Support your yoga practice and your health with these simple healthy yogic eating tips…
What does eating have to do with doing yoga? While it’s certainly not essential that you follow a certain diet to benefit from yoga, many yogis choose to practice yogic eating and consume a clean and healthy diet, along with their regular yoga practice, to support a healthy lifestyle.
Obviously, the way you eat is going to be up to your particular preferences and dietary restrictions. Some yogis choose to avoid all meat or animal products, while others choose a plant-centered diet with only clean and sustainably raised sources of protein – animal or otherwise. Some choose an Ayurvedic diet, while others go more Mediterranean.
Regardless of how you choose to eat, if you want to live a truly healthy life, it is important to consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid foods that may contain harmful ingredients or chemicals. Below are 5 tips for yogic eating to support your body and mind as you embrace a life of health and balance.
1.) Eat fresh seasonal foods
A yoga diet consists of whole, fresh, seasonal foods and organic, locally grown foods, and as close to their natural state as possible. Try to grow your own vegetables in a garden or container, shop at farmers’ markets, or buy directly from local farmers. Buy fresh produce that’s in season, and avoid processed and packaged items, even if they are organic.
2.) Avoid chemicals and stimulants
We are exposed to chemical substances just about everywhere–in the air, in the water, and in the food that we consume. One of the goals of Hatha yoga is to purify the physical and energetic bodies. Thus, reducing or eliminating chemicals and stimulants is encouraged. Wherever possible, avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco to move towards a healthier lifestyle and to create purity in the body and mind.
3.) Emphasize healing herbs and spices
A yoga diet emphasizes healing herbs and spices, like turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, mint, basil, cumin, parsley, cilantro, and black pepper. These spices offer many benefits to your body, including aiding digestion, alkalizing the blood, increasing mood, reducing anxiety, and promoting cleansing and healing.
To make your diet more healing, work on adding more of these healing herbs to your meals. You can also use some of these in herbal teas as well.
4.) Eat with mindfulness and a positive attitude
Your attitude towards your food is more important than the food itself. In our fast-paced world, it’s hard to think of food in terms of a spiritual practice. That’s why yoga teaches that eating should be an act of love and gratitude; you are taking sustenance from Mother Earth, and you should honor that.
Mindful eating can help you avoid mindless munching or bingeing, helping you focus on what you’re grateful for, as well as what you’re not. When you develop peace of mind about food, you can start to learn how to eat mindfully, control how much you eat, and understand what your body needs to maintain balance and health. Being mindful of what you eat can lead to weight loss, a healthier heart, a calm mind, and a longer life.
5.) Consider fasting
The concept of fasting should be considered in the context of a yogic diet. Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food and/or drink for a period of time. The purpose of fasting is to cleanse the body, seek a spiritual goal, or express devotion to a chosen deity.
The different fasting methods also vary in their requirements–from abstinence from all food and liquids to abstinence from only certain foods, for example. Intermittent fasting is also a popular fasting method that is generally quite easy for most people to follow. Fasting is not recommended for those who have poor digestion or a tendency towards weight gain. Fasting for more than a few days is not recommended as it puts excessive stress on your body’s systems.
Read more at YogaBasics.com…