Yoga and Food

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When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

‘Isn’t it enough just to practice the Yoga asanas/ poses, do I have to regulate my food?’ wonder many. In itself, practicing Yoga asanas is one of the most beneficial regimes, but when complemented with the healthy food habits, it can really create wonders. In fact, eating the right food is an essential part of living a Yogic life.

What we eat, not only influences our physical well being, but also our emotions and thoughts. Yoga, does not dissect food into proteins, carbohydrates or fats, instead it classifies them according to the effect they have on the body and mind, into three types – satva, rajas and tamas. Tamasic food is the kind of food which makes us lethargic or sluggish, while Rajasic food is that which brings about activity or restlessness. Whereas, Sattvic food is the kind which makes you feel light, energetic and enthusiastic.

SATVIC FOOD RAJASIC FOOD TAMASIC FOOD
Sattvic foods are those which purify the body and calm the mind They stimulate the body and mind into action. In excess, these foods can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, anger, irritability, and sleeplessness Tamasic food are those which dull the mind and bring about inertia, confusion and disorientation
Cooked food that is consumed within 3-4 hours can be considered sattvic Overly tasty foods are Rajasic Stale or reheated food, oily or heavy food and food containing artificial preservatives fall under this category
Examples - Fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, grains, fresh milk , certain spices Examples – Spicy food, onion, garlic, tea, coffee, fried food Example – Non vegetarian diet, stale food, excessive intake of fats, oil, sugary food

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Not just the right kind of food, it is vital to eat the proper quantity of food at the right time. Overindulging leads to lethargy while under eating will not provide enough nourishment. Most of the times we know that our stomach is full but tempted by the taste buds we tend to indulge. The right amount of food cannot be quantified into cups or grams, when we listen to our body attentively we will know when exactly to stop!

We might eat the right kind of food in the right quantity but if we are irregular with our timings then the whole system goes for a toss and the natural rhythm of the body is hampered. Therefore it is of prime importance to eat food at the same time everyday and eat it at regular intervals.

It is said that the state of the mind of the person cooking/ eating also affects the food. The energy in the food cooked by someone while he/she was angry will definitely be lower than that of someone who cooked it with a feeling of love, contentment and gratitude. Listening to some soothing music or chanting while cooking and eating can help retain the Prana (life force energy) in the food.

Yoga also prescribes a more personalized diet according to the nature of our constitution. Food that might be favorable for someone might be harmful for a person of another constitution. It is best to consult an Ayurvedic physician to decide what kind of food is necessary for you and which should be avoided. It is definitely worthwhile to pay some attention to the food that we eat as the ancient Indian texts say that we are what we eat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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