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What Philosophy Should a Yogi Adopt in Terms of Diet?

By Yann, published on 12/02/2019 We Love Prof - AU > Health and Fitness > Yoga > How Should Yogis Eat?

Doing yoga and changing your lifestyle is becoming increasingly common nowadays. Food is a driving force behind a lot of what we do. Whether we’re mixing flavours or trying different types of cooking, food can also breathe new life into yoga and mindfulness meditation.

Yoga is a rich and complete sporting activity and most Britons agree that eating right is an important part of life, especially when doing sports. However, not that many of us manage to eat right.

That said, yoga can make you eat better and help you find both inner and outer peace. Whether you’re doing kundalini yoga, nidra yoga, Ayurveda yoga, prenatal yoga, your warmups before a yoga session, or just some mindfulness meditation, you’ll feel better if you eat right before and after yoga.

Yoga isn’t just about attending a yoga class and improving your flexibility through yoga postures such as the sun salutation, opening a certain chakra through guided meditation and chanting a mantra, and working on your breathing techniques. The benefits of yoga are so numerous that there are plenty of different types of yoga with certain types focus on different aspects.

Of course, while you’ll do an asana (or pose), work on your pranayama (breath control), and go through a healing routine designed to give you a deeper understanding your mind, body, and spirit, you probably won’t be cooking during this time.

While yoga teachers will specialise in improving your wellness and vitality through these yoga practices, even a beginner can help get more out of their yoga classes by eating right when they’re at home.

So what are the most important dietary aspects and what should you eat when practising yoga?

Let’s have a look at that now.

Why Should We Think About Our Food?

When you practise yoga, eating is also an important thing to consider. You need to be aware of what you eat since this controls exactly what we’re capable of and how our body functions. After all, you put what’s on your plate into your body and you need to think about what’s on how, how the flavours work, and what nutritional value our food provides.

What is the best food for doing yoga? What you eat plays a pivotal role in your physical and mental well-being. (Source: Pexels)

You can’t have a healthy spirit without a healthy body. The food we eat will dictate what we can do. Thus, what we eat is actually part of mindfulness. Knowing how to blend different flavours and putting the right nutrients into your body is an essential part of the yogic practice.

Why should you think about all of this?

For plenty of reasons:

  • To eat more ecologically and responsibly.
  • For your convictions, such as vegetarianism.
  • To lose weight.
  • To respect religious traditions and customs.
  • To get the most out of sports.
  • To take care of your body.
  • To practise mindfulness.
  • And many more!

Thus, as you’ll have understood, yoga and eating well are two sides of the same coin. There are plenty of different things you can put on your plate, with some being better for you than others. It’s up to you to choose.

Creating Balanced Meals for Doing Yoga

Just like any sporting activity, how you eat greatly affects you do yoga, which means you need to balance your meals.

What is a balanced diet? You can find balance in what you eat. (Source: leninscape)

But what is balance?

It’s about balancing flavours and ingredients so that when you’re doing yoga, be it kundalini yoga or Iyengar yoga, you’re getting the most out of everything. But there’s also more to it than that!

By preparing dishes for yourself or others, you also need to pay attention to how to blend flavours, textures, colours, and nourish. There’s nothing better than looking at a dish you’ve just made.

You also need to find balance in what you eat. It’s essential that you balance your meals in terms of calories and nutrition a bit like when you balance yourself during yoga. This doesn’t mean that you need to get the best performance or the most calories for your body. The important thing is to be aware of what you eat, an action which is part art and part science. Welcome to the world of yogic cooking!

Using Mindfulness when Preparing Your Food

It’s a fact that most of us don’t pay enough attention to what we eat and what we put in our bodies. Some coriander, ginger, and garlic, when all brought together, can all create some wonderful flavours. A bit like when you practise yoga, you need to be aware of your body and how to coordinate it.

What is mindful eating? Every yogi should be aware of what they eat and mindful when they eat. (Source: skeeze)

The principle is the same, if you don’t want any aches and pains the following day, you need to pay attention to what you put into your mouth and body. With this in mind, you need to be aware of what you eat and when you’re eating. Ask yourself why you’re eating more meat than you usually do, for example.

Think about each and every meal and be mindful of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re doing it. Food is the fuel for your body, mind, and spirit. It dictates your shape, health, and lifestyle. For a lot of people, what they eat can also improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

Yoga is a complete discipline that works on your whole body and food is an important part of it. This is especially true when it comes to mindfulness as food plays a spiritual role as well as a nutritional one. Whether you’re doing yoga for kids, raja yoga, sutra yoga, it’s important that you eat well.

Yoga and Food: Silence as a Tool

When it comes to mindfulness, there’s also a yogic technique whereby you eat in silence. “Muna” is mental nourishment, a way of seeing things. By harmonising with yourself, you’ll become more aware of what you need to eat. This is a good time to think about the future as well as the present and what you’re about to eat. Yoga is all about letting go, being aware, concentrating on what you’re doing, and paying attention to every tiny movement you make.

Choosing What You Eat when You Practise Yoga

Silent reflection is useful for carefully choosing what you’re going to eat. For example, yoga food will be filled with “prana” (essential life energy) and local produce are the typical example.

How do you cook food for yogis? Not only should you be aware of what you eat, but you should also be aware of how to prepare. (Source: congerdesign)

Similarly, you can base your choice on the rawest food possible and experiencing their real taste. Just as you pay attention to what ingredients you get, you should also pay attention when you’re eating them by bringing what you’ve learnt from yoga into the act of chewing. What’s better than paying attention to what you’ve prepared by focusing on them when you chew them. This repetitive action is not the only way to become aware of your body but also a great way to awaken your spirit.

It’s also worthwhile moderating your intake of food and prioritising quality over quantity, just like the Okinawa diet. Yogic food builds on the idea that eating is an important activity and that overloading your plates is counterproductive and can work with a number of special diets. You need to allow your body the time to ingest food, absorb nutrition, and enjoy flavours.

Finally, think about vegetarian and vegan cuisine as yoga is all about non-violence and avoiding suffering. This is more than just thinking about what might be interesting to eat but also thinking about eating well and eating ethically. And yes, yoga is a rich discipline that brings together the mind, body, and spirit, and, as a result, can lead to vegetarianism and veganism.

Yoga can help you to decide how to feed yourself. While there’s not really yogic food, there are plenty of diets that are the result of the yoga mindset and treating eating as an important activity in itself. An act that involves reflection, thinking about everything, from yoga poses to stretches, as well as the exercise of filling our plates.

Whether you do hatha yoga, ashtanga yoga, vinyasa yoga, or Iyengar yoga, you need to think about the holistic philosophy of the yoga practice itself. Yoga brings together your mind, body, and spirit through yoga poses, your posture, awareness of yourself and your surroundings, alignment, and breathing exercises.

How can you possibly do this if you don’t eat right?

While your yoga teacher will probably focus on relaxation, restorative yoga poses, ways to strengthen your mind body and spirit, and finding happiness as you relax on a yoga mat, there’s nothing stopping you from asking them about some of the best recipes they make at home, either!

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