Eating ‘yoga food’ is one of the best ways to help enhance and elevate your practice.
To understand which foods are best for yoga requires that you understand a bit about Ayurvedic science and nutrition. The sciences of Ayurveda and yoga were developed side by side in India. They are complementary sciences, each of which helps to nurture the mind, body, and soul.
Eat Sattvic Food
In Ayurveda, there are three qualities or gunas that are contained in everything. These three qualities are sattva, tamas, and rajas. In food, the three gunas lead to different physical and mental responses.
- Tamasic food is heavy and slow, embodying the elements of earth. Tamasic food can make people slow, sluggish, lethargic, and ignorant. Examples of tamasic foods are meats, alcoholic drinks, and deep fried foods.
- Rajasic food is fiery and stimulates the mind and body. Rajasic food tends to make the mind race, can aggravate digestive issues, and can lead to hyper-stimulation. Rajasic foods include pungent spices, coffee, and tomatoes.
- Sattvic foods are nourishing, gentle, and sweet. They help to promote a peaceful mind and promote good health and spiritual well-being. Sattvic foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and ghee. Note: Ghee is about as sattvic as it gets. This golden, creamy clarified butter looks and tastes like ojas itself, and is said to nourish all the tissues and organs in the body. Adding ghee to any meal can turn it into a nutritional and spiritual powerhouse.
As you can imagine, the best food for yoga practice is sattvic food. Anyone who can craft their diet to contain primarily sattvic foods will notice an impressive improvement to their overall health and well-being.
Eat to Increase Prana
Prana is the life force that is present in all living things. Yoga helps us work on increasing prana. However, prana can also be built through the food we eat. Prana rich foods are very similar to Sattvic foods. Foods high in prana are vegetables, fruit, herbs, and spices.
Eat To Balance Your Constitution
Learning about your unique constitution is an important step in understanding what foods to eat to better your yoga practice. That’s because your constitution dictates your overall health and your diet plays a substantial role in balancing your constitution.
That’s why you should learn what your unique constitution is and eat accordingly:
- Vatas (air and ether) should eat warm, moist, oily, and heavy foods that are sweet, sour and salty
- Pittas (fire and water) should eat cool, dry and heavy foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent
- Kaphas (earth and water) should eat warm, light and fiery foods that are bitter, pungent and astringent
Following a diet based on the doshas elements will help you achieve optimal health so you can have more energy and strength for your practice.
If you’re looking to enhance and elevate your practice by incorporating yoga foods, the most important takeaway is to embrace wholesome foods, especially fruits and vegetables, which balance your dosha. This ensures you will have a predominately Sattvic diet that is rich in Prana and you will feel your best.
In addition, you might consider taking supplements designed for Yogis, like Chyawanprash. Chyawanprash is a superfood blend of herbs and spices which help improve yoga practice by boosting mental clarity, digestion, vitality and energy levels. Learn more about the benefits of Chyawanprash for Yogis.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)