Mindfulness practice brings balance during times of travel and adventure.

Getting away is one of the best ways to recharge. A change of scenery, a shift in routine, deepening family relationships.. these are ways that bring a new perspective to our senses. This enlivening activity may bring overstimulation or aggravation to balance. We are unable to calibrate our response to new environments. This can bring stress to some. I appreciate time away and find that I have a need to adventure and be active, even in my daily life. 

However, my passion for travel and adventure can wreak havoc on my body. I know this, as my constitution. Vata-Pitta, can be easily agitated. If you know me, I can be moody. Travel can bring this kind of agitation, as well as a tipping of balance to imbalance. I am a big traveler and have had digestive issues since I was a child. I am doing subjective study to refine a healthy digestive system for myself. This is a lifelong study which includes my exploration in Ayurveda (the study of life). 

"According to Ayurvedic principles, by understanding oneself, by identifying one's own constitution, and by recognizing sources of doshic aggravation, one can not only follow the proper guidelines to cleanse, purify, and prevent disease, but also uplift oneself into a realm of awareness previously unknown." -- Vasant Lad

A recent getaway presented an opportunity to put myself in the seat of "client". I took time to create an herbal formula to prepare for the disruption of my meals, quality of ingredients, and the added processing of restaurant and cafe foods. Including in our vacation was scheduled time to connect with nature. Adding this element to our vacation enabled us to include physical activity and exercise, as well as bonding in nature. Meditation was simple activity in a quiet beach setting. I felt the energy of the rich biodiversity of the Central coast up to Big Sur. Aliveness is very real in wild and untamed areas. I was uplifted to be in the vicinity of sea otters, elephant seals, harbor seals, so many birds, and even a pair of dolphins discovered on this trip. Oh, and we saw deer on a golf course. Rich habitats ripple positive energy into our bodies. 

Drinking oxygen in our lungs in an area so rich with oxygen-promoting sea life fosters health and wellness. Understanding the special sense of place and taking time to appreciate a new environment and community builds internal strength and confidence. Travel and natural experiences can offer rich fulfillment with a mindfulness practice. 

Energized by the natural surroundings of Big Sur, I enjoy time doing yoga and meditation on the beach. 

Energized by the natural surroundings of Big Sur, I enjoy time doing yoga and meditation on the beach. 

Kitchen Sadhana

Do you practice the communal connectivity of your personal mind, body, and spirit? Creating a kitchen space to express your own relationship with ingredients and the earth will enhance awareness. Mindfulness in the kitchen creates a ripple effect through our bodies, which feeds our minds. The practice of mindfulness stimulates our spirit, bringing direct connectivity to the earth through the food we eat and the bodies in which we reside.

Kitchen Sadhana practice includes our own expression of these 8 personal values of being:

  1. Welcoming 
  2. Clean
  3. Fresh
  4. Abundant
  5. Generous
  6. Spatial Awareness (especially helpful for grown ups to express this and orient children (sub-consciously) to this in their own development 
  7. Attractive
  8.  Healthful


Creating a special kitchen space that is welcoming and comfortable is the beginning of being mindful in our own bodies. A space with enough room, which is well appointed and orderly invites others to be a part of things. The kitchen is a home space for so many pleasantries of conversation, catching up, and family gatherings. We also do work, homework, and play games in our kitchens. Decisions about school, work, life, summer and holiday plans are made. Life is designed from a welcoming space. 

A lack of hospitality brings forth negativity, solitude, disconnectedness, and may lead to stagnant energy in the kitchen.

Cleanliness & Freshness

Clear, clean spaces create a fresh feeling. Energy is flowing in a clean and fresh kitchen. Vitality exudes from cleanliness and freshness. Kitchens can be too clean sometimes, but this is, generally, not the case. Kitchens contain much work during the day and a space of incredible activity. 

Tidying up after every meal will facilitate good energetic flow and also minimize bacteria growth in and around food preparation areas. Simple habits of appreciating cleanliness and freshness is generally all you need to keep your kitchen maintained. Taking 10 minutes to clean dishes and tidy counters, table, and floors can be all you really need (depending upon the mess). If it takes longer than 10 minutes, well, you may find that after 10 minutes, you just keep going until it is complete. 

