Three Ways Intuitive Cooking Can Awaken Your Senses and Feed Your Joy
I once sat and watched a woman cooking in India for hours. I was amazed at how gracefully she moved through her kitchen. There was purpose and rhythm and clarity to her action. It was beautiful. What I witnessed was a true union of intuition and intellect in the process of creating.
That day inspired me to invite more intuition and play into my cooking, allowing it to become a truly satisfying sensual and creative process. Below are a few tips that I have found especially helpful in the journey!
Intellect vs. Intuition in the Kitchen
When it comes to cooking, many people have difficulty stepping away from the intellect and trusting their intuition because they want to get it right, especially as beginners.
There’s a big drive in our society towards perfectionism. And with that, cooking can often become a mechanical endeavor, especially when we are trying to recreate or achieve a certain look or effect.
When we try to recreate a food experience from the past, it doesn’t always go well because so many factors can affect the cooking process. For example, the temperature in the room, the type of cooktop or oven, the type of cookware being used, the grind of the spices or flour, the age of the beans, and so on. So even if we’re following a recipe, expecting perfection may set us up for disappointment.
The quality of the food we prepare isn’t only about it being organic and fresh—although I certainly do recommend those things. It’s also largely impacted by the attitude and energy of the cook. Over-thinking and striving for perfection will probably not create a sattvic meal—one that has a harmonious, peaceful feeling to it.
When we primarily rely on the intellect, the process frequently has a more rajasic nature. In other words, we push to get something accomplished rather than allowing creativity to unfold in a harmonious way. When we put this pressure on ourselves and our cooking, there’s much less space and opportunity for love to flow into the food.
Three Ways to Access Your Intuition While Cooking
Of course, the intellect has its rightful place in the kitchen. It’s important to make sure you have the ingredients you need, and keeping a well-organized space makes it easy to find things so that you can move through the cooking process like a dance.
But when we combine intellect with intuition, we can really get into the groove of creating beautiful, nourishing meals that feed the soul. It becomes a graceful, pleasurable dance.
For those who want to bring more joy and peace into their cooking process, here’s what I suggest:
1. Practice Prana Mudra to Awaken Intuition
- Take at least 3–5 minutes to practice, seated comfortably with your eyes closed.
- Sit with the tips of the pinky and ring fingers touching the tips of the thumbs and the other two fingers extended out and down. Rest your hands on your thighs or knees, palms facing up.
- Breathe deeply and allow your muscles to relax as much as possible.
2. Use All Five Senses to Access Presence
Use all five of your senses to cook and eat: touch the many textures of the ingredients, listen to the sound of the prepping and cooking, breathe in the aroma of the spices. Allow your senses to wake up and get involved before moving to the next step in cooking.
I don’t recommend tasting while cooking, as this allows your dosha imbalance to influence your cooking and cultivates a lack of trust in your intuition. However, eating the meal with your eyes closed can help connect you to your other senses and be quite a wonderful experience.
Connecting with the senses brings us into the present—where we find possibility and inspiration.
3. Make Mistakes and Enjoy the Process
If you don't like the results you get, then make an adjustment and go for it again. Approach cooking as an exploration, not a performance, and remember to have fun! Take the pressure off and enjoy the process of creation. Mistakes are a wonderful opportunity to practice laughing and not taking yourself too seriously.
Cooking is a way to connect to ourselves, to the present moment, and to nature. Step into the joy of it!