The Full Burp: The Ayurvedic Secret to Eating Just Enough

Aside from the wonderful yoga classes and beautiful scenery, one of the greatest joys of coming to Kripalu is eating delicious meals made in the Kripalu Kitchen. The food served at Kripalu is lovingly prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients—and there are lots of choices. Given the smorgasbord of culinary delights available at the all-you-can-eat buffet, it can be easy to overdo it and wind up feeling heavy and sluggish. Yes, it is possible to eat too much kale!

So, how do we know when we’ve eaten the right amount of food? Fortunately, Ayurveda has the answer: the “full burp.”

Western approaches to managing our food intake involve counting calories, limiting fat or carbs, or measuring or weighing our food. The teachings of Ayurveda, however, advocate for trusting the wisdom of our own bodies over numbers and figures. The full burp is a natural, built-in function that tells us when we’ve eaten the right amount for our bodies to comfortably digest. Basically, you eat your meal at a slow and steady pace, wait for the first burp, and then stop eating. You will have eaten just the right amount of food to maintain your body. It’s actually that simple!

Unfortunately, many of us are not aware that we have this incredibly useful tool at our disposal. We may not notice it because we eat too quickly or eat while distracted. We may unconsciously suppress the urge to burp because we were taught at a young age that burping is rude. Or, we may have noticed the burp but kept eating because we were unaware of its significance.

If you’d like to experiment with accessing the power of the full burp to improve digestion and curb overeating, here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid eating while anxious or angry, as it could inhibit the first burp or cause excessive burping, making it difficult to notice the full burp.
  • Avoid distractions and heated conversations while eating, as they may keep you from noticing the full burp.
  • Avoid eating too quickly or drinking too much liquid at meals (especially carbonated beverages, as they could cause burping that masks the actual full burp).

Instead, once you’ve sat down at the table with your plate of food, take three deep breaths before eating. Ayurveda advocates relaxed eating because we don’t digest food as well when we are stressed.

Pause for a moment to really notice the food. Admire its color, texture, and aromas. You might even take a moment to feel gratitude for the food, or say a short prayer or blessing.

Continue to focus on the food as much as possible while you’re eating. Drink a cup or so of warm water or herbal tea with your meal. Avoid ice-cold or carbonated beverages. Continue to eat slowly and mindfully, until you notice the first burp. Then, put your utensil down and stop eating.

It might take a few times of eating this way before you notice the full burp. However, with just a little bit of practice, it will soon become second nature. In learning how to hear and heed the signals from your own body, you’ll continue moving in the direction of greater health, vitality, and joy.

The next time you sit down to savor your delicious Kripalu meal, let the full burp guide you toward eating just the right amount for your body.

Sample more food-related videos, recipes, and articles: The Om of Yum

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please email editor@kripalu.org.