When you hear the word ‘yoga’, you might picture people performing complex poses, as it’s one of the most popular exercise methods in the world. However, there’s more to it than just being a form of fitness.
Tracing its roots as far back as 5,000 years ago in India, yoga is actually a way of life that’s deeply rooted in ancient scriptures. The life of a yogi is ingrained in many important yoga texts and teachings that can be found in the Vedas. Composed in 1000 BCE, this is an ancient Sanskrit scripture that many consider as the foundation of yoga practices. One of the most essential writings is the Ayurveda, which is a system that explains how to lead a healthy lifestyle, while another vital work is the ‘Yoga Sutras’ by the Hindu sage Patanjali.
Let’s take a closer look at how yogis apply these scriptures to eating, as it’s a practice of both nourishing and honoring your body.
Today’s food culture is dominated by unhealthy sources like fast food and processed goods. But as guest author Jessica Smith previously discussed in ‘How to Make Healthy Recipes Full of Vitamins and Proteins’, consuming food rich in artificial flavors and colors, and other synthetic chemicals, is very harmful to our health. To nourish your body with the nutrients it needs, organic food is your best option.
Although eating organic food is easier said than done, you can follow the lead of yogis for an easier experience, as many of them follow a sattvic diet that’s promoted by the Ayurveda. This pedagogy points out that pure or organic food must be consumed for your mind and body to become spiritually content. You can start practicing a sattvic diet by stocking up on organic goods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and produce.
Yogis are conscious of every breath they take, as the act of breathing powerfully strengthens the connection between our mind and body. Health and lifestyle writer Jane Adamson notes how the yoga practice of mindfulness makes a person self-aware, empowering them to tune in to their thoughts and actions while also bringing balance to their life. This translates to being careful about the way you consume your food.
Ayurvedic teachings stress that you should eat mindfully like a yogi by paying close attention to your senses. Many people today eat in front of a screen, whether it’s holding your phone in one hand or watching a Netflix show on TV. While this may be entertaining, it delegates the supporting role to eating when it should be the star. To turn this around, eliminate the presence of digital devices when you dine. Then, smell the aroma of your food, hold your utensils with focus, and savor every bite you take.
Have an Attitude of Gratitude
A lot of people today view food as a source of enjoyment instead of its instrumental role of being our main source of nourishment. On the other hand, yogis who integrate the instructions of Patanjali into their lives are grateful for every ounce of food they consume. Certified yoga teacher Michelle Fyfe shares that the yoga philosophy of santosha puts the spotlight on the importance of gratitude.
From thanking the world for a new day to appreciating the presence of the others, yogis show gratitude at any given chance. This attitude can be extended to the way you eat your food. For instance, before you take a bite of your food, why not take a moment to say thank you? You can thank the farmers who grew it or the grocery store employee who led you to the produce aisle. Expressing gratitude is not only a great reminder of how to eat right, but also how fortunate you are to nourish your body with the best sources.
About the author
Raised in a predominantly sports-oriented family, Jaci Ballard found her calling in yoga. When she’s not in the studio teaching her equally enthusiastic students, she’s spreading the good news of the ancient practice by contributing blogs to various blogs and websites.