The awareness of yoga extends to how you choose to fuel your body.
How much better is a meal that is savored, rather than rushed through without appreciation?
How good do you feel when you enjoy the creative expression of cooking and eat wholesome food?
Food is energy. The things we eat absorb that which nurtures them. The next time you have fruit or vegetables before you, contemplate what contributed to their lives before they became your food. All elements participate in life.
All plants are sustained by the nutrients of soil and earth, the nourishment of water, the composition of air, and the warmth and light of the sun. These energies then enter into your body when you eat, and become a part of you. This happens both on an energetic level, and also on a very physical, molecular level.
Classically, yoga breaks down foods (and other things) into three categories: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
Tamas describes heavy, slow, dark vibrations, like that which helps you sleep. Rajas is the vibration of fire, energy, and activity – think middle of the day. Sattva is the perfect balance of Rajas and Tamas which creates a pure vibration of harmony and light. A Sattvic time of day would be the magic hours of the early morning.
When it comes to eating, both the foods and the environment of eating can be observed as a mixture of these three energies.
Generally speaking, Rajasic foods are hot, spicy, sour, dry or salty. Unbalanced Rajasic foods can be overstimulating and leave you feeling scattered or even angry.
Tamasic foods are heavy foods and too much leaves the body feeling dull. Over eating would also create a tamasic experience.
Sattvic foods are light, fresh, and full of nutrients – think fruits, veggies, and wholesome meals without over indulgence. Sattvic meals can include rajasic and tamasic ingredients, as long as they are moderate and balanced.
What does this mean?
Well, the best approach is to use common sense and notice how foods make you feel.
Eating greasy pizza in a loud, busy restaurant may be fun and taste good at the time, but what does your body report to you after the fact?
When you eat light, fresh foods that are mindfully prepared in a soothing environment, how do you feel after?
Also, knowing which elements are appropriate in the moment is important. Sometimes a heavier meal is just what you need; such as a hearty soup or comfort food in the winter. Yet know when to say when, or you’ll have a chance to contemplate the full meaning of Tamas, like while you’re stuck on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner.
Again, the key is awareness and experience. Be curious, try new approaches, learn new things, and offer to others what has worked for you.
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Want to know more about Raw Food, or discuss what you know? This article is a great start!
If you have general comments or questions about the yoga of eating, please post them below.