“The practitioner of HATHA YOGA who does not pay proper attention to nourishment may end up suffering from many different diseases. The yogi should, therefore, eat rice, barley, beans, nuts, fruits, and other such energizing and healthy food. His stomach should be filled to half of its capacity with pure, sweet and refreshing food while one half of the rest should be filled with water and whatever remains should be left empty. This is known as a moderate diet.”
Food and drink are practically indispensable to life because they are the primary support of it.
Despite this fact, many people do not pay proper attention to nourishment and consequently eat and drink without observing any rules whatsoever. On the other hand, some people have come to develop an obsession for diet.
Among the most famous diets, we mention the Zen macrobiotic diet and vegetarian diet.
Unfortunately, yogic teachings about food and drink have not been sufficiently investigated in the West. However, it is true that a number of diets and health systems, based on Eastern teachings, have emerged in the West; but still, these tend to present only parts of the truth about diet as it has been exposed in the yogic treaties.
Diet is an important issue in Yogic and Eastern medicine. A common characteristic within their system of nourishment is the classification of food according to its taste. All the qualities which a certain type of food has are based on six tastes, which when combined, make up the entire range of known tastes.
Yogic teaching indicates that the papilla extracts the essence from the food even before it enters the stomach, where the process of digestion takes place.
Regarding food, Westerners are usually concerned about the protein, amidine, and vitamin content of it and disregard the fact that food also brings subtle energies to the person who eats it.
Generally, Westerners have the tendency to gain excess weight. They eat too much and then seek refuge in all kinds of different diets.
The yogic tradition indicates that one must eat in a level headed way, regularly, and at the correct times. Furthermore, it is indicated that one should pay attention to the digestion process and consume the food that best fits one’s own nature.
According to yogic teachings, the taste of food directly influences the feelings and emotions that a person has. A certain combination of tastes may stimulate and enhance sexual energy, while another may induce anger and fury.
The connection between taste and feelings were thoroughly investigated two thousands years ago, by the ancient yogis. As human beings we each have different temperaments, therefore, our individual differences and unique nature needs be taken into consideration, in conjunction with our diet.
Consequently, the yogis believe that a balanced diet has the utmost importance for reaching spiritual freedom.
The ‘yogic’ cuisine requires that all ingredients be cleaned and carefully prepared before using them. The mental attitude with which one prepares food ‘brings’ a certain type of subtle energy to the food, which can even influence its taste.
“Food represents the touchstone of all material things. It is the medicine for any disease. All things are born from food.”