Should You Follow This Yoga Diet?

Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS — September 7, 2016

Food is everything

Well, at least to me. It's the first thing I think about when my feet hit the floor in the morning. To put it into perspective, I think I follow more food-based profiles than people on Instagram. 

Food is important. We need it to survive, we need it for energy to fuel our bodies, and we need it for nutrition, too. The choices we make—what we put on our plates and into our mouths—can have serious impacts on our health. Our diets can affect our mood, our energy level, our weight, the way our organs function, and our appearance (think skin, nails, and hair). 

The Yoga Diet 

Recently, I came across an article that spoke about a “yoga diet.” It claimed that this diet “may be even more important than all those down dogs.” I was intrigued. Did my diet match this acclaimed yoga diet? Was I doing it wrong? Were those down dogs in vain because I chose to have french fries after practice?
This article, from Organic Authority, spoke about time spent at an Ashram in Virginia, where those living at the Ashram ate a “classic yoga diet.” According to Organic Authority, and Sara Novak (who lived at the Ashram), “the dietary guidelines in place at the ashram are all based on the principles of what’s called a Sattvic diet, a very clean way of eating that promotes a balanced, focused, andpeaceful state.”

Reasonable Restrictions

This classic yoga diet comes, unsurprisingly to me, with its fair share of restrictions—all with their respective reasonings. 

It's first grouping of no-no's I was on board with—and they matched my diet—no meat, fish, and poultry. This aspect of the diet fell into alignment with the “8 Limbs of Yoga.” As Novak writes, “One of the yamas is called ahimsa, also known as non-violence or non-injury. In order to have love and compassion for all living beings, yogis don’t believe in eating them.” Put a big ol' vegan check mark next to this one. 
The next no no? Alcohol. While I don't drink in excess, I do enjoy the occasional glass of whiskey on a Friday night after a long week. So, strike one for me. Next up was coffee—or “excess caffeine” of any kind. I don't drink it, and avoid caffeine at all costs, so, back on the plus side. 

Two veggies that I love dearly were also deemed a no-go for being “overly stimulating,” and “disruptive.” They are said to hinder and disturb meditation practice, as well as cause people to be “more aggressive.” Both garlic and onion are not welcome in this yoga diet, but they are welcome in mine. So, strike two. 
The last two components are eggs, and over-indulging. Eggs I don't eat, so, all good. Over-indulging... That I may at one time or another be guilty of. In all diets, not just yogi diets, we have to remember that portion control is important. Maybe we can indulge in that decadent vegan flour-less cake, but in moderation. 

A Non-Yogi Diet Does Not a Bad Yogi Make

Am I a bad yogi because my diet does not align with that followed by the Ashram? In my opinion, no. Could my practice suffer because of the things that I do include in my diet? Potentially. While I have not read anywhere that eating any of the items on the 'no-no' list make you a bad yogi, they may infringe on the quality of your practice. 

When it comes to maintaining our post-yoga class glow, what we put into our mouths pre, and post-yoga might actually matter. The question of whether it actually matters more than our down dogs is yet to be determined. 

Do you follow a strict yoga diet? Let us know in the comments below. 


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