How to Feast Ayurvedically
I usually talk about how to famine. Here is my chance to balance it out with a few tips on how to feast ayurvedically.
Ayurveda 101: How to Feast
Thanksgiving is obviously all about the feast, but the timing of your feast is crucial. 2-3 pm is about as late as we can start and have time to comfortably digest the food we’ve eaten. The later towards sundown you eat, the easier it is to overeat, and the harder it is to eat lightly until the feast. I can’t recommend any kind of feasting after 4 pm. You’ll suffer. Encourage your feasting-mates to schedule earlier, or get used to inviting your guests earlier. It works, and over time your peeps will get that when they start early enough, they can overeat a little and still feel just fine the next day.
If you can plan a midday feast, here is a good plan for the morning:
- Start your day with a thermos of hot water with lemon.
- See how long you can enjoyably last just on hot water and lemon. Get in touch with the empty, clarifying effect. Let your deeper hunger awaken.
- When you feel true hunger, make a quart of green smoothie in a blender, a green juice, or stewed apples. Then, return to hot water with lemon.
- Go for a walk with your people. Breathe. Be in nature. Move your body.
- When the feast is ready, pause.
Pause. Rest in presence. Be grateful for bounty.
Absorb the bounty with all 5 senses.
- Drink in the aromas.
- Hear the chatter and excitement.
- Feel the we-space between you all.
- Receive the vibrant colors and textures on the table with your eyes.
- Savor. Delight. Taste the love and the effort.
- Eat with gratitude for the abundance. Eat the Earth’s abundance and celebrate the connection.
Enjoy the nourishment. Taste all 6 rasas, or flavors.
Contribute to the conversation with enhancing connectivity. Bring people together. Be grounded and inspiring.
Then back to hot water and lemon.
Ayurveda 201: How to Feast + Party
Traditionally in Ayurveda, there is a sequence of steps to preparing for feasting and drinking alcohol. The ancient texts describe some serious prep work: self-massage, bathing, anointing with pleasant fragrances, draping yourself in gorgeous and easily fitting clothes.
Then, you need to find great company. This is a requirement for appropriate celebration. Eat in a natural setting to enjoy the sunlight and nature’s beauty. Drink enough to spark interesting, relaxed conversation, but stop there. Drink too much and you numb your awareness and are no longer an asset to the party. Mindfully taste the flavors, stopping when your stomach is 2/3 full (1/3 liquid and 1/3 food), to incorporate the elements of space and air into digestion. Be in a pleasant mood and be only with other pleasant people.
Enjoy your mindful feast!
Maureen MichalskiPosted at 01:30h, 21 November
Yogi wisdom to prep for the holiday season…
JohannePosted at 01:53h, 21 November
The course Evolve your winter traditions, I saw John Friend in the panel. is it the one your were talking avbout few months aho?
Bryan VazquezPosted at 03:43h, 21 November
Hi Cate. Thanks for all your hard work, it's fun to follow along. I always liked the ayurvedic dictum "even moderation in moderation", meaning sometimes it's just time to pig out and not feel guilty. Your body will recover if you've been living balanced otherwise! It's those overall patterns that really count as your well aware. I actually alleviated a chronic intestinal track issue by swiggin a bunch of whiskey one time after all my anti-pitta ayurvedic regimens didn't help (not that I recommend that). Go figure….
Sha Sha CrossPosted at 12:30h, 21 November
An excellent new approach (or rather old!) to feasting for most of us…
Cate StillmanPosted at 12:34h, 21 November
Indeed. I learned a great deal from John Friend, who was my yoga teacher for 9 years. I interviewed him a year ago as I was creating the course and his contribution is uplifting and inspiring. I hope you enjoy it.
Nadya @ Spinach and YogaPosted at 13:12h, 21 November
Thank you for wonderful list of ayurvedic feast tips! Keeping agni strong before the feast is the way to go!
I have an interesting observation about lemon water. I used to do it every day first thing in the morning for 2 years. I also added honey in winter. It had a very cleansing effect and always made me go to the bathroom after I drank it. Unfortunately, over this Summer my very Pitta nature became very irritated with all this sour taste on the empty stomach. I had to switch to lime during the day and to plain barely warm water in the morning. Even though it is a Vata season my Pitta is still buzzing in my body. Now doing sitali throughout the day as er my ayurvedic doctors orders:)
Maybe it would be relevant to anyone esle who’s Pitta is high naturally? I feel like while lemon water is a wonderful cleansing nectar, it doesn’t work for everyone and can make certain people feel worse. What do you think? It’s just my guess so I wanted to check in with you.
Cate StillmanPosted at 13:21h, 21 November
Great observations. Hot water can also aggravate pitta,and simply having room temperature water instead will be on benefit.
Lime is cooling, but still sour, a taste that aggravates an out of balance pitta.
The guidelines are general, and there will always be exceptions.
Sarah HutchinsonPosted at 15:32h, 23 November
I've been walking this road with Cate for a number of years now, and this Thanksgiving Holiday demonstrated the shift in my family: moderation in food, deep delicious local food, emphasis on nature: walks and midday sunning sessions, and more love: active/easy listening, singing together, more mini massages to shoulders and scalps, just being present in that easy, essential way, unencumbered by too much food and booze and business. Everyone notices how much sweeter, fresher and desirable our time together is. Thanks Cate, for bring this all through!
Cate StillmanPosted at 01:55h, 16 January
I hear you Bryan – it’s fun to play the edges and notice what happens. I agree too about not feeling guilty.
Interesting about the whiskey. It reminds me of years back I was in Manhattan with a college buddy. He was an ambassador to an Irish Scotch company and could order unlimited amounts of the precious liquid at any bar that stocked it… gratis. Needless to say I had more alcohol than I’d had in the past 6 months put together that night. Woke up the next day… eliminated…and felt like I’d be through a detox. Purified by fire.