It is not possible to live a life free from indulgence.
Again for those in the back: It’s not possible to live a life free from indulgence.
But you’re saying, Sonja, you teach Ayurveda and yoga, two doctrines that tell us that happiness is living free from the chains with which our senses drag us around.
Yes. And I am also saying that a life where you don’t allow yourself the pleasure of eating something outrageous, decadent, and soul-affirming every so often is not worth living. The key is knowing why you need some degree of indulgence and when you should say yes or no to which indulgences.
Why we need indulgence is simple: Because what we take in through our senses should bring us joy. And while some teachers don’t trust you to manage your love of the things you love, I am not that teacher. I am the teacher who says that you should focus on shifting what you love to wholesome, natural things and keep a sliver of your indulgence a little naughty.
Knowing when you should say yes or no to indulgent things is a little more complex. We don’t have time for that here, but I invite you to work with me if you’re ready.
My favorite indulgence? Cacao. Not the fake Hershey’s stuff but the real thing, like 80-100%. My favorite is to drink it unsweetened with whole milk and spices (hint: cinnamon and rose petals!). I have it a couple times a week and take a good long break when I feel vata rising (nervous system buzzing, sleep disturbances, easily overwhelmed, etc.).
I abstained from cacao and a whole host of other indulgences for four years, so I can explain in great detail the positive and negative impact all my favorite hits have on my body. I know which ones will expand my heart, relax my mind, and ease my body and which are just not a good fit for me. Through a willingness to study my body and the Ayurvedic understanding of the qualities of food I can say a firm yes to keeping cacao in my cupboards and hell no to many other things.
Sometimes some people need a path of strictness and absolutes. But for most of us, that is a temporary contraction that cannot be upheld for life without some damage to the mind.
Here’s me, dressed in my best snake costume: Take a bite of what you love. It will lead you home to yourself.