Yogic Diet – The Concept

Dieting is catching up around the world. ‘To Diet’ – is more popular for better looks than for sound health. High calorie junk foods are shunned. A struggle between the palate and the desire to slim down continues.

The Yogic concept of food however, takes into consideration the total dimension of human existence. Yoga believes, apart from the atoms and molecules of which our gross physical body is made, we possess prana, mind, intellect, emotions and the spiritual dimensions. Yoga is the process by which we bring an integration of the entire personality at all these levels. If the stamina of the body is to be developed, the prana should be brought to a harmonious balance, the mind should be calmed down, the emotion should be stabilized and the intellect should be under total control.

A ‘Balanced Diet’, therefore, according to Yoga, is that diet which restores balance at all levels. Only such diet could aid in a holistic way of living and development of personality!

Yoga classifies food into 3 categories (similar to the classification of human beings) into predominantly Tamasika, Rajasika and Sattvika food

Tamasika food – Those food which are ‘dead’, partially spoiled, which have lost their essence, which have been processed a great deal, which have been preserved in some way having no spark of life about them, or which lack the vitality of food, are Tamasika. These food may add ‘matter’ to the physical body, may nourish the grossest aspect of the body but they create a feeling of heaviness.

Eating Tamasika food makes one lethargic. One may vacillate between an irritating restlessness and a tendency to fall sleep. Due to external circumstances like busy work schedule, even when a healthy person resorts  to such diet; functioning gets sluggish and diseases of degeneration and accumulation of excessive toxic matter are likely to occur leading to illness like obesity, arthritis, hardening of the arteries, etc.

When food is spoiled, its chemical structure breaks down, resulting in acidity; nutrients are destroyed. Rather than being useful, they may breakdown into products which cannot be used by the body. Instead they are under circulation and act as irritants to the nervous system as well as to the other cells, tissues and organs.

Rajasika Food – Food that which stimulates the nervous system, speeds up metabolism is called Rajasika. Coffee, Tea, Tobacco, green chilies, pepper etc are examples of Rajasika foods. Rajasika food energize, but not in the sense of lending a clear balanced energy. They tend to stimulate and push the organism to increase its speed and to indulge more in physical activity, sensual pleasures and comforts. Spiced and cooked to perfection food with lots of rich sauces, tempts one to eat more and leads the attention to the savor of the food and away from the internal signals.

Such a diet, no doubt creates in an individual brilliant energies and keeps all vigorous men restlessly striving to fulfill their uncontrolled passions and desires. Hence, in their final reactions, they lead the eater towards a life of productive ‘pain, grief and disease’.

Sattvika Food is defined as:

ayuh sattvabalarogya sukhapritivivardhanah rasyah snigdhah sthirah hrdyah aharah sattvikapriyah”

– Bhagavad Gita

It means, those food that increase the ‘life and vitality’, purity, ‘strength and stamina’, health, happiness, ‘cheerfulness and good appetite’, are termed Sattvika. These foods are savory, oleaginous, substantial and most importantly agreeable to the system.

In contrast to Rajasika foods that supply strength to just the muscles, Sattvika foods give strength from within. Sattvika food is:

  • fresh, wholesome, natural, of good quality, mild in spices, neither over nor undercooked
  • are experienced as lending a calm alertness
  • which augment joy and inner cheerfulness and
  • Shape a state of quiet energy

Such food is believed to nourish the consciousness. They add vitality to the total system by bringing a perfect, harmonious balance of energy state. They don’t pull energy from the body; they rather give the body lightness, alertness, energy and create clear consciousness.

People of ‘sattvika nature’ – having spiritual urges, like diets which increase the vitality and not sheer bulk to the body i.e. food that supplies the energy for meditative purposes.
It increases and unfolds the secret strength to resist temptations for sense objects; provides good health so that they may not fall ill and suffer a break in their regular
Sadhana’ – spiritual quest!

33 thoughts on “Yogic Diet – The Concept

    1. Isn’t it true with most of us? Interesting is that we all are aware of this fact but still neglect it till the diseases knock our door…
      Thankyou always for being this honest. Hope your diet gets a change over… More of S…with a dash of R and T 😇
      Have a blessed day 🙏🌸

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was very good info. My husband and I were just talking about giving up all foods with sugar. I needed this little push. Thanks for this very informative post. Love Joni

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for these kind words Joni 🙏
      Yes, please try to avoid white sugar; instead include natural food like dates & jaggery … We all need a little push once in a while 🙂 … I wish and pray your efforts leads you and family towards holistic health. Love loads 🌸🌸🌸

      Liked by 2 people

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