Role of nutrition in yoga

Most of us overlook the connection between yoga and the right nutrition simply because we have never heard any specific dietary rules for yoga practitioners, only a guidance to consume natural foods in moderation. However, just like life – diet is an integral part of yoga. Following a well balanced diet provides all the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need for your body and mind to be strong and healthy. A yogis diet does not believe in counting calories instead it completely focuses on health improvement and reducing the need for medication by controlling the type of food and its quality.

The universe is classified to have one of these three properties, or gunas: rajas, tamas and sattva. Rajas is a state of energy or motion and rajasic foods include fried and spicy foods. Tamas is a state of inertia or inactivity and tamasic foods are heavy, low in nutritional value and lack vital energy. These include meats, junk food and fast food. Sattva is a state of balance, harmony and joy and sattvic foods are fresh, pure and high in nutrients like fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. All yogis aspire to reach a state of Sattva through their actions, thoughts, beliefs including the food.

What makes your diet the central chakra of yoga?

Yoga activates and works on each and every part of our body. Without providing the right food to our body, we will only make it difficult for it perform at its best. Let’s understand how this works.

– Body movements in yoga are practised through various postures that release the tension from our muscles without exerting them unlike activates that involve a high intensity work out. Our muscle tissues can withstand the stress without any injury only if they are well nourished and hydrated.

– Essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants protect and nourish our brain, enabling it to perform vital tasks. In yoga, our brains go through increased activity while reciting mantras, even though our bodies are at complete rest. Depriving the brain of the essential nutrients will eventually impact your brain functioning.

– Yoga involves various breathing techniques like slow or fast breathing, holding or suspension of breath. All of which are directly related to our nervous system. Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are essential for a healthy nervous system without which simple breathing can seem like a task in your practice.

Find your match.

We all know our favourite foods and recipes but what troubles our body always remains an unsolved mystery. This mystery can only unfold through internal awareness which one gains from practicing yoga regularly. A great way to do this is to keep a food diary. Where you can write the food you eat and how you feel after. Something might taste great but makes you feel acidic, lethargic or causes sleeplessness will instantly pop up when you review your diary on a fortnightly cycle. While it may take a while to get used to the process and identity the food best suited for your gut, it sure is great way to plan a healthy meal – made just for YOU!

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