By Dr. Leena Athparia, ND
In Celebration of International Yoga Day and all those looking to integrate yoga & healthy diet into their life !
The word ‘Yoga’ means ‘Union’ – that is, being in harmony within and with everything around. The food that you eat contributes significantly to your overall wellbeing and harmony within yourself. In today’s world, people are left confused as to what to eat with the overwhelming information about various diets. For different kinds of activity you need different kinds of food. If you are practicing yoga, it is important to choose food that meets your nutritional needs and supports your sadhana, or spiritual practices. Food is more than just a supply of fuel for the physical body – it also influences the way you think, feel and experience life.
A diet that is conducive for yoga is essentially a vegetarian diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils. Vegetarian food, especially raw food, is rich in prana, (life-force) which increases alertness. Fresh vegetarian food is high in nutrients and enzymes which assist digestion. Choosing food that increases your vitality and alertness can further support your body and mind for yoga, allowing you to go beyond survival and increase your perception.
According to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, foods with a sattvic quality are recommended to nourish the body while promoting a calm, clear and steady state of mind. Sattvic foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, plant-based oils & ghee (clarified butter), and herbs/spices. These foods are ideally local, organic, in season and prepared fresh with a loving intention. In contrast, foods that are tamasic in quality are heavy to digest. These include: onions, garlic, meat, alcohol, leftovers & fermented foods. They promote dullness and stiffness in the body and sedate the mind. Foods that are rajasic have a stimulating quality and promote agitation. These foods include: caffeine, stimulants, refined sugar, excessively spicy, sour or salty foods. By avoiding tamasic, and reducing rajasic foods in the diet and encouraging a sattvic diet, you can help keep the mind clear, and the body light and flexible. Sattvic diet nurtures you on a subtler level, and promotes higher levels of consciousness.
Which diet is best for you and your activity can be further customized based on your individual constitution and the season under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner or naturopathic doctor. If you choose to eat in alignment with the intelligence of your body, food can be a phenomenal support for you and your yoga practice.
A sattvic vegetarian diet, along with yoga practices such as pranayama, hatha yoga and kriyas can pave the way for a healthy body, vibrant energy, and higher consciousness.
Sadhguru, yogi & mystic elaborates on eating what is best for the body from a yogic perspective
Dr. Leena Athparia, ND has a special interest in working with customizing Ayurvedic diet & lifestyle suggestions for individuals, especially those practicing yoga who want to further improve their health. To book an appointment, contact Naturopathic Foundations at 905-940-2727 (Markham) or Yuri's Village at 416-466-5773 (Danforth). A complimentary 15 min meet n greet is available to learn more how Naturopathy and Ayurveda can help you.