Food For Yoga and Meditation
Did you ever think that the food you eat may be the technique for deepening of Yoga and meditation? At Sri Yoga Peeth we follow the food habits designed exclusively to help yoga practitioners go deeper. You surely had those days where you wanted to practice but you felt sleepy or were overwhelmed by nothing other than a million thoughts. You might have asked what is the reason for that and if there is a way out from that. Generally, what you eat can be one of the reasons why you find it difficult to practice yoga and meditation. A heavy weight boxer needs different diet plan than from a gymnast and swimmer. If you go through different physical activities then all the time we have to change our diet plan to meet those needs. The food is the most important external factor that affects the progress in yoga. The food that is heavy to digest or Rajasik or tamasik brings various mental disturbances. Only the Satwik diet can be useful or yogic practice for a guaranteed success. This has been verified by all the saints and monks. Let's look at how food plays an important role in determining the depth of yoga experience.
You are what you eat
Let’s understand it in the light of Ayurveda. When we talk about the food then Ayurveda and all the classics tell us that food is responsible for mind as mind is made up of food that we eat. Whatever type of food we eat, same type of mind we’ll have, hence same type of thinking we’ll develop. This nature (Prakriti) is made up of three constituents, namely sattwa, rajas, and tamas. All matter and empirical phenomena, including the mind, is made up of in endless combinations of these three gunas (attributes). So logically if we are eating Rajasik or Tamasik food we’ll have the thinking of the same kind. The gunas, may also be understood in terms of unactivity (Sattva), activity (Rajas) and inactivity (Tamas). The characteristics associated with these three gunas are mutually different. For instance ; sattva is characterized by purity, serenity, poise, calmness, discrimination, transparence, compassion, clarity, goodness, altruism, dispassion, contentment, etc.; rajas is characterized by love of fame, passion, lust, strife, impatience, jealousy, pride, display of power etc. ; and tamas is characterized by anger, greed, ignorance, solidity, resistance, inertia, forgetfulness, confusion, darkness, brutality, etc. Sattva is the condition of harmony in the human system. Contrary to it Tamas and Rajas are mental impurities. Lust, anger, fear, jealousy, attachment, greed, grief and worry etc are all the mental disturbances and are caused by the excess of Rajas and Tamas. The consequences of each of these three gunas are different. The sattwa, rajas, and tamas correspond to sukha (happiness), dukha (suffering), and moha (attachment) respectively. In the situations like yoga and meditation we are trying to calm down the mind and concentrate i.e. bring the Satwa nature. But if the mind is already full of Tamasik and Rajasik thoughts like sadness, grief, desire of suicide, anger, frustration, revenge, violence, guilt and so on then it would become extremely difficult to bring it in Satwik situation and yoga practice becomes elusive. So in these situations eating anything that can aggravate the Tamasik and Rajasik thoughts is asking for bigger troubles. Hence in case of some Satwik spiritual practice like hatha yoga and meditation we need to eat only Satwik food. For explaining it there is a story: Once upon a time in India, there lived three friends, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They were very close to each other but very different in nature. Tamas always liked to rest but easily fall into laziness. He would lie all day, doing nothing. He liked to sleep a lot and would feel himself tired and sick. But he was very active at eating time; he would eat all kind of meat, alcohol and toxic material. So this way his life was; eat a lot and sleep a lot. Rajas was more of action oriented, but he was too restless to sit silently, with many thoughts in his mind and many things to do. With regard to food, he would enjoy hot and spicy foods, and sweets made with a lot of sugar. The simple philosophy for Rajas was; eat tasty and hot, need to move a lot. The third friend was wiser than others. He was enthusiastic but would go about his business in a calm manner. He would eat only what was necessary for his body i.e. a healthy but natural diet. Fruits, juices, freshly cooked green vegetables and grains were usually part of his meals. He was energetic (unlike Tamas) and still calm and clear in mind (unlike Rajas). His philosophy was simple; eat healthy eat right, body healthy mind right. I am sure you would like to join hands with Satwa and learn his methods of diet. This is the only method for success in meditation. At Sri Yoga Peeth we make sure to serve the Satwik food for satwik mind that is super tasty and super light. This food starts showing the result on the mind within a week. Note: Please understand that it is not possible to satisfy the special food preferences and requirements of all the practitioners. Students are therefore kindly requested to make do with the simple vegetarian meals provided. The course management endeavours to prepare a balanced, wholesome menu suitable for yoga and meditation.