day Vinyasa practice, there are 10,000 known tomato varieties, 7,500 different apple varieties, and thousands of unique heirloom beans and maize. The limited variety of seeds, fruits, and vegetables we see on the grocery shelves became popular, not because of their flavor or nutritional value, but because of their ability to transport well.
We quickly become familiar with these asanas and these foods, because they are widespread and popular. With such familiarity, they become our safety zone. I have worked with children who prefer the flavorless, hard sandwich tomato we find in the grocery store during winter months to the fresh, juicy heirloom tomato found at the farmer’s market during the summer, simply because it is what they are used to. And yet, as we step outside of our comfort zones and experience new foods and new postures, we open to new experiences in life.
Any posture we generate with our physical bodies becomes yoga as we cultivate breath and awareness in the form. Yoga is the "yoking" or union of the mind and spirit through meditation. We often think of yoga as pathway to toned muscles and greater flexibility. Instead, the art and science of yoga is the experience of bringing awareness to the layers of our being in the present moment. Through yoga, we come to know ourselves as multidimensional beings. We develop a new way of being with ourselves, cultivating non-judgment and self-awareness.
There are incredible modern asana yoga practices that are being developed and practiced by people all around the world. Similarly, there are hidden gems of incredibly flavorful, colorful, nutritious foods grown by passionate, independent farmers around the world that light up the senses creating experiences of yoga. And the diversity of food and of postures alike takes us into a new relationship to ourselves and our communities. From these diverse experiences, we grow, transform, and evolve into new realms of possibility.