Every year, near Valentine’s Day, I choose heart openers as the focus for the yoga classes that I teach – and I include a chocolate meditation toward the end of the class. I have been a student in a few yoga classes where a chocolate mediation was included, and have always appreciated the practice. My students seem to appreciate it, as well.
If this sounds like something you might enjoy, you don’t have to wait until one of your yoga teachers decides to include a chocolate mediation in her/his class. You can practice your own chocolate meditation at any time. And it doesn’t have to be with chocolate, if you have another preferred gustatory treat!
So often we eat without much thought to the food we’re ingesting – perhaps eating in front of the television, or as we check email or Facebook on the computer or phone. It’s not uncommon to eat quickly, rather than mindfully – already focused on the next activity in our day, not taking the time to savor the texture, the aroma, and the flavor of our food.
Part of the purpose of a chocolate mediation is to get us to slow down, if just for just a few moments, and to fully and completely enjoy one piece of delicious chocolate. I choose Dove dark chocolate hearts for my chocolate meditations, for several reasons. Chocolate hearts in honor of Valentine’s Day and our heart-opening yoga practice. Dark chocolate because the antioxidants in dark chocolate are known to be good for the heart. And Dove chocolate, because doves are a symbol of peace – and, as yogis, we might wish to move toward for a more peaceful heart.
And a final reason is that Dove dark chocolate hearts are delicious! If we're going to savor something, we might as well savor something truly wonderful!
To practice this meditation on your own, find a comfortable seat – either in a chair or on the floor – with your piece of chocolate in hand. With your eyes closed, explore your chocolate with your sense of touch first. What is the size, shape, and texture of the chocolate? If your chocolate is individually wrapped, as Dove chocolates are, what is the texture of the wrapping?
Bring the chocolate to your nose, and explore the chocolate with your sense of smell. If the chocolate is individually wrapped, remove part of the wrapping so that you can fully enjoy the aroma.
Ah! Now it’s time to explore the chocolate with your sense of taste. Remove the remainder of the wrapping and gently place the chocolate in your mouth. Resist the urge to bite into the chocolate – but instead, begin to explore the shape and texture of the chocolate with your tongue. Enjoy the creamy texture and the chocolate flavor for as long as possible, trying to stay focused as completely as possible on the experience.
When the chocolate has completely melted in your mouth, and there is nothing left, take another moment or two with eyes closed, to savor the memory of the chocolate in your mouth. Then gently open your eyes, and notice how you feel. Can you take some of this experience of eating mindfully into your day, and perhaps into your future meals?