Diet plays very crucial role in yoga. According to yoga food influences the physical and mental conditions of the individual. So it is said that, ‘as you eat, so you become’. If you not take proper diet you harm yourself physically and mentally. What we digest and assimilate is more important than what we eat. Eating too many times, too much at one time, too much of spices and fats, eating in a hurry are some of the common mistakes which make the diet faulty. Faulty diet aggravates disorders, and may itself be the cause of some disorders.
In yoga all foods have been divided into three categories;
1. Sattvic food
2. Rajasic food
3. Tamasic food
This categorizing is not done on the basis of their caloric count.
It is the purest diet and highly recommended for yoga practitioner.
This type of food is cooked with the least amount of spices and without much seasoning.
It includes cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, nuts, seeds and honey.
It nourishes the body and maintains it in a peaceful state. It also keeps calm and purifies the mind, enabling it to function at its maximum potential.
It is very hot nature, spicy, bitter, sour, pungent, dry and excessively salty. Such food items are not recommended for mind-body equilibrium. They function as body stimulant and excite the passions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable. They include fish, egg, coffee, tea, meat etc. This type of food creates extra weight and fat, generate feeling of heaviness for a longer period of time after dinner, and arouse passion.
It is stale, tasteless more or less spoiled food, and containing foul odour, artificial additives.
Tamasic food items include alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic and fermented foods such as vinegar.
Tamasic food is at all not useful to nourish either body or mind. They make the body dull, lazy, drowsy and decrease immune power, filling the mind with dark emotions such as anger and greed. It makes one quarrelsome and intolerant.
One should ‘eat to live, not live to eat’.