Cooking is My Meditation

These past couple of years, I’ve done yoga on and off. When things have gotten stressful, I’ve taken some yoga classes, and then I would go a few months and take more when the stress came back.

While the poses in yoga are fun, my favorite part is the meditation aspect. Being told to sit there with a quiet mind is so freeing, and I can definitely say I feel the yoga bliss after some meditation practice in class.

Being a college student, I can’t afford (time or money-wise) to go to yoga classes regularly. I know it’s very doable to start a home practice, but I guess I’m just that kind of person who responds well to instruction instead of my own willpower. I’ve tried meditation on my own too, and it’s hard to decide to sit there for even 5 minutes without thoughts racing through my mind when I know there’s so much other stuff I can do at that time.

Analyzing my stress patterns has shown me one interesting thing, however. While I turn to yoga mostly when I get stressed, I also cook more when I am feeling that pressure. There’s something about being in the kitchen that calms my nerves and alleviates any worries I have about the future, because in that moment, I am chopping my carrots or whisking my dressing. There’s no place in the kitchen for job application stress or relationship drama, just the promise of delicious food in my immediate future.

This week is the start of reading week for winter quarter at my university. That means I have two research papers and a final exam to complete in the next week or so, and just that thought alone can burden my waking hours as well as my nightmares.

That’s why, instead of taking this evening to study or do anything school-related, I cooked a mega-recipe from my newest cookbook, Thug Kitchen, using three different recipes and sets of ingredients. I spent a couple of hours total in the kitchen, between chopping my vegetables, boiling the noodles, and cleaning all the dishes, but those were two hours of me being present, and isn’t that what meditation is about?

Sometimes I can get down on myself for failing to follow through with my latest promises like, “This week, you’re going to meditate for real.” But I have to remember that we all have our ways of checking out and tuning in, and I guess that’s what cooking does for me.

Besides give me a week’s worth of delicious veggie noodle salad.

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