YOGIC CONCEPT OF BALANCED DIET
- The yogic concept of a balanced diet includes those diets which bring about a balance at all levels- physical, pranic, mental, emotional, and intellectual.
- Ancient books on yoga tell us that food that would obstruct and destroy physical, mental and emotional balance and equanimity should not be taken. Rajasic and Tamasic foods produce undesirable effects on the body and the mind. So they should be avoided. Yoga is a path to control the body and the mind and so it is logical that Rajasic or Tamasic food had no place in the yogéc diet.
- Much importance is laid on the goodness of Sattvic food. Sattvic food has all the necessary constituents required by the body. Fruits and vegetables provide precious vitamins and minerals to the body which helps the body to resist diseases. They also contain fibers which prevent or cure constipation. Cereals provide mostly carbohydrates to the body, which give heat to the body. Butter and ghee provide fat to the body which provides the body with heat and it also lubricates the joints. Proteins are available from milk, curd, and buttermilk. This constituent is necessary for the constitution of the body and the reconstruction of cells.
- The Yogasutras also touches on how much to eat and what to eat (2, 3, 4, 5). Yogis should eat moderately. The ideal is that while eating, one should fill half the stomach with food, a quarter of stomach with water and the remaining quarter for free movement of air. In this modem world, our diet has become increasingly soft and spicy. We eat this type of food excessively. Excessive eating is a burden to the digestive organs. It will lead to indigestion and gas and also causes obesity. Indigestion, gas and obesity are the three factors which obstruct the practice of asanas and hinder the path to Sadhana. In short, those who practice yoga should take simple and nourishing food in less quantity in order to gain mastery over the body and mind.
- One should also consider one’s own profession while choosing one’s food to suit.