HomeVolume 9April 2024 Eating slowly

JASON NUTTING explores the benefits of mindful eating, and takes it to the next level by introducing a core principle of Heartfulness to bring about physical, mental, and spiritual well-being at mealtime.


In a world where the pace of life seems to accelerate with each passing day, the ancient wisdom of Indian sage Patanjali offers a beacon of light, guiding us toward the virtues of mindfulness and moderation. Patanjali, revered for his Yoga Sutras, emphasized the importance of harmony between the body, mind, and spirit—a concept that feels more relevant now than ever, especially in the context of eating and well-being.

The foundation of mindful eating

Mindful eating is not just a practice but a philosophy. When embraced, it can transform our relationship with food. It’s about engaging all our senses, recognizing our responses to food, without judgment, and acknowledging our emotions and physical cues. This approach stands in stark contrast to today’s fast and often mindless eating habits, which contribute to weight gain and also detach us from the joy and nourishment food is meant to provide.


Patanjali’s teachings and modern research on the art of eating

Patanjali taught the importance of Sthira (steadiness) and Sukha (ease) in our practices, which can be beautifully applied to the act of eating. Eating slowly and with intention encourages a steadiness of mind and body, allowing for a deeper appreciation of each meal, promoting better digestion, and satisfying us with smaller portions.

Research echoes these teachings, showing that slower, more mindful eating can lead to weight loss and improved health. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who eat slowly tend to consume fewer calories, experience increased fullness and, ultimately, see a reduction in weight. Slow eating allows the body time to signal fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating.

It’s about creating a moment of calm in
our otherwise hectic day, turning a simple
meal into an opportunity for
meditation and reflection.

Mindfulness and Heartfulness: a harmonious blend

Mindful eating is deeply connected with the principles of Heartfulness, which include conscious awareness and heart-centeredness. One of the key Heartfulness principles advises us to eat in a state of inner connection, inviting us to tune in to our food and our bodies. It’s about creating a moment of calm in our otherwise hectic day, turning a simple meal into an opportunity for meditation and reflection.

Ways to eat slowly and mindfully


Begin with gratitude: 
Before eating, take a moment to express gratitude for your meal. 
This can help center your mind and prepare you for a mindful eating experience.


Use all your senses: 
Observe the colors, smell the aromas, and savor each bite.
 This not only enhances the experience but also slows down the pace of eating.


Chew thoroughly: 
Make a conscious effort to chew your food multiple times. 
This aids digestion and gives your body time to recognize when it’s full.


Put down your utensils: 
Between mouthfuls, put down your utensils. 
This simple act can help pace your eating and encourage mindfulness.


Eliminate distractions: 
Turn off the TV and put away your phone. 
Eating without distractions encourages you to focus on the meal and your body’s cues.


Check in with yourself: 
Pause periodically during the meal. 
This helps prevent overeating and promotes satisfaction with less food.

Reflective questions to deepen your practice

  • What emotions or thoughts arise when I eat slowly and without distractions? How do they differ from when I eat quickly or mindlessly?
  • How does the practice of expressing gratitude before meals change my eating experience?
  • In what ways can I incorporate the principles of Heartfulness into my daily eating habits?

By integrating these practices into a daily routine, we embark on a journey not just toward weight loss, but toward a deeper connection with our food, our bodies, and ultimately, our inner selves. This mindful approach to eating, inspired by the wisdom of Patanjali and the principles of Heartfulness, offers a path to a healthier, more harmonious life.

Illustrations by LAKSHMI GADDAM


Jason Nutting

Jason Nutting

Jason is an exercise and nutrition expert, who began in the US Air Force, evolving into a certified coach specializing in fat loss, performance, and nutrition. Co-founder of ONE GYM in Greenville, SC, and creator of the Living Lean Bluep... Read More