Hatha Yoga recommends a balanced diet for success in yogic practices. A healthy balanced diet and calculated yoga practice brings perfection says the old wisdom of Hatha. At Akshara Yoga School we emphasize on nourishing diet which can provide sufficient physical vigor and also stabilize the mind for a successful yoga experience
What is Food
There is a saying that ‘the road to health does not lead to the pharmacy, but goes through the kitchen’. Among the several factors that affect our health, one of them is the diet that we eat. In order to make our dietary patterns healthy it is important to understand the nature of food. The explanation of food in Taitteriya Upanishad is so profound that it can doubtlessly be used as the cornerstone of nutrition.
It says, ‘Food is called annam not only because it is eaten, but also because it eats’. Thus, food will nourish and promote health only if it is of right kind, eaten in the right quantity, at the right time and in the right manner. Otherwise it will eat us up, i.e. it will lead to disease, suffering and even death.
Diet in Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) also emphasize the same sensibility that a yogi should take food in right quantities which is easy to digest (HYP 1.58). That food should be nourishing and sweet mixed with ghee (purified butter) and milk. It should nourish the dhatus (basic body constituents) and be pleasing and suitable (HYP 1.63). One should always avoid overeating and fill half of the stomach with food, one-fourth with water and remaining one-fourth to be left vacant for air.
Foods like green vegetables, fresh seasonal fruits, cereals, pulses, milk, ghee are not only rich in nutrition but also have great healing power. They nourish the basic seven constituents of body which are skin, flesh, blood, bone, marrow, fat and semen/ova. Vegetables, fruits, cereals, grains and pulses provide essential vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Fresh milk and ghee maintain the mucous lining of the digestive tract and alimentary canal which is washed away by shatkarma practices; they also neutralize any acidity or heat in the stomach which the practices may create.
Now days it is very difficult to get fresh, uncontaminated and chemical free food which can nourish us in true sense. Therefore, at Akshara Yoga School we focus equally on diet as we focus on our yoga training. We procure all the essential components of Hatha yogic diet fresh and organically from our farm. One can visit our fields and kitchen garden to see how we grow our food.
Right amount of yoga practice and healthy food is the foundation of health and vitality which no medical check-up can reveal. Such health is a positive state of being, implying abundance of vitality, vigor, stamina, mental alertness and spiritual poise.