Monday, September 15, 2008
The Yoga Diet
Having practice yoga for some time now, most of us will wonder if we should change our diet as diet is one of the five principles of yoga. Some of us will wonder if we should become vegetarians as the yogic diet is a vegetarian one, consisting of pure, simple, natural foods which are easily digested and promote health.
However, some of us might not want to turn vegetarian as changing our diet overnight is not an easy matter. But if we know what food we should avoid, it will help to make us feel so much better. If we start eating properly, it will aid our health and lead to a strong body and a better state of mind.
The Yogic system of nutrition recognizes three types of food:
This is the purest diet, the most suitable one for any serious student of yoga. It nourishes the body and maintains it in a peaceful state. And it calms and purifies the mind, enabling it to function at its maximum potential. A sattvic diet thus leads to true health: a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them. Sattvic foods include cereals, wholemeal bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, pure fruit juices, milk, butter and cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, honey, and herb teas.
Foods that are very hot, bitter, sour, dry, or salty are rajasic. They destroy the mind-body equilibrium, feeding the body at the expense of the mind. Too much rajasic food will overstimulate the body and excite the passions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable. Rajasic foods include hot substances, such as sharp spices or strong herbs, stimulants, like coffee and tea, fish, eggs, salt and chocolate. Eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic.
A tamasic diet benefits neither the mind nor the body. Prana, or energy, is withdrawn, powers of reasoning become clouded and a sense of inertia sets in. The body's resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed. Tamasic items include meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic, fermented foods, such as vinegar, and stale or overripe substances. Overeating is also regarded as tamasic.
If you want to change your diet, learn to substitute more Sattvic food for Rajastic or Tamastic ones. Include plenty of green, leafy vegetables in your diet while minimizing the intake of meat. Ensure that you have a regular intake of good protein food, such as nuts, legumes, whole grains, and cheese. Eat some fresh fruits every day.
In time, you will see the benefits of a Yoga diet. And as much as the food in a Yoga diet is nutritious, it is also rich in Prana or life force. When you feel the increase of life energy as brought about by this diet, you will understand the meaning of the saying, "You are what you eat."
"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins." ~Bob Moawad