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Chocolate Meditation with a twist

I first taught a chocolate meditation back in 2000 when I was quite new to teaching yoga. It was the penultimate session and I asked the students if there was anything they would like for the last class and one of them piped up 'You mean like cake or chocolate'. I laughed and said I was referring to a yoga practice but to leave it with me. I came up with the idea of doing a meditation with a piece of chocolate using the senses - hearing (unwrapping the chocolate and breaking it into pieces), sight, smell, touch and taste. I've taught it this way for many years and it has always been a popular meditation.

We had been working on the sacral chakra and thinking about our creativity and desire and this inspired me to take a different slant on the meditation. I'd already checked that no one was vegan or unable to eat chocolate (in which case you could substitute it for something else they find irresistible).

It started as usual, my handing out a square of chocolate (70% cocoa solids) to each student who placed it on a tissue on their mat so they could see it from a sitting position with their eyes gently looking down however this time I asked them to be aware of their desire to devour it, to notice how their body reacted as they looked at it. How badly did they want to eat it right now? Was this frustrating for them, seeing something they craved but not being able to touch it? After a while, I told them to turn it over, to look at it from the other side so they could compare the texture of the two sides.

They then raised the chocolate to their nose and took a deep breath observing again how they reacted, noticing the increase in saliva, the increase in desire to just grab it and eat it.

They then took a little bite and let it rest on the tongue to melt, observing how they felt, how much more they wanted to take a larger bite or just swallow it. This was followed by holding a small piece under the tongue and finally in the cheek. Each time they weren't to chew it but just let it melt in place and notice how it really tasted, how the flavour changed depending on where it was in the mouth and also how this changed their desire to just gobble up the piece of chocolate.

I then asked them to put the chocolate back down and notice whether the desire to eat it had reduced or if they still craved eating the whole piece. Interestingly they all said they felt they didn't want to eat more despite having wanting to scoff it when it was first put in front of them.

I find it fascinating how being fully engaged with our food can reduce our desire to eat something that we normally feel powerless to resist!

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