There is a whole branch of yoga called ‘Anna Yoga’ but it’s nothing to do with someone called Anna or Annie! Although my friend Annie’s does teach amazing Dru Yoga in Manchester.
Anna is a very beautiful Sanskrit word meaning nourishment. In Hinduism there is an actual Goddess Annapurna, who is said to nourish the whole universe, with spiritual and physical food.
Anna Yoga is much more than healthy diet, it is a whole journey of self-knowledge through food. We may not find time or inclination to do yoga postures or meditation every day but we will normally eat, probably 3 times a day. This can be an empty experience of filling up or refueling or ultimately a sacred connection with ourselves and the universe around us.
While cooking it’s not just the ingredients that go into the food, you add part of yourself. I don’t mean a broken fingernail or false eyelash. We surround it with our thoughts and feelings as we cook and this becomes part of the meal.
The Anna Yoga secret is to add only the best ingredients from your storehouse of emotions. I soon learned if I was fed up when I was cooking, no one enjoyed the food, but if I put loving intention into it, everyone liked it.
For most of us the best example of this is mothers cooking. Although at times we may have hated it, I used to have huge battles over eating liver and onions! But for most of us, at times we experienced something so nourishing about our mother’s food, even if it was just beans on toast!
That’s because mothers love is normally the closest we get to divine unconditional love. That meal where your mother gave you something with a beautiful intention of love, was the most delicious and nourishing food.
When I was young my grandmother had a remedy for any illness, it was evaporated milk with warm water and sugar. Now I think it must be the worst thing if you have an infection lots of sugar and milk fat! But again it was the love and intention that was so healing, not the drink itself.
In India one of the staple foods is dal which is a thin spicy lentil or moong bean soup. When I was there someone said the best dal you get is in the temple. Not that it is such a great recipe or there is some secret ingredient, but the energy of the prayers and chanting goes into the food it becomes super charged blessed food, or ‘prashad’ in sanskrit.
Anna Yoga confirms what we already knew, the way to a persons heart is through the stomach! It’s a wonderful experiment to add love to your cooking along with the other ingredients. See what happens.
Categories: Keith on Life