Dietetic Discipline in Yoga

Food and Lifestyle are the two important factors for the successful journey in the yogic path. Food which is conducive to Yoga practice enhances the efficacy of the success and the one which is not conducive becomes one of the greatest obstacles to the progress in the path of yoga.

The ancient texts such as Veda and Upanishads have given a lot of significance for the appropriate use of food. Taittiriya Upanishad explains that

“Food is the prime component of life hence is also known as medicine. Therefore everybody tries to get it who worships food as supreme”.

The proper use of the food becomes the best medicine whereas improper food becomes the invitation for various disorders in the system.

Various classical texts on Hatha Yoga give the wise advice for the suitable food for the practice. Hatha Pradeepika is one of the most referred traditional texts on Classical Curriculum of Yoga briefs about the quality of the food as follows.

“pustam sumadhuram snigdham gavyam dhatupraposanam|
manobhilasitam yogyam yogi bhojanamacaret” || [H.P:I, 63]

“Yogis should eat food that is nutritious, sweet and unctuous, products of cow’s milk and nourishing food of their own choice suitable for practice of Yoga.”

The quality of the food as explained in the above reference is helpful to strengthen the different tissues as per the Ayurveda concept of the body.

Controlled Food and its necessity

Gheranda Samhita gives the precise clarity on the exercise of the moderation in the diet.  The concept of controlled diet explains as “Mitahara”  which  is  pure, sweet, soft and fills only half the stomach and it is palatable which  is eaten to please the God (in oneself).”

mitharam vina yastu yogarambham tu karayet|
nanarogo bhavettasya kimcidyogo na sidhyati”||  [G.S:V, 16]

“One who begins the practice of yoga without controlling his diet suffers from many diseases and does not make progress in Yoga.”

This reference is a good guideline to differentiate between the desired and undesired consequences due to the poor eating and wring selection of the combinations of food items.

Effect of food 

According to Chandogya Upanishad, satvika food purifies the intelligence. Pure intelligence helps in meditation which leads to the highest state of mind.

The food itself is means for the realization and hence it is considered as the reality to attain the reality. It has the impact on the gross as well as the subtle body also. The quality and quantity of the food along with mental condition during eating plays prominent role in the definition of the particular personality types.