Juicing, Detoxing diets, Raw food, Vegan diet, etc…. are not in a yogic diet, so what is? and more……

This is from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:


15. Yoga is destroyed by the following six causes: Over-eating, exertion, talkativenessnot adhering to rules, i.e., cold bath in the morning, eating at night, or eating fruits only, company of women, and unsteadiness.

As a side note, exertion, as stated above, is anything that is above ones capacity. This level of maximal capacity is any exertion that makes one have to breath out the mouth or when sweat appears upon the brow or upper lip. the internal heat of the body is built to such a level that it is too much and the system tries to cool itself down by breathing out the mouth and sweating and if continued beyond this will cause an imbalance. This is ones maximal capacity. Anything above this is excessive exertion from a yogic and ayurveda lens. Building this capacity is kin to building a foundation. 


16. The following six bring speedy success:– Courage, daring, perseverance, discriminative knowledge, faith, aloofness from company.

17. The ten rules of conduct are: ahimsâ (non-injuring), truth, non-stealing, continence, forgiveness, endurance, compassion, meekness, sparing diet, and cleanliness.

A yoga eats only once a day. Yes, once. This is common knowledge in India. The over all idea of yoga is opposite to that of Western theory of creating stress to build a systems strength. In yoga, one is in a constant state of relaxing the systems of the body, not stressing them. Stressing them just puts wear and tear into the system, breaking it down. Eating many times a day only places stress upon the digestive system as well as creates distraction of the mind for meditation. You are what you put into your body. The digestion of those substances creates the health of the tissues when digested properly. The improper digestion of even the best of medicine results in only toxicity being created and diseased tissues being created. Western exercise creates stress and destroys the body by creating imbalances that are not avaible to be seen from the western lens until later when the disease has fully manifested. Ayurveda has the capacity to see the roots of the disease through causative factors and imbalances building that disease. 


59. By regular and close attention to Nâda (anâhata nâda) in Hatha Yoga, a Brahmacharisparing in diet, unattached to objects of enjoyment, and devoted to Yoga, gains success, no doubt, within a year.

Brahmacharya is celibacy. In the West we have deep difficulties with accepting this one. It is nothing less than more renunciation of things that create attachment, desires, distraction, aversions… all the things that yoga is concerned with doing away with. 


60. Restrained feeding is that in which 3/4 of hunger is satisfied with food, well cooked with ghee and sweets, and eaten with the offering of it to Siva.

I think that this proves right here that raw food and juicing is not in a yogic diet. Raw food is cold and hard to digest. More nutrient dense foods are as well. This says volumes about all the superfoods that are out there today. Much harder to digest to get the nutrients out of. In Ayurveda, doing a fast or langhana is nothing more than making the food you are eating much more digestible in either less quantity or less quality (lighter to digest, easier to digest, well cooked). Fasting is not starving oneself. This too is greatly imbalancing to the system. 

Eating 3/4 of the fill of the stomach maintains proper digestion, creating health and ease of functioning of the digestive system and the proper functioning of all the organs as all the nutrients are digested properly and fully. Eating heavy or hard to digest, too much quantity, or combining foods that will not digest like fruit and yogurt place a heavy toll on the digestive system, not all the food is digested and the rest is toxic to the body and lodges somewhere in it or creates malformed tissues (cancer) and creates disease. 


61. Bitter, sour, saltish, green vegetables, fermented, oily, mixed with sesame seed, rape  sed (canola oil), intoxicating liquors, fish, meat, curds (yogurt), chhaasa pulses, plums, oil-cake,  asafoetida (hinga), garlic, onion, etc., should not be eaten.

62. Food reheated, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor grains, and vegetables that cause burning sensation (i.e. pungent and sour vegetables like mustard greens and broccoli rabe), should not be eaten. Fire, women, travelling, etc., should be avoided.

63. As said by Goraksa, one should keep aloof from the society of the evil-minded, fire, women, traveling, early morning bath, fasting, and all kinds of bodily exertion.

There is that exertion thing again. The fact that it is repeated in a ancient sanskrit text is not a typo, the restatement is part of what is called tantra yukti. It is part of the rules to read a sanskrit text and pull out the information that is hidden in it. This repetition of it gives it importance, much importance or they would not have rewritten it. Sanskrit texts are not written linearly as we know books to be written in the West. They are brilliant in their coding and context. Notice that fasting is also repeated. not good to a yogi. Interesting with all the spiritual books written in our age promoting fasting. Fasting by water or not eating aggravates vata tremendously. Vata is responsible for all disease outset. By imbalancing it, one creates disease. Infact, most of the “instructions” pertain to conserving prana or vata and balancing it and manas, the mind. 


