The Yoga Diet Debate Rages On

Here we are again discussing the merits and particulars concerning the yoga diet. As I’ve touched on this topic several times in previous posts, the true yoga diet is considered vegetarian and vegan ideally, but there’s more to it than just making those distinctions. When you really get into it, even certain foods that might seem okay aren’t considered the best either. Even though they might appear to be health promoting food choices by western standards, there are certain drawbacks to some foods according to yogic dietary lore. The whole idea is to achieve a balance by consuming a minimum of energizing and de-energizing foods, and to emphasize the most healing foods. Author Juliette Siegfried has written a very straightforward primer on what constitutes a proper yoga diet writing here for Health Guidance.

The Yoga Diet Debate Rages On

An estimated 20 million Americans practice yoga for health reasons, and have found numerous benefits in doing this. The gentle movements of hatha yoga have given them increased flexibility, increased their strength and energy levels, and helped them in many ways. Naturally, because many of these yoga practitioners are also concerned about their weight – seeking either to lose weight or maintain their current healthy weight – the question arises, “What do yogis eat? Is there a recommended ‘yoga diet?'”

Well, there is and there isn’t. There may, in fact, given the fact that there seems to be a name-brand fad diet for almost everything these day, be such a thing as a trademarked Yoga Diet™ that someone is trying to market to consumers. But in terms of actual dietary recommendations from the historical study of yoga, you have to go deeper, into its philosophy of how the world diet

The Three Gunas:

In the ancient traditions of India – whether those traditions come from Hinduism or Jainism or Ayurveda (traditional Indian medical practice) or yoga – foods and pretty much everything else are divided into three classifications: rajas, tamas, and sattva. These are referred to as the three gunas or primal forces of life, each classification personifying or identifying a certain set of characteristics. Foods that are considered rajasic are those that are considered stimulating, and that produce mental restlessness. Tamasic foods are believed to have a sedative effect, and to produce a duller, less alert mental state. Foods that are thought of as sattvic are those that – according to this theory – are full of more energy and healthful or healing properties and that produce a more settled, meditative state of mind.

Read Juliette’s entire article here at

The best yoga diet seeks to balance the energy tendencies (gunas)  of certain foods that might detract from proper restoration of the body, while emphasizing the sattvic foods due to their overall most health promoting effects. This approach doesn’t necessarily preclude meat per se but it tends to emphasize eating more of the foods that heal you and minimizing or eliminating those that don’t.

Let us know what kind of a diet you maintain. Leave a comment below and share your experiences with everyone. Click the like button and spread the word to someone you know.

Yoga exists in the world because everything is linked.                  —  Desikashar

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