Yoga is an extremely healthy and spiritual practice, that has gained popularity over time. Yet, many times people fail to realise that Yoga doesn’t just come from practising asanas, or engaging in mindful meditation. The true benefit of yoga comes only when we apply the teachings and the ideologies of Yoga in other aspects of our daily life- especially in our diet i.e yoga diet,
There’s a lot of hype out there when it comes to what to eat. Being environmentally conscious with our food choices seems to be the “in” thing right now. Farm-raised fish, hormone-free beef, free range chicken, farm-to-table and vegan restaurants, organic, gluten-free, macrobiotic—the list is endless.
Many people often misunderstand and think that a vegan diet is similar to a yogic or yoga diet. But questions have arisen, as to what is yoga diet?
There has a been a lot of misinformation as to what constitutes of a Yoga Diet, especially on the internet. Some of the diets found on the Internet actually flash and misleading. Hence, we decided to debunk was to exactly makes a Yogic Diet, and what all you should eat to follow this diet.
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A yoga diet should be Sattvic
In yogic and Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three qualities (gunas) of all things in nature: 1) Raja (hot, spicy, fast), 2) Tama (slow, lethargic, bland), and 3) Sattva (purity, harmony). These three qualities are present in all things, but in different amounts, making one quality dominant.
Rajasic foods are often hot, bitter, dry, salty, or spicy. They overstimulate the mind and excite the passions and hormones. Whereas on the other hand, tamasic foods are known to be bland and include meat, alcohol, tobacco, garlic, onions, fermented foods, and overripe substances.
Sattvic food is one of the purest forms of diet. This is the most suitable one for any serious yoga student. Any student who is following the principles of Yoga truly should engage in this diet, to facilitate his or her process even more. This diet helps one to nourish the mind and brings in a feeling of peace and calmness. It calms and purifies the mind, which helps it to function at its fullest potential. This kind of diet helps one to concentrate and makes the yogic asanas, and meditations even more fulfilling.
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A Sattvic diet is said to eventually lead to true health; a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them. It will also help you better your yoga practice
Sattvic foods include:
1. wholemeal bread
2. fresh fruit and vegetables
3. pure fruit juices
5. butter and cheese
9. sprouted seeds
10. honey and herb teas
A yoga diet should be vegetarian.
The lion is a great meat-eater, and he is called the king of the jungle. But no animal can match the elephant, a complete vegetarian, for pure strength. ~Yogi Bhajan
Most non-vegetarians claims, that if they engage in a vegetarian diet, then they will lose out on a lot of proteins. Yet, on the contrary, it is alleged that the protein consumed by them is actually the worst kind of protein- since it is dying or dead.
It is said that animal protein contains a lot of uric acids and other different toxins which the liver has to break down and eliminate. However, the ones that cannot be eliminated leads to several diseases, since they get deposited in the joints and the tissues.
Uric acid is said to a toxin that also makes it difficult to reach the higher and clear meditative state because it is can be an irritant in the bloodstream.
There are other food products which are said to be full of proteins and are great substitutes for meat- nuts, dairy products, leafy greens, and legumes. These food products are of high quality and their main residue is cellulose, which is inert and does not pollute or harmfully affect the body. It can be digested fairly easily and the body can utilise it in a more efficient way.
A yoga diet should be free of chemicals and stimulants.
In today’s day and age when everything is polluted, the best way to inculcate a Yogic diet is to use organic whenever possible. It is best to avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and artificial sweeteners since they tend to fill the body with impurities. A yoga diet means to completely cleanse your body so that you can concentrate and connect to your innermost self. If your body isn’t clean then it becomes difficult to introspect and fully understand yourself.
A yoga diet should be at regular intervals, two hours before asana practice or sleep.
If you pursue and train your body to eat at regular times, say at 10 A.M. and 6 P.M., it will better utilise the energy throughout the day as it will be able to anticipate the intake of calories at these times. This way your body will know how to function and when to be the most efficient.
The body functions best when these cycles are regular and steady. The same goes for our meal times.
Avoiding food two hours before exercise or sleep helps the body function at its best capacity. Energy for digestion should not be taken away for the purpose of the exercise. Ensuring proper time for digestion before sleep helps to keep the mind clear.
Thus, the hormones produced during sleep can be utilized efficiently to repair tissue damage and fight infection, which is ideal, instead of for digestion.
The first of the yoga observances (yamas), ahimsa or nonviolence can be applied to the food we eat. Making environmentally-conscious health choices that do not harm other people, animals, or the planet takes conscious awareness.
You have to conscious of every small thing you do in this world. It is not just about preaching about global warming once or twice on social media. It is much more than that. We should understand and realise that our actions have consequences- this is one of the first teachings of Yoga, and we cannot be at peace if you don’t practice actions which will lead to a better world. You only have to modify your routines and choices a little, which can then go a long way. Simply not using a plastic water bottle, doesn’t only save the environment a little, but also keeps your body away from the impurities that the water acquires when you keep it in a plastic bottle.
Your body is a temple so make sure you worship it in that way. It is important to follow these diets in the best way possible to completely unleash the full potential of what Yoga can do for you.
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Also published on Medium.