Wellness through yoga-inspired nutrition
The yogi way: Applying yoga principles to the way we eat
If you’ve ever practiced yoga, you’ve already experienced its power to create peace, balance and wellness. Now imagine taking your yoga practice with you into the rest of your day and applying the yoga principles to the way you eat.
How do you want to feel?
The Ayurvedic tradition recognises three underlying qualities (gunas) that are present in everyone and everything. While we have all of these qualities inside of us at any given time, one usually dominates. When we can identify the states governed by the gunas, it’s easier to make a conscious choice about the way we want to feel.
Rajas is the state of activity, restlessness, alertness. Rajas drives change. This is where a lot of action happens quickly, but this state is not sustainable in the long run.
Tamas is the state of lethargy, inertia, distracted mind.
Sattva is the state of balance, harmony, creative expression, purity. This is how we aim to feel during and after our yoga practice. Most of us would love to stay predominantly in this state.
Choose the food that makes you feel good
The food we eat has a direct impact on the way we feel.
Rajasic diet includes spicy food, tea, coffee, sugar, salt, chocolate. While these foods give us a boost of energy and propel us into action, they also put the body and the mind into a state of increased stress. The Rajasic diet keeps us active for a short time, but is quickly followed by a low.
Tamastic diet includes meat, eggs, onion, oily, processed or reheated food, artificial additives and preservatives. Tamasic food makes you feel heavy and sleepy. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs also have a tamasic effect.
Sattvic diet is light and nourishing, and includes fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, sprouts, beans, rice, milk and honey. Sattvic food makes us feel energised, happy and balanced.
Prepare food with love
The emotional state of the person preparing the meal influences the quality of the food. Dr. Masaru Emoto’s experiments with water show that words and thoughts have a powerful effect on the structure of the water crystals; and our bodies, as well as our food, contain a high percentage of water. It makes sense that food cooked with love would be more nourishing and uplifting. Plus, scientists have confirmed that it tastes better.
Listen to your body
The above description of the three food groups gives you an idea of how food can affect the way you feel, but it doesn’t suggest that you should only ever eat Sattvic food to be healthy, happy and successful. Choosing your food is no different from your yoga practice. It doesn’t matter what anyone else chooses, you are a different person with your unique needs. It doesn’t matter what you chose five years ago or yesterday, you have changed since then and your needs have changed. What’s most important is that you listen to your body and make a decision based on what’s right for you in this moment.
If you feel out of touch with your body, you can start rebuilding your relationship with food by keeping a diary. Note what you eat and how it makes you feel. Use the above list as a guide, but also experiment with other food you love to eat. Eventually, you will notice how your body reacts to different types of food, and you will be able to choose confidently every time.
Spring is almost around the corner and is often a time the body craves a change in diet or detox to uplift from any winter sluggishness. If you’re looking to feel and be inspired this Spring, read about Living Flow’s Balanced You Challenge and start thinking how you can create a sense of wellness through yoga-inspired nutrition.