I’m not talking little plates of chorizo and olives, although they too are perfect for the mindful eater.
Tapas is also a Sanskrit term from the tradition of yoga, and it’s more of a personal observance, or positive activity . Like any ancient - but still relevant - text, the writings that deal with the concept of tapas have been interpreted a million ways.
In the context of mindful eating I like the interpretation of tapas as the cleansing fire that is fed by the momentum of good habits. The fire of my mindful eating practice dwindled to a few scattered glowing coals over the past several years. I was surprised that happened, and I’m still not sure why it did. I thought that, like the recent Australian bushfires, the power of my newly-sparked mindful eating practice of 2014 was so powerful nothing could extinguish it.
I think I’ve taken that metaphor far enough. In the last 2 months I’ve been re-inspired in my mindful eating practice. Once again, it’s developing a momentum that allows it to sustain itself. The individual little habits I’m fostering again, like noticing hunger, putting down my fork between mouthfuls, eating only until I’m 2/3 full, and meditating regularly, are all supporting a very comfortable and natural mindful eating practice, and I feel good. That’s tapas.
I’ve learned through experience that tapas doesn’t make my practice invincible. Mindful eating is a way of life, not a willpower-driven diet, but even nourishing, rewarding ways of life fall by the wayside. Why is that? What are the individual choices that cause a practice to unravel? That’s what I’m curious about right now.
Tapas is one of 10 guidelines for living that come from the teachings of yoga. As part of my 2020 Depth Year commitment to myself, I intend to fully explore all 10 of these concepts in relation to mindful eating. I’ve logged a lot of hours learning about these yogic principles, and yet in the past few years I’ve wondered “Where did my mindful eating practice go? What can I do to get it started again?” Like Dorothy, I had the answer with me all along – I just wasn’t ready to use it yet.