Value of Diet in Yoga Practice

Submitted by Jerry Parker on January 21, 2013
Yoga is not just a practice but also an entire philosophy that encompasses both the body and the mind. Through a series of postures or asanas, meditation, and breathing exercises derived from thousands of years ago, yoga is now a favorite form of exercise that promises stress management and disease prevention.

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However, true yoga is also a lifestyle choice that sets you off on your personal path of balance, fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment.

Yoga is all about a correct diet for the body. Combining your yoga practice with a proper diet in accordance with the principles of healthy eating and clean living can go a long way towards improving your complete well-being.


According to the ancient philosophy of yoga, there are three basic qualities to energy, they are:

  • Sattva – purity
  • Rajas – passion
  • Tamas – darkness

In much the same way, food and diet can be categorized into the same three groups – sattvic foods, rajasic foods, and tamasic foods.

Sattvic Diet

A sattvic diet consists of the purest forms of foods available. Following a sattvic diet promises fitness, nourishment and a balance of energy in the yoga practitioner. A sattvic diet consists of organic and pure foods that are rich in prana or the life force. This includes foods that are fresh or freshly prepared. Leftovers form no part of a true sattvic diet. Sattvic foods are also light and easy to digest and should be eaten mindfully and in modest portions. Typical sattvic foods are fresh fruits, organic dairy products, small portions of nuts, seeds, and oils and organic vegetables and whole grains.

Rajasic Diet

Rajasic food may over stimulate a person and upset the balance of energy in the body if consumed in large amounts. Rajasic foods have intense tastes that range from salty, sour, spicy, and bitter. Examples of rajasic foods include sour fruits such as berries or guavas, grains like millet and buckwheat, sour milk or cream, meat, fish, and chicken.

Tamasic Diet

Yoga philosophy states that tamasic foods are most dangerous to the well being of a person as it can reduce the body’s capability to fight off an infection or prevent disease. Tamasic foods can suck the energy or life force out of the body and create feelings of inertia, anger, greed, and jealousy. Tamasic foods should therefore be completely avoided. The heavy nature of tamasic foods is said to be dull and induce sleep and is detrimental to meditation and enlightenment. Examples of tamasic food are brown rice, wheat, garlic, pinto beans, beef, lamb, pork, onions, and cheese.

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