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Nutrition For Yoga

Published : Sep 20, 2019 4 mins read Updated On : Jul 20, 2022

How Yoga Helps?

Yoga has physical and mental health benefits and cultivating mindfulness on the mat can lead to mindfulness in other areas of life, including eating. Mindful eating is a key component may lead people to more positive relationships with food and for weight and lifestyle management. Yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety, enhance mood and overall well-being, aid in weight maintenance and potentially decrease the risks and symptoms of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

It is well established that a poor diet can contribute to the development of a wide variety of diseases, including Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and some cancers. Modifying the food intake, in turn, improve health, reduce the need for medications, and in some cases reverse all signs of disease. Much of the yogic prescription for food comes straight from the yamas and niyimas, yoga’s do’s and don’ts.


The first yama, is ahimsa, non-harming. Out of concern for the welfare of animals, many—though not all—yogis choose to be vegetarians. It is studied vegetarians are less likely to develop all the health conditions mentioned above, and they tend to weigh less than carnivores. For similar reasons, yoga would suggest that we choose organic food whenever possible which tends to taste better and to be higher in micro nutrients content. It is studied how harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are to human health, yoga's holistic perspective would suggest that anything strong enough to kill pests, weeds, and fungi is undoubtedly not going to be healthy for us. There are destructive effects of the stew of chemicals that all of us are exposed to—recent evidence links pesticide exposure to both male infertility and Parkinson's disease. These chemicals harm the health of workers, damage ecosystems, and contaminate local groundwater.
Yoga and Ayurveda on Food

Yoga and Ayurveda seperates everything in the universe as being made up of three different properties, or gunas: rajas, tamas, and sattva. Rajas is the property of motion, and rajasic diet tend to be stimulating, even agitating. Onions, garlic, red pepper, and coffee are a few examples. Tamas is the property of inertia. Tamasic foods items tend to be heavy, stale or low in nutritional value, and can induce lethargy. From a yogic point of view, they lack prana, or vital energy. Fast food, junk food, and something that's been sitting in the fridge for a week are all considered tamasic. Sattva is balance, and sattvic foods are fresh, and high in vitamins. Think of fresh fruit or a plate of steamed, organic greens, etc.

Diet is the centerpiece of Ayurveda. India's system of medicine characterizes foods based on their taste and makes dietary recommendations based on how foods with different tastes affect people of different people. For example, people with fiery pitta constitutions might be advised to refrain from overly spicy foods in favor of foods with bitter, astringent, and sweet tastes. Hyperactive vatas, benefit from eating warm, nutritious meals on a regular schedule, emphasizing sweet, salty, and sour tastes. Kaphas, with their tendency toward inertia, may be told to cut back on sweets and high-fat foods, opting instead for spicy, bitter, or astringent foods.

Using Yogic Awareness to Guide Food Choices

Finding the right foods is in part a matter of trial and error. A particular food might taste good, for example, but if you feel lethargic afterward, you can't sleep well, or your meditation is more distracted than usual, it may be that this food isn't agreeing with you. It’s good to keep a food diary, in which they write down what they eat and how they feel later, is a great way for them to study themselves. Food is one of life's joys, and yoga teaches that it, like you, is a manifestation of the divine. The more awareness they bring to the process, the better dietary choices they are likely to make, and the better it will be for them—and for the rest of us.


In yogic and Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three qualities (gunas) of all things in nature: 1) Raja (hot, spicy, fast), 2) Tama (slow, lethargic, bland), and 3) Sattva (purity, harmony). These three qualities are present in all things, but in different quantities, making one quality dominant.

Rajasic foods are hot, bitter, salty, or spicy. They overstimulate the mind and excite the passions. In contrast, tamasic foods are bland and include meat, alcohol, tobacco, garlic, onions, fermented foods, and overripe substances.

Sattvic food is the purest diet, the most suitable one for any serious yogi. This nourishes, calms and purifies the mind, enabling it to function at its maximum potential. A Sattvic food will ultimately lead to true health; a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them.
Sattvic foods include:

  • wholemeal bread
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • pure fruit juices
  • milk
  • butter and cheese
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • sprouted seeds
  • honey and herb teas

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Sayali Naik
Fast&Up Nutrition Consultant

Sayali works with a tons of people and players across the globe and across the sports disciplines, from grassroot to professional Cricketers, Football players, Badminton. Sayali is extremely passio... Read More

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