The Yoga of Chocolate

As I shared in a recent post (“What Kind of Yoga do You Practice?”), there are many ways to practice yoga beyond just the physical poses. In today’s post I’ll be sharing how to practice the yoga of chocolate!

Do you love chocolate? Or do you know anyone who loves chocolate? I’m guessing you are answering yes to at least one of these questions!

Chocolate is made from cacao beans which grow inside pods on small trees, and besides being high in antioxidants, and helpful to heart health, it can greatly improve your mood. Chocolate creates excitement and sends a signal to your brain that something fun is about to happen!

The word yoga means “union” and so the goal of the yogic practices done by a yogi (male) or yogini (female) is to achieve a state of union with divine consciousness. Depending on your beliefs, you may call that consciousness God, Goddess, Divine Love, Nature, the Universe, or many other names. In the yoga tradition it is believed that your deepest self is connected with that divine consciousness, so when you do yogic practices you feel that union inside yourself.

Eating chocolate in a conscious way can enhance your feelings of union with your deepest self. Some ways to practice the yoga of chocolate include ~

~ Offer the chocolate to the Divine, or to your deepest self. Bless the chocolate with your highest gratitude vibrations.

~ Imagine the tree on which the cacao beans grew… under sunlight by day, and under starlight by night. Cultivate fascination for the miracle that this superfood grows naturally on this sacred Earth.

~ Take small bites, close your eyes, and eat the chocolate as slowly as you possibly can. Savor the taste and be fully aware of all sensations in the present moment. Allow your heart and mind to open to all the love in the universe!

~ If you have time, do some spiritual practices after eating your chocolate. In Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love and devotion, chanting (singing sacred mantras) is one of the primary practices, and it goes especially well with chocolate. Both singing and chocolate open the mind and heart to deep feelings of love, so combining the two is like giving yourself a superblast of big love energies!

Like coffee (see my post “Coffee Is Good Medicine”), it is important to buy organic, fair-trade chocolate… And, dark chocolate is best for many reasons, including health (dairy nullifies cacao’s benefits), and compassion (the cows suffer greatly when their milk is stolen from them)…

For many years my absolute favorite chocolate bar has been this salted almond 70% dark chocolate bar by Theo, pictured here on top of my Grandma Hazel’s floral tin, in which I store my chocolate stash…

YogaOfChocolate_TheoChocolate_StarFireTeja

I have been enjoying chocolate as medicine for decades, but sometimes I take a break from it, just to make sure that I’m not addicted to it, and to make sure that I still enjoy life without it! So, I did not eat any chocolate for the month of July, and I had so many seriously happy days, which proved that I am not dependent on chocolate… But, some days I do enjoy it as one of my many happy-ing up tools!

I hope you enjoyed this post on the yoga of chocolate… This is day 3 of my Virtual Book Launch Week! You will learn much more about yogic practices beyond the physical poses in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, available now on Lulu! ~ Thank you so much to Andrea, of The Hummingbird’s Journal, for ordering a copy! 🙂

May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Photo* of cacao beans by allybally4b on Pixabay.

* If you are viewing this post in an email, simply click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja blog where you can see the photo of cacao beans.

 

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What is the Title for the Book of Your Life?

Have you heard of narrative therapy? I recently learned about it, which led me to do a life story exercise that you might enjoy doing also. In this blog article I’ll share my experience with this fun tool. If you do the exercise, please let me know how it goes!

So, on the night of the Spring Equinox, I lay in bed feeling as though I had come to a dead end in my life. As I ruminated about how my computer barely still works, and about how ten years of hardships have culminated at this dead end, suddenly I had a breakthrough moment in which I took responsibility. I said to myself, “You chose to come to this dead end for some reason.”

Remembering that everything happens for a reason helped to ease the pain and sadness, and within a few days I felt myself opening again to the Field of Infinite Possibilities. I affirmed that I needed to gaze around 360 degrees and see the world with fresh eyes. Right about that time, a friend sent me an article which led me to learn about narrative therapy.

From that article I printed out the Life Story exercise. The first task is to write your Book Title. Well, I started out with a bang… without thinking much, I wrote, “Teja’s Story of Coming Full Circle to a Dead End.” Sighing, I asked myself, “Would it be possible to reframe that title in a more positive light?” Nothing positive came to me right then, so I continued on, and wrote the seven Chapter Titles, along with their descriptions. The goal of the exercise is to review your life in brief, so as to not go too deeply into any memories, especially if you are working through any traumas. (The exercise is written for healing trauma, but anyone can benefit from doing it.)

It was so neat to see the seven chapters laid out like that. It was especially wonderful to see that I really did come full circle, from Chaper 1: Life in the Nourishing Roots of Indiana (Wholesome and healthy family, religion, and farmland with lots of love and nurture) to Chapter 7: Returning Home to Roots of Indiana (Wholesome plant-based living with loving parents, writing, regrouping, and reinventing while doing daily spiritual practices and facing the realities of HSP*-ness).
*Highly Sensitive Person

The third task is to write the chapter title and description for “Into the Future” which I wasn’t able to do that day because I have no idea what I’m going to do in the future! So at that point I had to stop the exercise and eat some dark chocolate, lol. This was actually in keeping with the “Time Out” instructions at the beginning of the exercise: “Always reflect on your inner state and notice if you need a break from the exercise to find your inner calm.”

While enjoying my chocolate time out, I reflected on the beautiful perspective I had gained through that writing exercise. It gave me a deeper understanding, which helped me to say, “I forgive and bless my whole past. I forgive and bless my whole life story and all the characters in it!”

Well, a few days later when I was feeling calm and positive, I finally got around to reframing my Book Title. I am very pleased with this new version: “Teja’s Story of Coming Full Circle to Her Happy Place, Reaching for Orange!” Orange is a joyful, happy color, and on the Hindu Yoga Path it represents the fire of renunciation, of renouncing worldly attachments and desires to focus on the Happiness within oneself. Through my daily spiritual practices I experience that happiness, so my “happy place” is right here inside my very own self.

I’ll end this article with a quote from Lisa Smartt, from her book Words at the Threshold: What We Say As We’re Nearing Death… “The happiest lives are framed by narratives that allow us to imagine we have made progress…”

Do you feel that you have made progress in your life so far?

 

image courtesy Public Domain Pictures