Healthy Eating Habits
If we see the life of ancient man we will find that they never broke the nature law and in result they get a good healthy life. Man is the best creation of universe due to his thinking faculty but he is misusing it instead of using it properly. All human values have lost their meaning in modern lifestyle. One of such spoiling habits is related to ‘ahara’ or ‘Food’ . Food comes under the the basic need of human being. Diet is an integral part of yoga and human existence.
Taittariya Upanishad says, "Annat purushah": The individual becomes out of the food that he takes.
Shrimadbhagvad Gita, mentions-
yuktahara-viharasya yukta-cestasya karmasu yukta-svapnavabodhasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha.
He who is mild in his tendencies for eating, resting, working and pleasure can relieve every material torment by rehearsing the yoga framework.
“A diet that is wholly conducive to the practice of Yoga and spiritual progress is called Yogic diet. According to yogic philosophy gross part of food nourishes the outermost sheath i.e. Annamaya Kosha and subtle part of food nourishes the Pranmaya Kosha and Manomaya Kosha of a person. These different sheaths symbolize different levels of consciousness. To raise one’s consciousness one should purify the outermost sheath by following prescribed dietary guidelines Pathya(wholesome) /Apathya (unwholesome) as mentioned in these Yogic Scriptures. These scriptures tell Quality, Quantity Timing and order of taking food.
Definitions of Yogic Diet according to Yogic scriptures:
आसनं कुम्भकं छित्रं मुद्राख्यं करणं तथा | अथ नादानुसन्धानमभ्यासानुक्रमो हठे || ५८ ||
Swami Swatmaram says, “Eating sweet and unctuous food offered to the almighty leaving one quarter (of the stomach) empty this is known as Mitahara”.
By Maharishi Gheranda in Gheranda Samhita:
“शुद्धं सुमधुरं स्निग्धामदुरारधावििस्जितिम ||
भुज्यिे सुरसम्प्रीत्या ममिाहारमममं विदुुः||
Mitahara is pure, sweet, lubricated and fills only half the stomach and which is digestable and is eaten to please the god.
Importance of Yogic diet:
Yogic diet plays a vital role in the success of Yogic practices. Yogic diet is also an essential prerequisite before and after practicing pranayama.
ममिाहाराम विणा यनिु योगारम्प्भं िू कारयेि
ििरोगो भिेत्तनय ककंचिद्योगो ि मसध्यति
Gheranda samhita mentioned that who begins the practice of yoga without controlling his diet suffers from many diseases and does not make progress in this path.
“Adaou sthanam tatha kalam mitharam tathaparam
Nadishuddhim tatah paschat pranayaamam cha sadhyet”
Maharishi Gheranda says that four essential requirements for practicing pranayama are place, time, mitahaar and purification of nadis (energy channels).
“युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेस्टस्य कममसु
युक्तस्िप्नािबोधस्य योगो भितीदुखः”
He whose food and enjoyment are balanced, whose movements in actions are balanced, whose sleeping and waking is balanced, his yoga becomes eliminator of sorrows.
Shrimadbhagvadgita also classifies the types of Yogic Diet namely as Sattvic, Rajsic and Tamasic. Like, each individual has three distinct characteristics and choose the nature of a person. Shri Krishna says, individuals with three unique characteristics favor three distinctive food types.
Shri Krishna categorizes diet into three groups i.e.
"Food that expand life expectancy, mental quintessence, quality, wellbeing, solace, and enjoyableness, that are tasty, unctuous, stable, and fulfilling to the heart are the nourishments that are supported by sattvic."
"Severe, harsh, salty, too much hot, sharp, dry, and copying are the nourishments supported by rajsic, causing uneasiness, gloom and sickness."
"Not completely cooked, flavorless, rotten, stale, extra by others, not fit as a contribution is the food enhanced by the tamasic."