Even more important than what you eat is when and how you eat. All food is sacred. However, the way that we eat has a huge impact on our health and happiness…particularly if we have tendencies toward food addiction, body issues, or just harmful habits.
Learning and implementing some simple tools to be in harmony with food is the game changer that you need. It is time to break the old patterns. It is time to be the radiant being that you were born to be. I cannot wait to show you how to use these tools to empower yourself through what and how you eat!
The Yogic Diet is more than a program, but a community that combines group support and the ancient wisdom about eating from the tradition of yoga helping you practice eating as a spiritual endeavor. Eating is essential; after all, it is a practice that we already engage in starting as infants and continue until old age. We already engage in it at least a few times a day, so why not practice eating as a way to cultivate a deeper relationship with ourselves and the Divine.
“The secret of being healthy and happy is always to be a little hungry and don’t overload the stomach…gluttons and epicureans cannot even dream of succeeding in yoga.” – Swami Vishnudevananda
Practice Eating like a Yogi
1. When to Eat
Try keeping your meals on a regular schedule, however if you do not feel hungry at mealtime, fast until the next meal. Listen to your hunger and your bodily cues; your body has its own intelligence concerning nutrition and satiety. Avoid over and under eating. Eat to 70-80% full. The Bhagavad Gita states, “Those who are temperate in eating and recreation, balanced in work, and regulated in sleep, can mitigate all sorrows by practicing Yoga.” (6.17) What stands opposite to yoga is over-indulgence, which is a violation of the natural laws that govern the body, thus resulting in disease and sorrows of the body and mind. These imbalances prevent the individual from attaining yoga. Yoga is the union of the soul with the Higher Being.
2. Where and How to Eat: Sit-Pray-Chew
– Sit at the table in front of your beautifully prepared plate. Maintain a peaceful attitude during the meal. Try to eat in silence without distractions. The Bhagavad Gita says, “While eating, one should concentrate only on eating as the food is served to one’s Consciousness.” (9.27) Learn to give your meal all of your focus.
– Prayer is universally recommended as a way to connect to God. A teaching that yoga philosophy encourages is offering your food to God with prayer and then eating the food you are offering. “The spiritually-minded, who eat food that is first offered in sacrifice, are released from all kinds of sin,” states the Bhagavad Gita (3.13). The offered food becomes prasad (the Grace of God) of which you consume. Many religions around the world have practices, including the Christian offering of the Eucharist; as well as, in Eastern religions, food is offered to a deity as part of worship ritual before eating it.
– Chew your food thoroughly and take breaths between bites. Digestion begins in the mouth, and yogis advise you to chew until your food is paste-like. Yogi Bhajan says, “If even one-tenth of your food goes from your mouth into the body without saliva, it will create disease.” Therefore, make intentional and slow chewing a part of your daily life.
3. What to Eat – Sattvic Foods
“The foods which increase life, purity, strength, health, joy, and cheerfulness, which are savory and oleaginous, substantial, and agreeable, are dear to the sattvic (pure) people.” – Bhagavad Gita 17.8
Yoga prescribes light, healthy, and nutritious fare. The standard yogic diet is natural, vegetarian, and based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Produce should be eaten raw or lightly cooked whenever possible. Avoid fried foods and processed or manufactured foods. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are gradually eliminated or reduced to a minimum. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and other recreational drugs or stimulants all adversely impact the nervous system and should be avoided.