Healthy eating and a proper diet is something that’s very important for a Yogi. However, it is quite difficult to find out exactly what a Yogic diet comprises of. If we look at traditional Yoga scriptures, there are no nutrition guidelines. So, at the most, what we can do is follow some ideas on improving eating habits that are in alignment with our Yoga practice.
First and foremost, it is important to consider some traditional points of view on various foods and their consequences.
In the language of Ayurveda, foods that are beneficial to the body and mind are known as Sattvic, or pure. The thing that makes these foods so special is that they are full of nutrition and are easily digestible. Including these foods in our diet makes us happy, energetic and content. These foods also play an instrumental role in enhancing our mental and physical abilities. Cereal, fruits and vegetables, milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, lentils, rice, grains and honey are some of the foods that are considered to be Sattvic.
Rajasic foods are those that have an invigorating effect on the mind and body. These foods often cause aggressiveness and irritability. They are spicy and salty. Many of the Rajasic foods are obtained by harming another organism. Some of the examples of Rajasic foods are coffee and tea (both black and green), cola drinks, energy drinks, brown or black chocolate, paan, Ginkgo biloba, overly spicy food, salty food, and the unfertilized egg. People who indulge in eating Rajasic food are often believed to experience emotional imbalances.
Tamasic foods are considered harmful for the mind and body. They are believed to have a sedative effect on our mental & physical health. Since these foods cause mental dullness and physical illness, they are known to alleviate suffering in times of pain. Some examples of Tamasic foods are meat of an animal, fish, the fertilized egg, onion, garlic, scallion, leek, chive, mushroom, alcoholic beverages, durian, blue cheese, eggplant, opium, and any food that has been kept overnight before consumption.
By now, you must have realized that the eating habits of a Yogi are not very different from regular nutrition rules. You just have to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, dairy, seeds and nuts, and go easy on meats and fats.
If you are thinking of going on a Yogic diet, here are some things that you could do. Eat raw and fresh foods, cut down the amount of sugar and alcohol, choose local-grown and seasonal produce, and always try eating a little less than you need to feel full.
According to most modern Yoga experts, you should always pay heed to the requirements of your body when you’re trying to make changes to your eating habits. Going Vegan doesn’t make sense when you feel that your body needs some meat every now and then just to function properly.
One can always find out what works for them and what doesn’t. Eating right makes you feel happy, content and balanced, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what’s right for you.