Yoga is more ancient than most people realise. Sanskrit recordings of Ayurvedic medicine and practises date back over 5000 years to India. The food, the yoga asanas and the meditation form a symbiotic circle. Without the food, your body couldn’t do yoga, without yoga, your body couldn’t meditate for long periods of time and without meditation, you may not realise the importance of the previous two.
Extending your practice to the kitchen
If you’ve already discovered yoga and want to extend that practise into the food you eat, here is a glimpse into a modern Ayurvedic kitchen . In the pantry you’ll find ghee and sunflower seed butter, plus dozens of herbs, spices, and teas. In the fridge, bundles of kale, carrots, and beets. On the counters, jars of homemade jams, organic raw honey, and a warm loaf of sprouted spelt bread. On the stovetop a pot of dahl simmering away.
The importance of food
A thought from a local Ayurvedic educator touches on the above point of connection between food, yoga and meditation.
“Eating is perhaps the single most important act for one’s yoga practice, because nourishment of the body’s tissues forms a foundation for nourishment of the mind and emotions.”
One way to think about this is to imagine devoting your days to practice while feeding yourself nothing but sugar and caffeine. What effect would that have? It’s easy to see that a balanced, calm mind is much easier to come by if you commit yourself to nourishing your body properly, just the same way as you commit to your meditation or your work.
Don’t be rigid, let your diet suit you
There are such varied perspectives on what feeds the body and spirit, developing a diet that reflects your ethics and honours your physical needs can be challenging. Of course, there is always a guideline and there is always advice you can seek; but in the end, I think most yogis would agree that part of the practice is just to develop awareness about what you eat.
It’s worth spending time educating yourself not just about the possible diets you could follow but also about the origins and properties of the food you buy. And it’s essential to listen to yourself so that you’ll know what kinds of foods might serve you best in each moment. But, as you explore the parameters of your own yogic diet, allow for some flexibility.