Little ABC for your spa-break questions ...
In their treatment discriptions, wellness hotels often use technical terms, which are hard to understand for potential guests. We have therefore collected and defined the most relevant terms in our small wellness ABC. A tip: Our wellness dictionary also supports word requests. You don't need to know the exact wording.
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What is a raisin-exercise?
The so-called Raisin Exercise is one of, if not the best known mindfulness exercise. In this little eating meditation, a sultana, or other food such as a cranberry or nut, is consciously perceived with all the senses. The point is to become aware of thoughts and feelings in an instant and to observe them without changing or interfering with them. The sultana exercise also shows that meditation does not have to be done cross-legged and how instructive every moment can be.
On the one hand, it is very good for conveying the idea of eating with care. Furthermore, fundamental aspects of mindfulness become clear and can be experienced. The Raisin Exercise became known mainly through Jon Kabat-Zinn's MBSR programme (Mindfullness-Based-Stress-Reduction), he was and is significantly involved in bringing mindfulness to the western world.
Sultanas are not one of your favourite foods? Ultimately, the sultana is only symbolic and therefore interchangeable. You can easily replace sultanas with comparable foods.
Raisin exercise: What is the procedure?
Take a sultana and go to a quiet place. Please carry out the exercise itself step by step. Accept all sensations, thoughts and feelings that arise and give them their space. If the attention wanders away from the sultana, just lead it back to it.
Begin with seeing. Take a conscious look at the sultana. Discover it from different angles and different distances. Assume that you are looking at a sultana for the first time in your life. Take the time to study it in terms of colour, shape, surface, shades, shine? How would you describe this sultana to a stranger?
2. the touch
Now feel the sultana. It is best to close your eyes. Take the sultana between your thumb and forefinger and try to describe how the sultana feels. Here are a few words that might come to mind: soft, elastic, rough, dry, smooth, sticky, thin, plump... What changes when you press the sultana? What kind of perceptions come to your mind?
3. the smell
Sniff the sultana and be open to the words that are going through your mind. Are there differences between the sensations of the two nostrils? Does the intensity of the smell change? Possible scents could be: sweetish, greasy, pungent, firn, sour.
Even if it may seem strange at first, take the sultana by your ear and listen for sounds the sultana might make. Can you hear anything at all? Or maybe only if you move them? How would you describe the sounds? As crackling, squeaking, smacking or ...? Is the sound soft, dull or...? Listen with the other ear
Now bring the sultana to your lips. There you first feel it again. Does it feel different than when you touch the sultana with your fingers? Then place the sultana on your tongue. Feel its weight and how the first nuances of flavour spread out.
Move the sultana through your mouth with your tongue and feel its surface. Does the consistency change?
Then start to chew the sultana slowly. Chew thoroughly without immediately giving in to the swallowing reflex. Remain open and curious for all sensory perceptions. Register the sensations and tastes that develop.
Finally, prepare consciously for swallowing and observe the process closely. Can you feel the movement starting on the tongue and palate, at the back of the throat, down to the stomach? Follow the sultana on its way.
Then return to the mouth with your attention once more. Has the whole sultana really gone or are there still some leftovers in the mouth? Feel the taste that remains in your mouth.
The sultana exercise can make us aware of food again. Instead of stuffing something inside us, we become more aware of the process of eating and become more aware of it again. And even if we cannot celebrate every meal in this way, the exercise might help us to take it easy, pause and follow the eating process.
The aim is to practice a curious, focused, non-judgmental attitude. To approach eating with an unbiased beginner's mind. These are the principles of mindfulness, which are applicable in all areas of life.