We are what we eat. What is our body if it’s not a combination of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat?.
This is indisputable. So, in order to function properly, we must feed our bodies with healthy products.
If you eat products that require a lot of energy and time to be processed, logically you will feel slow, heavy and sleepy. In that case, do not intent activities that demand high physical or mental effort, because you will perform poorly.
If, on the contrary, you feed it with nutritious and easily digestible food, you will find yourself active and energetic.
It is true that there are a lot of scientific details to take into account, but there is also a lot of common sense involved in the field of food.
Which food is not good for yogis?
Basically, the same food that is not good for anyone else.
There really is no specially recommended food for yogis, there are healthy foods and others that are less healthy.
What happens is that, in general, yoga practitioners are very aware of their health and pay more attention to food, as one more component of the different aspects that contribute to having a healthy life.
Yoga is about getting your body and mind in balance for you to feel great, so eating mindfully should be another component of yoga.
It does not matter how much yoga you practice, if you don’t eat properly you will feel unwell or low and have negative thoughts or at least not as well as you could generally be.
So the food that yoga practitioners, and in general everyone, should avoid are those that consume energy, i.e, the ones that aren’t easily digestible, make us feel sleepy and that in many cases provide lesser nutrients.
Indian Ayurvedic science calls this food group, tamasic food.
What food is tamasic?
Tamasic foods are those that are over-processed, rotten, or dead, and act as a sedative, making the body and mind sluggish, leading to dullness, lack of motivation and negativity. It creates heaviness and physical, mental and emotional lethargy.
Here is a list:
- Alcohol, red meat, artificial sweeteners, frozen food, food with preservatives or synthetic ingredients, deep-fried food, old canned and packed food, all refined sugar, all fermented food, blue cheese.
- Vegetables: Mushrooms, Garlic, Onion, Pumpkin, garlic, hot peppers, eggplant
- Stimulants: coffee, tea (with caffeine) and cacao, and sodas.
Some of these foods are not strictly tamasic but have a tamasic effect, because stimulants give you an instant energy hike and then make you feel low.
How much food and when?
The answer to this question comes from applying common sense and practice listening to your body that holds all the wisdom to help you eat intuitively.
Simply, if you do yoga intensely and lead an active life you will have to eat more than if your activity was lesser otherwise.
Yoga must be practiced on an empty stomach, so, if you have a heavy meal, then have your meal, at least 4 hours before your yoga time, if you have a light snack 2 hours prior will be enough.
Some people have smoothies or energy bars 30-40 minutes before the class. This is mostly a mistake and has more to do with bad habits and overindulgence than with a real need.
Do not make food a religion. It is about eating sensibly. Use your intelligence.
It is time we learn to pay attention to what is happening in our system. Just notice how certain foods affect you and stop eating those that don’t feel right.
Eat without counting calories or the number of carbs, fats, or whatever the latest dietary trend is. Getting stressed out while eating is far more hurtful to your system than any ingredient could possibly be.
Just be conscious and know yourself.