Yoga and diet: Healthy food tips for yoga practitioners

Eating is probably the only most vital act for one’s yoga practice because nourishment of the body’s tissues forms a foundation for the nourishment of the mind and emotions. It is easy to ascertain that a balanced, calm mind is far easier to return by if you commit yourself to nourish your body properly, even as you commit yourself to asana, Pranayama, and meditation. But what exactly does it mean to nourish yourself properly? Just how does one eat like a yogi? 

yoga diet

Is diet significant in yoga practice? 

Diet is very important in yogic practice. Your mind reflects the end result of what you feed your body with. If the food is of the purest form your mind is also in its purest state. There is a close relationship between food and mental states like inspiration and intellect. A yogi always eats the food that nurtures the physical elements and satisfies the mind. 

How diet affects yoga? 

Yoga practitioners who have the right food and activity, the right lifestyle and living habits, sound sleep, and proper waking time can use yoga as their destroyer of the pain. Our ancient Puranas, spiritual, and ayurvedic literature mentions the sattvik food habits that must be followed. Sour, hot, spicy, salty, dry, stale food that brings the burning sensation, inflicts pain, discomfort and various diseases must be avoided. A pure, well balanced, preferably simple vegetarian diet builds the strength, restraining the aggressiveness along with helping to maintain the cool. 

After you get what to eat and what not the next step is to know how much you need to feed your body. Hathapradipika and Gherandasamhita (the prominent treatise on yoga) mention that the half portion of the stomach should be filled with food, the half of the remaining that is one fourth should be filled with water and the remaining one fourth should be left empty for air movement. One must not feed the stomach to its full capacity. Excessive eating hampers the practice of yoga. 

yoga diet

Similarly, the proper way of eating also plays a significant role. When we eat food, we must not eat 

1) in hurry 

2) when it is steaming hot  

3) it is too cold 

4) with extreme seriousness 

5) more than the capacity 

6) contaminated 

7) of poor quality 

8) with excessive protein or fat 

So, a healthy diet is vital for the optimum benefits of yoga practice. The diet must be followed according to the calorie intake, especially for the weight loss program. One can replace some items in the daily diet chart for some change but must consider the fact that calorie count must be balanced, in short, the replaced item must be of the same calorie value as the original value. One must not starve. There should not be weakness or fatigue due to overindulgence in cutting down the calorie intake.  

Here are some rules and healthy food tips a yoga practitioner should follow: 

Go Sattvik 

yoga diet

According to yoga-niyama and Ayurveda, food can be categorized into three broad dimensions Tama, Sattva, and Raja. Tama represents the slow, lethargic, bland. Sattva is purity and harmony. While Raja represents hot and spicy. All these qualities are present in every food but in different proportions.  

When it involves Rajasic foods, they’re believed to be hot, bitter, dry, salty, or spicy. They overstimulate the mind. Tamasic foods are bland. They include meat, alcohol, tobacco, garlic, onions, fermented foods, and overripe substances. Sattvic food is considered as the purest sort of diet. it’s believed to be suitable for those that follow a yoga regime. It helps in nourishing the body and maintains a peaceful state. You stay calm and your body gets purified. 

A few examples of sattvic food include fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts, pure fruit juices, legumes, salads, seeds, nuts, milk, butter and cheese, wholemeal bread, herbal tea, honey, coconut or almond milk. 

Yogi refrains from chemicals 

yoga diet

A yogic diet should be free from chemicals and stimulants. You must exclude alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and artificial and processed sweeteners. These foods divert your concentration, focus, and hinder your yoga regime. These substances aren’t healthy for the body and alter the mind, making it harder to consider the Divine. 

Consider the vegetarianism  

It is believed that yogis should eat a vegetarian diet. This is often because animal protein contains an excessive amount of uric acid and other toxins. Some get eliminated but rest gets deposited within the tissues and joints, this will cause arthritis and cancer. Hence, they like eating high-quality protein, which is obtained from legumes, green leafy vegetables, and dairy products. These do not pollute your internal system and are easily digestible. 

yoga diet

Meat is additionally among the greatest sources of cholesterol, which contributes to heart disorder, hardening of the arteries, and senility. Meat takes three days to undergo the gastrointestinal system. For optimum health, men have to digest food within 24 hours, women 18 hours. 

Practice fasting  

The yogis recommend choosing one day in a week to fast. One can consider a strict fast, not allowing anything to enter the body. Or, it can include plain water and fruit juices. Whatever type you select, confine mind that the goal of your fast is to purify the body and mind. 

 If you find once every week is unrealistic, then practice fast on Ekadashi, the 11th day of every moon, observed by yogis to be an auspicious day. 

Optimize your eating time 

You must avoid eating foods two hours before exercising. an equivalent rule applies once you prepare to go for sleep. This is often because they believe that energy shouldn’t be wasted on digestion. once you perform yoga, you want to spend energy on performing the proper postures. Also, you want to make sure that before sleeping, food is correctly digested. 

One should also consider some diet needs- pre or post yoga sessions or depending on the time of yoga practice. Check out the article on post-yoga diet tips- click here

Always opt for fresh 

If possible, always prepare a fresh meal. Frozen, prepared, packaged and left-over foods should be avoided, only consuming the freshest and the best. 

Follow Ahimsa 

The first of the yoga observances (yamas), ahimsa, or nonviolence is often applied to the food we eat. Making environmentally-conscious health choices that don’t harm people, animals, or the earth takes conscious awareness. 

For example, if you want to stay hydrated and always buy a water bottle to serve the purpose you can instead opt for a refillable glass bottle so you can bring down the plastic waste created by numerous water bottles. Making a far better environmentally- conscious decision.  

If you want further clarification and complete guidance what is the best diet according to your yoga style and intensity of practice get the guidance from Yoga life coach.

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