What Is A Yoga Diet? Here Are 7 Things To Look For

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When yogis are looking for ways to incorporate yogic principles into their lives, they often turn to diet to learn how to adjust their lifestyles—for yogis, when they want to make changes to their routines, This is a great place to start.

If you have a solid asana practice, chances are you’ve incorporated some yogic dietary guidelines into your life, even if you don’t realize it. Yoga has been found to promote healthy eating and more mindful eating habits. Yoga practitioners typically eat more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, and more vegetarians.

While these habits are part of the diet, a true yogic diet requires you to follow more specific guidelines that you need to know. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what a yoga-guided diet really means. The following guidelines can help you determine exactly what changes you can make to practice and embrace a more yogic diet.

Increase Nutritious Foods

Increase Nutritious Foods

The Ayurvedic tradition outlines three main qualities found in nature, also known as gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. Tamas are defined as heaviness and darkness that dull the mind. It has to do with attachment and ignorance. Rajas is the quality of activity and transformation but causes the mind to become restless and causes lack of stability. Finally, Sattva is a state of harmony and balance that brings clarity of mind.

These qualities ebb and flow in our lives, but we can take steps to work towards living a healthy life. One of the most important measures is to adapt your diet to Gunas. Each quality is associated with specific foods that tell us how those foods affect our body and mind.

Rajasic foods include:

  1. Spicy food
  2. caffeine
  3. sugary food
  4. chocolate
  5. onion and garlic
  6. Fried food

A high tamasic diet is characterized by overeating and the consumption of any of the following:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Meat
  3. fish
  4. poultry
  5. Egg
  6. heavily processed food
  7. reheated and stale food

Sattvic foods include:

  1. fresh fruits
  2. vegetables, especially dark leafy greens
  3. whole wheat
  4. Nuts, Seeds & Legumes
  5. honey and molasses
  6. herbal tea
  7. Basil, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, mint, turmeric, cumin, coriander and fennel
  8. Cold-pressed vegetable oils (olive, sesame, flaxseed, sunflower)
  9. Dairy products, provided they are freshly sourced and the animals supplying the product have been handled with care

It’s important to note that while you may want to focus primarily on sattvic foods, you can still include rajasic foods in your typical diet while limiting or completely eliminating the amount of tamasic foods. Finding the balance that works for your body and mind is essential.

consider the timing

consider the timing

The timing of your meals is just as important as the quality of the food you put in your body. Eating food around the same time each day helps your body maintain your weight, cholesterol and insulin levels.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to fast two hours before asana practice (or any other physical activity you engage in), and allow enough time between your last meal of the day and bedtime—ideally three to four hours.

Bringing Mindfulness to the Dinner Table

Bringing Mindfulness to the Dinner Table

Yogis bring mindfulness to their mats, so it makes sense that the same principle would apply to diet. When you eat, pay attention to what you eat and how it is good for you. Mindless eating can drastically reduce our overall health, so make sure you only eat what you really need to keep you full, satisfied and energized.

Mindfulness practice shouldn’t just apply to eating—it’s important to bring this awareness throughout the meal preparation process. When shopping for groceries, be aware of what you’re buying, where it comes from, and whether it’s sustainably produced. Also, make sure you make smart choices that nourish and energize you, rather than negatively impact your physical and mental health. Focus on the task at hand when preparing meals instead of cooking or letting your mind wander while watching TV.



The Sanskrit word ahimsa means non-violence and kindness towards all living beings, which Swami Kriyananda describes as follows:

“Ahimsa, rightly understood, is the ultimate weapon; it turns an enemy into a friend, thereby eliminating the possibility of further conflict. In the practice of yoga, it is important to understand that the same life flows through the veins of all living beings.”

If you look at the list of gunas and their foods above, you will see that the sattvic diet does not include meat. A true yogic diet follows the principle of ahimsa, which means that the devotee no longer wishes to cause violence or suffering to all beings in the world by eating meat.

Apart from being in tune with Ahimsa, there are many benefits to going vegetarian. Vegetarian food has been found to prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes, and more.

Switching to a vegetarian diet can be difficult—many people worry about not getting enough protein or iron. However, as long as you make conscious and informed food choices, you can ensure you are getting the right nutrients while

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