By Milda Urban, Summersalt Yoga founder
The right nutrition is one of the key elements to keep your yoga exercise and experience complete and the most fulfilling. Learn more about yoga nutrition philosophy and principles.
The first and main principle of yoga is moderation. Secondly, it’s the right choice of your produce and food products. Yogis tell us that we are what we eat and that the food is important not to our physical, but also to our mental state and health.
A light body is a key to the demanding yoga poses and the mind that has gotten positive energy allows concentration for meditation.
When you eat the food full of energy, the food that is not polluted, you are able to positively impact your physical and mental state and reach the harmony.
The food of the yogis is quite simple – it includes a lot of legumes, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains. All of the dishes are as natural and as less processed as possible (that means not tinned, not fermented, not fried etc.).
The yogis most often practice vegetarianism basing it not only on the ethical grounds but also stating that the meat is very often toxic, inflicts poisoning, doesn’t have enough important vitamins, minerals and has too much protein. Many yogis state that meat consumption is unnatural and our body (teeth, intestines) are not suited for humans to be carnivores.
The vegetarian diet, according to yogis, if balanced right, is healthy and vegetarians are less prone to get heart, blood-vessel, and kidney diseases as well as are less likely to get overweight. For those who worry that it’s impossible to get enough protein without meat, most of the yogis will suggest getting them in other products – nuts, legumes (including soya), and dairy. Other produce that often finds a way on the yogis’ table is sour bread, rice with legumes (beans, peas, lentils) as well as various seeds, soy products (e.g. tofu) or dairy.
Philosophy of yoga nutrition
According to the yoga philosophy, the food is divided into three categories based on the energy it gives (gunas): sattva, rajas and tamas.
Sattva symbolises purity, cleanliness and clarity. The foods that belong to this category are the most suitable for those practising yoga. It is said that sattva food feeds the body, gives it energy and at the same time calms the mind and helps to reach harmony.
This food group includes grains, fresh vegetables and legumes, fruit, whole-meal baked goods, dairy, nuts, honey, herbal tea.
Rajas symbolise passion, action and anxiety. This food group is the opposite of the sattva – it brings the body and mind out of the balance, it tires the mind even if it feeds the body.
This food group includes various hot spices, coffee, tea, salt, chocolate, onions, garlic, and the food that is to hot, too spicy, too salty or too bitter.
Tamas is the energy that symbolises laziness, fear and ignorance. Foods from this group suite neither the body nor the mind, they suppress the energy, mind and the ability to think, they encourage greed, jealousy and inflict various diseases and illness.
This food group includes meat, alcohol, fermented, fried in fat, chemically affected food, over-ripened fruit.