Five Types of Yoga and Ayurvedic Foods
The 5 Best Yoga and Ayurvedic Foods for health, weight loss, immunity, and to overcome insomnia are discussed. The five best sattvic foods, rajasic foods, and tamasic foods are discussed. Traditionally, in Yoga, Ayurveda and Bhagavad Gita all foods are classified primarily in three groups: Sattvic food (pure food), Rajasic food (stimulating food) and Tamasic food (impure and rotten food).
However, in our ancient Ray Ayurveda and yoga system, the Rajasic foods are also further classified into three more groups: Sattvic-Rajasic food, Madhyam-Rajasic and Rajasic-Tamasic foods. The five energy bodies physical body, mental body, vital energy body, intellectual body and the bliss body are effected by the type of foods.
They are also called Uttam-Rajasic, Madhyam-Rajasic and Nimna-Rajasic foods. These five groups of foods are associated with the 72000 nadis and the 114 chakras in different ways. A sattvic diet is good for developing fearlessness, joy, happiness, focus, concentration, mental clarity, mental strength, compassion and higher spirituality.
Rajasic foods are good for resilience, physical strength, and to bring dynamism in life. However, excessive Rajasic foods can lead to restlessness and an overactive mind and can make people selfish and manipulative. Tamasic foods are the foods that are unhealthy for both body and mind. They bring inner darkness and confusions in mind.
Sattvic-Rajasic foods are a well-planned balanced vegetarian diet, which reduces risk of chronic diseases, support weight loss and improve spirituality and overall quality of life. It is about 60 percent sattvic food and 40 percent Rajasic foods like Green tea, Amla, Yogurt, Dark Chocolates, Kale, Cherries, Blueberries, Broccoli etc. to give alertness, strength, stamina and immunity to life.
Amino acids, are the building blocks of the proteins in our body. There are about 20 common amino acids, out of which 11 are created by the body and nine of them are to be supplied from outside. These 9 amino acids are are commonly called the essential amino acids.
Sattvic-Rajasic foods are a well-planned vegetarian diet to cover the daily requirements of the nine essential amino acids and the daily requirements of the vitamins, and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Some plant products, such as soy beans, hemp seeds, nuts, lentils, and quinoa, are complete proteins, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need. Common Sattvic-Rajasic foods incudes:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, melons, pears, peaches
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots
- Grains: Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, rice, oats
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts
- Seeds: Flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocados
- Proteins: milk, beans, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, spirulina, probiotics, other dairy products
Food and Personalities
The type of food one eats, makes their health and personality. The food people eat influences not only their physical health but also their tranquility, resilience, clarity of mind, mental strength and the focusing power. The Chhāndogya Upaniṣhad explains that the coarsest part of the food people eat passes out as feces; the subtler part becomes flesh; and the subtlest part becomes the mind (6.5.1).
It is also stated there that the water we drink also gets divided into three parts. The major part becomes urine, the middle part becomes blood and the subtle part nourishes our life force or prana. Again, it states: “By eating pure food, the mind becomes pure.” The reverse is also true—people with pure minds prefer pure foods. Sattvic personalities sleep about 5 to 6.5 hours a night.
Cow Milk: Desi Cow Milk vs Jersey Cow Milk
The heart of Sattvic food is cow milk and the cow milk based products. However, all cow milks are not sattvic food. Technically, only a special group of desi cow milk are considered as sattvic food because they have the special capacity to absorb the healing sun energy through their hump. All desi cows are not sattvic cow and all A2 milks are not sattvic milk.
The are many difference between sattvic cow and non-sattvic cow. However the five key features of a sattvic cow are as follows:
- High hump/dewlap
- Long flap of skin beneath the neck
- Horns upwards
- White color
- Non-aggressive and caring in nature.
Suryaketu Nadi of Sattvic Cow
The humped cows have suryaketu nadi (energy channel) passing through hump which absorbs all cosmic healing energies. The Suryaketu nadi transfer the healing energy to the milk, urine, and dung. The Panchagavya consists of five products of sattvic cow or suryaketu nadi activated cow. They are cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd, and ghee. Each of them have special ayurvedic and yoga use. For example, the sattvic cow dung are burns to remove the negative energies from the environment and life.
In my childhood, there was always a suryaketu nadi activated white-milky-cow in our home and those cows were always considered as auspicious. Suryaketu nadi activation was a very special ceremony. The Suryaketu rituals were performed by feeding the cow with nine special herbs before taking the first milk. The best grains were fed to the cow. Unfortunately, those things are now forgotten story in India.
Sattvic food – The Pure Food
The word sattvic means “pure essence,” and sattvic foods are thought to be pure and balanced, offering feelings of calmness, happiness, and mental clarity. Foods in the mode of goodness are pure, illuminating, and serene, and create a sense of happiness and satisfaction. Such foods promote longevity and bestow good health, virtue, happiness, and satisfaction.
They are juicy, naturally tasteful, mild, and beneficial. These include grains, pulses, beans, fruits, vegetables, milk, and other vegetarian foods. Hence, a vegetarian diet is beneficial for cultivating the qualities of the mode of goodness that are conducive for spiritual life.
The Sattvic foods include:
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Warm milk and ghee.
3. Whole grains, nuts, dates, and legumes.
4. Natural honey.
5. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, basil, coriander, ginger, turmeric.
6. Rice, barley, wheat
Rajasic food – The Stimulating Food
Rajasic food are described as overly stimulating. When vegetarian foods are cooked with excessive chilies, sugar, salt, etc. they become rajasic food. Such foods are very bitter, very sour, very salty, very hot, very pungent, very dry, very spicy, etc. They produce ill-health, agitation, and despair. Persons in the mode of passion find such foods attractive, but those in the mode of goodness find them disgusting.
- Chilies and pepper
- Tea and coffee
- Onion and garlic
- Refined sugar
- Lentils those are red in colour.
- Red meat, fish.
Tamasic food – The impure and rotten Food
Tamasic foods are all the unhealthiest foods. Cooked foods that have remained for more than three hours are classified in the mode of ignorance. Foods that are impure, have bad taste, or possess foul smells come in the same category. Impure foods also include all kinds of meat products. Tamasic foods include fried and frozen foods, fast foods, microwaved foods, processed foods, left overnight foods, meat, fish, eggs, onion, alcohol, etc. They are good for slowing you down, numbing you, depressing you and enhancing inertia.
How to Eat
According to Ayurveda, every food has its own taste (Rasa), a heating or cooling energy (virya) and a post-digest effects (vipaka). When foods having different tastes, energy and post digest effects are combined, it creates confusion to our digestive systems and results in the production of toxins and other imbalances.
In a traditional Sattvic food, it is common principle to avoid eating anything before sunrise and after sunset. One should eat the proper quantity of food at the proper time by sitting on a raised platform. After meals, we should sit comfortably like a king and then have a short walk.
On eating, first, we should take a sweet taste, then salt and sour tastes and then pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. Sweet taste helps to overcome vayu in the stomach in a hungry person; salt and sour tastes stimulate the digestive fire; and the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes taken in the end subdues kapha dosha.
We have discussed the five types of Yoga and Ayurveda foods. We focus on the Sattvic-Rajasic foods. They are a well-planned balanced vegetarian diet, which reduces risk of chronic diseases, support weight loss and improve spirituality and overall quality of life. It is about 60 percent sattvic food and 40 percent Rajasic foods. One should avoid the Tamasic foods and excessive Rajasic foods for happy living.