Learning the tricks of the trade in food preparation minimizes the time it takes to clean up. Enjoy a cooking lesson with a Kitchen Sadhana consultation, take a group cooking class, or watch a simple cooking show to learn some handy tricks for meal prep. Take a few hours daily to spend time in the kitchen. These are precious hours to prepare food that becomes YOU. If you don't have time to do this every day, then try every other day. You can reheat food that you prepare for a few days. 

Abundance & Generosity

These go together. For when we see our kitchen in the light of abundance, we are able to be generous in our kitchen. The Vedic texts outlined sharing food always generously. If we have food, we have enough to share. From our kitchens, we may share meals with family and friends. We can apply this lesson to other ways of sharing with our community and our world. 

Abundance of ingredients is known when we eat with the seasons. Seasonal ingredients teach us about how to be intimate with the Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall. To eat the Earth's harvest in Spring, for example, means to eat strawberries in many different ways to celebrate this time of our calendar. We may experience feelings of "delicious" to "sweet" to "tangy in the beginning of the season. Toward the end of the season, we may feel sensations of being fatigued with the abundance. 

During these times of late season, we may explore preserving Spring's ingredients to save for a future indulgence. The abundance of the peak or late season lends to a natural generosity and feelings of wealth. This is wonderful place from which to work, as these feelings are cyclical and can ripple into your social circles. 

Spatial Relationships

I have had the opportunity to work with people from varying backgrounds and education. I have worked in kitchens and in leadership capacity. I have learned when I ask two people to do the same thing, I discover the process taken to complete the task is unique to each person. Spatial awareness is a kitchen skill that is tremendously important in professional kitchens. Most commercial kitchen spaces are cozy and any random move or accident can cause injury to a co-worker. Being respectful of your own space is where safety begins. 

Being spatially aware in the kitchen is a practical developmental life skill which is perfect to hone as a child working in the kitchen. Grace and personal awareness fosters great style, which can be developed while preparing meals and tidying up. Sensitivity to the yourself in your own surroundings is important to our development, as cited by Sian Eckersley in the Occupational Therapy for Children blog -- 

Spatial awareness is “a complex cognitive skill that children need to develop at an early age. Spatial awareness does come naturally to most children but some children have difficulties with this skill and there are things that can be done to help improve spatial awareness.
— Sian Eckersley

Being Attractive & Healthy

In nature, beautiful examples of life are chosen first for procreation. It is in our hormones to seek mates who we are naturally attracted to. It is proven cross-culturally that attractive humans tend to be happier and have more rewarding life experiences. Attractive plants tend to be lush and vibrant with perfect leaves and blossoms. In humans, attractiveness is subjective. However, what is important is the overall body fitness and healthy appearance. This is a language from your body that you are vital and full of life. 

Healthy folks will have a healthy clear sheen in skin and hair appearance. Eyes are clear and whites are white. Teeth are clean and gums are not inflamed. A little fat and plump collagen in the face also exudes a healthy glow of happiness and life balance. Toned muscles and visible appearance of fitness in the limbs shows enough movement in daily exercise. 

Kitchen Lifestyle

Establishing a Kitchen Sadhana practice fosters healthy thoughtful food intake. With a balance of mind, body, and spirit practice in the kitchen, this will set a tone with others who take part in being in the kitchen. Creating a joyful space for preparing meals and the host of other activities is a powerful way to cultivate process in our lives.

You may be the kitchen leader. The one who makes all of the meals. You may work with a partner or loved on equally. Others may also be involved in kitchen preparation. Whether children, friends, or elders are in the kitchen with you, learning about food and life is constant. Hearing a good story about the day or discovering a new recipe to try, offers an opportunity to articulate our thoughts and feelings. Share your space generously and discover the connected feelings of community begin in the home environment. 

This is the beginning activities of rippling positive energy into the world. Approaching life toward connectedness will foster relational growth and connect us closer to healing confusion, ignorance, and isolation in the world. May the kitchen be a place of peace and contentment offering nourishment to others. 


Source: http://occupationaltherapyforchildren.over...