Traditionally, yoga divides food into three major categories corresponding with the three qualities, or gunas of nature (Prakriti). The three gunas are: Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. These three types of energy are present in food as well. Consequently, as we consume certain foods, they influence our personality in distinctive ways, making us either balanced or imbalanced.
Each of the types of food has a related state of consciousness:
Tamasic food promotes apathy and inactivity. This diet includes:
Rajasic food promotes agitation, excessive energy, and discontentment. This diet includes:
Sattvic food promotes health, vitality, strength, and tranquility. This diet includes:
Yoga teaches us about the connection between what we eat and how we feel emotionally and physically. Therefore, it is vital to eat only natural, unprocessed fresh food that is as close to its original state as possible. Best to cook those foods that actually require cooking.
According to “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, certain foods are injurious to a yoga practitioner. These include:
“Hatha Yoga Pradipika” also recommends certain foods as beneficial to a yogi. These include:
Traditionally, a yogic diet should consist of:
Food should be eaten slowly, with full attention to eating, and chewing properly to aid digestion. We should eat in moderation, not too much or too often.
Meat should be avoided as it interferes with our spiritual development. Processed foods, filled with preservatives, additives and colorings are considered to be foodless foods as they are usually full of fat and sugar and they contain no vitamins or minerals. These should also be avoided as they provide the body with unnecessary calories, chemicals and toxins that are harmful.