A yoga practice goes hand in hand with profound philosophical thought. 'Mind over matter' is one spiritual teaching that all Yogis resonate with. When it comes to the question of what we feed our bodies, does it matter how we eat or what we eat? Over many years of this holy practice, many disciplines have dictated dietary aspects of this practice. Sattvic food is what is prescribed till date by yoga gurus. Simply put, Sattvic Food is a food group that is light to process, nourishing and easy for the body to break down and digest. The practice of Yoga has evolved over the years to incorporate many modern lifestyles. The question is, has it evolved to suit modern diets and eating styles?
If I have learnt anything through my practice, it is that yoga teaches you freedom, and it also teaches you the truth. The freedom of choice to transform your life through yoga, the way you see fit. The metaphor of a table laden with food comes to mind, not very different from what we're trying to explain here. How a dinner guest would serve the self depends on their personal diet preferences, health restrictions, body and health goals and multiple other factors that weigh in when they reach for the spoon.
Similarly, how you eat depends on how you view food. Are you trying to lose weight and view certain food as oily or heavy? Should you eat it? Absolutely not. Do you practice Hot Yoga and think you need to add carbohydrates to your diet? Go for it.
(Also Read: Yoga for Beginners: 10 Basic Poses (Asanas) to Get You Started)
Responsible exercising gives you the freedom to chose what you eat. That being said, the truth is that your body is an intelligent being. The body asks for the salts, sugars, fats and nutrients it needs to meet the demands of your lifestyle. Abstaining and starving the body of essentials has never made a happy ending. Many yogis believe and live by the vegetarian diet, but there are naturally occurring medical conditions and autoimmune diseases that require you to eat fish and meat, like the AIP diet. Say, if you had such a condition, does it make you less of a yogi?
What I mean to say here is that there is no hard and fast rules.
Trying to direct the diet of 'a yogi' is very much like trying to dictate the diet of any person. The average healthy person should eat towards his goals. Towards, gaining or putting on muscle, providing brain food for clarity and better function, eat accordingly if you want a clearer skin or better hair. Sometimes it's better to listen to your OWN body's whisper than an online blog.
(Also Read: What is a Saatvik Diet and Should You Follow It?)
- Try and eat fresh, the fresher the food the more nutritious it is.
- Find that fine balance in the food table. Keep it balanced, just like in yoga.
- Find Non-GMO chemical free, organically produced food.
- Practice intermittent fasting with your doctor's advice. Intermittent fasting does great things for the body and mind.
- Eat to support your digestive function and avoid eating meals post 8 pm.
More importantly, make sure you know what you eat, are aware that you are getting all forms of energy required for the body and practice conscious eating. Be in conversation with your plate, and how you eat. Make sure you are aware about how you chew, make eating as enjoyable as possible. Eating in itself is an activity which demands our attention. When we bring our awareness to eating and grant ourselves the freedom of a healthy state of mind, that is truly a Yogi's diet.
About the Author:
Sarvesh Shashi is the founder of Zorba - India's Happiest Chain of Yoga studios. Sarvesh wants to capture the 500+ million people in India under the age of 30 years, with a mission to make yoga - which is the unification of mind, body, and spirit, an essential part of everyone's daily life. He is currently working towards his mission to connect seven billion breaths through yoga.