The Five Senses, Part IV: Taste

The sensation of taste… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! An ABSOLUTE FAVORITE of most people! How gratifying is it to taste GOOD FOOD?? Personally, I learned how to LOVE GOOD FOOD by traveling in Europe and then from a family friend who took us out and explained the sensation of taste. I have never looked back.

To truly appreciate and enjoy the sensation of taste is a HUGE BLESSING! I can’t imagine not understanding the true pleasure of biting into a decadent dessert or a fresh, seasonal dish made to perfection. An apple a day is a treat in itself and so satisfying it can change your mood!

How is it that our body receives the taste sensation? When we eat the saliva in the mouth breaks down the food so that your taste receptor cells can tell your brain what you are experiencing. Taste receptor cells are in a cluster and they are called taste buds; there are thousands of them on your tongue and in your mouth. Each taste bud has about 50-100 taste cells that represent the five taste sensations. The tongue has pores that connect to each taste bud so when the different substances are taken into the mouth they can reach the receptor cells below the surface. Once converted, the sensation of taste is found in the brain and this is true for all five senses. The tongues taste receptor cells connect through a synapse because the neuron releases a hormone to the receiving cell.

We have five primary sensations of taste:

Sour                        Sweet                             Salty                                Bitter                                      Umani

Perception of a sense is an awareness. In yoga we build awareness. I would venture to say that many people who begin to practice yoga then become increasingly more aware of their different senses. It is desirable to enhance your cognizance of the five senses that enrich and enhance your life every second of every day. Food is an experience that can leave you satiated, happy and energized.

Eating for nutrition, enjoyment and socially are all different experiences. Find one example of each setting, try and connect to the sense of taste and see if you notice a difference in the taste of your food. If you are alone and it is quiet the taste is easier to focus on. When you eat for nutritional purposes you may forget to even taste your food. The presence or absence of a good atmosphere and people can either take your food experience off the charts or leave you unsatisfied.

To cultivate a stronger sense of taste you can begin to become mindful of the breath, relax, clear, focus on the food you are about to receive, be grateful for this nourishment and begin to eat slowly, chew your food well and close your eyes and feel the experience of eating food moving through your body.

Each day is more fulfilling when you find you can simply just enjoy your food!    

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