The recommended diet
for a student of yoga is a simple and wholesome
vegetarian one, made up of natural foods that are
easily digested. It keeps the body vital and
healthy, and the mind calm and free from restless
thoughts. Processed and tinned foods are to be
avoided when possible.
In yogic philosophy,
our diet affects far more than our physical
well-being. Our vital energy, mental capabilities,
and emotional health are all influenced by the food
that we eat. The practice of meditation, postures,
and breathing exercises is directed towards bringing
the mind and the body into harmony. Eating the right
foods is an important element in achieving this
goal. Foods that are beneficial to us are said to be
Sattvic, or pure. Impure foods that can upset our
physical, emotional, or intellectual balance are
identified as being in the categories. Tamasic
(stale or rotten) and Rajasic (stimulating). You
should avoid these foods.
Avoid tamasic foods
Foods that are stale, tasteless, unripe, over ripe, or putrified are Tamasic. They poison the body, sap our energy, and dull the intellect. Tamasic foods include meat and fish, mushrooms, and foods that have been frozen, preserved, tinned, over-cooked, or re-heated. Foods that have been fermented, such as vinegar, are Tamasic, as are all drugs and alcohol. Eating too much is also considered to be Tamasic.
Avoid Rajasic Foods
Onions and garlic, tobacco, eggs, coffee, tea, chillies and other strong spices, and foods that are sour, acid, or bitter are all Rajasic. Chocolate, white sugar, white flour, and most prepared and convenience foods are also Rajasic to a lesser extent. All these substances excite the passions and over-stimulate the mind, making it difficult to control. Eating too fast and eating too many combinations of foods is also Rajasic.
Choose Sattvic Products
Sattvic foods from the ideal diet, being nourishing and easy to digest. They create new energy and a clear, calm mind, enabling us to use all our mental, physical, and spiritual talents. Sattvic products include cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, natural fruit juice, milk butter, beans, honey, and pure water.
Yogic philosophy identifies two impure categories of foods-Rajasic (over-stimulating) and Tamasic (Stale or rotten). Tobacco is both giving up smoking eliminates toxins from the body and helps you to achieve a calm mind and body.
Caffeine is considered to be Rajasic, as it is powerful stimulant. It causes the mind to be over-active and gives the body artificial energy. It can also disrupt your natural sleeping pattern, impairing your ability to relax. If you cut out tea and coffee from your diet, you will find that meditation becomes easier.
Points to Consider
You do not need special equipment to practice yoga.
Although you can buy foam yoga mats, a towel on a carpeted floor will do just as well.
For practicing indoors, you will need an open space, clear of furniture.
The room should be comfortable heated and free from disturbances.
Try to practice yoga every day.
At the same time, be gentle. Do not force yourself.
A yoga session should be a joy.
Set aside a time when you will not be disturbed and you will not have to rush. Morning practice helps loosen up stiff joints after sleep. Evening practice relieves the tensions of the day.
Whenever you practice yoga, avoid eating for at least two hours beforehand.
Many of our regular daily activities tend to emphasize the use of one part or side of the body. To achieve a healthy and harmonious balance, it is important to keep all parts of the body equally strong and flexible. Yoga exercises make each group of muscles work equally on the left and right sides of the body to achieve equilibrium.
Check with your Doctor
Yoga asanas can be practiced by young and old alike. While there is no one who should be excluded, check with your doctor before you begin a course if you suffer form a medical condition or have any doubts..
The ante-natal period, when your body and mind are engaged in the creation of a new life, can be a rare and valuable learning experience. Yoga can help you to have an easier, healthier pregnancy and delivery. Practiced slowly and gently, the postures relax and strengthen the body, helping you to adjust to many of the temporary physical changes. The breathing exercises can help you to make the most of your breath.
What Not to Do When Pregnant
- Do not perform the Bow.
- Do not attempt the Locust.
- Shoulder stand and Plough should only be practiced if comfortable.
- Do not perform the Cobra (or the seventh Sun Salutation position).
- Do not practice the Peacock.
- Do not perform the Headstand for the first time during pregnancy. If you are used to it, you can continue until it becomes uncomfortable (in about the fourth month).