The traditional Yoga diet will maximize your physical and mental health, increase your vitality, boost your energy, and optimize your power to focus. Enjoy the nutritious foods of the Yoga diet to bring balance and wholeness into every facet of your life.
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What’s a Yoga Diet?
The Yoga diet is simple, wholesome, and nutritious. It provides vitality and stability to promote excellent health and a maximal lifespan. Embracing moderation, it’s a diet without excess or obsession.
Contrary to popular opinion, the traditional Yoga diet is not an ayurvedic one. Some Yoga practitioners follow the dietary advice of ayurveda, Yoga’s sister system from ancient India, but Yoga has its own unique set of dietary recommendations for specific foods along with instructions for when and how to eat. Esteemed teachers, some of Yoga’s most revered forefathers, advised aspiring yogis on the best foods for an optimal practice and for multi-dimensional wellness. While those gurus came from a time and culture in which ayurveda was the predominant medical system, their teachings were not the same as ayurvedic directives regarding diet.
Long before modern diet gurus wrote books to direct our food choices, these wise men were observing, understanding, and teaching others about how to live and breathe in healthy ways. They were the experts of their time, and they taught us about the traditional Yoga diet. Those gurus lived hundreds of years ago, centuries before the scientific method was routinely accepted. Instead of conducting randomized controlled trials, they learned from experience and from the collective experience of their teachers, and they were finely in tune with their intuition and their spiritual nature.
The Yoga gurus of the distant past wrote down their collective wisdom in manuals meant to guide the practice of future aspirants along the path. Within the traditional texts of Hatha Yoga, like the Hatha Yoga Pradipka, we are given specific recommendations for a Yoga diet – what to eat and what not to eat – to be healthy. And their healthy wasn’t just about the physical body, but also the health of our minds, our hearts, and our spirits.
The wisdom of a Yoga diet as found in these ancient texts still stands as truth. When we look at the Yoga gurus’ teachings in the light of modern scientific research, we can see that they really were pretty wise after all – even by today’s evidence-based standards. A traditional Yoga diet is one that optimizes health and happiness.
Following the spiritual directive of ahimsa, restraint from harming others, the Yoga diet is vegetarian. We’re clearly advised not to eat meat – no beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, or any other flesh food. Dairy is considered a gift from the Gods, a product of the holy cows kept in communion with nature. Partaking of limited amounts of milk and butter are encouraged while cheese is prohibited. Eggs are neither recommended nor discouraged. In essence, then, the Yoga diet is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet – one without cheese of any kind.
For an in-depth scientific analysis of all the traditional teachings of Yoga about food and nutrition, check out my upcoming book:
Light on Food – the Yoga Diet
More links to articles on Nutrition and a Yoga diet
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- Yoga Diet Lowers Cataract Risk
- Vegetarian Diet Helps Prevent Diverticular Disease
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