64. Wheat, rice, barley, shâstik (a kind of rice, not basmati!), good corns, milk, ghee, sugar, butter, sugar rock candy, honey, dried ginger, Parwal (pointed gourd, a vegetable), the five vegetables (this is from ayurveda), mung beans, pure water, these are very beneficial to those who practice Yoga.

65. A yogi should eat tonics (things giving strength), (sweet taste is strength building, no other taste is) well sweetened, greasy (made with ghee), milk butter, etc., which may increase humors of the body, according to his desire.

We are left without any context due to the fact that we do not know the context and culture of India here in the West or the food there, the way to eat properly, the way to cook properly and most importantly, the whys of it all. We have not studied the culture or understand it. It is a very different paradigm. What we are left with is people saying stuff without any authority on the subject and neophites believing it then following it and then teaching it. We do not live in a context that supports a yoga lifestyle at all in the Western culture. Do you see any context at all for a sadhu here? Nope. How do we treat homeless really? The paradigm we live in doesn’t support anything like a sadhu nor what is a real yogi. We are in a culture that is external only and we bastardize and market everything to sell and make money. What we are left with is nonsense that is the western stuff mixed in. In India, yogis only eat rice, ghee, and milk for the most part. This is common knowledge to the context in Inda and not any secret. This is why it is not needed to be gone into detail in the texts, there is a cultural context. The orthodox Brahmins eat very “orthodox” as well that way for the most part. Specifically the priests. This is actually about purity, something we also do not know about in the West. The why of all of this is the most important. It is unknown without learning ayurveda from the proper source and not the Western kind. It is also known by learning the culture as it was and not in the big citys like the hub of “Ayurveda” in India, Mumbai. It’s not found in the big modernized cities. Yoga texts do not specify the whys and hows so much because the knowledge is in the culture open and freely. They are raised with it naturally. Unfortunately, what is also true is that it is being lost in India.

Vegan is not a yogic diet, at all. Never even existed there.

The above quote is just from one of the texts, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. There are plenty more texts that have much less info and a couple that have much more. 


Yogurt (curd), as mentioned above, is sour in taste and is not in a yoga diet as well. This being said, Yoga is actually for people that are already healthy.
I am going to go off diet for a second because the topic actually calls for it. Americans are not actually healthy for so so many reasons from our basic lack of understanding our bodies to the ever changing world of nutrition and what we believe is healthy. It’s a hamster wheel, ever turning, ever putting out new fads. A yogi, they aren’t changing their diets and overdosing with “superfoods” in fear of their mortality and missing the entire picture that Ayurveda and yoga understand, it about your agni, it isn’t about what your putting in being nutrient dense. That just means it is harder to digest and when our digestive system is compromised from everything we alreay do and put into it, well…….
Here is another thing as a comparison to what a yogi would be in India. They squat to defecate. They always have. Their entire lives. Their bodies biomechanically as well as physiologically and energetically are different because of this. This is easily understood by Ayurvedic knowledge of pranas. Westerners sit all the time in chairs and even defecate using another porcelain chair. Our bodies do not move the same as our bowels do not expel because of this. The insides function poorly in comparison and our energy is in our heads. Apana vayu does not flow the same as someone that lives an Indian lifestyle. So the newest thing is to have a step to squat at the toilet instead, yet that only lifts the legs up and the person is still sitting on the toilet with all of the body relaxing when what would be contracting to hold you in a squat also helps the bowel movement to release. Then we sit again. Think that doing one thing is gonna change the entire functionality of the rest of the day? Have any doubt about this? Ask 30 Westerners that call themselves yogis to squat to their heels and hang out there comfortably for ten minutes. See what you come up with. Bottomline is the western lifestyle that we all have lived is amazingly different in so many ways and we are amazingly diseased already from the eyes of Ayurveda and yoga, we just do not have this knowledge because yoga is western exercise based and not actually even asana. This is not to bash modern yoga, its fine, for the masses. Its just not the real thing, at all.

This understanding yoga deeper through Ayurveda is seen in instance of the shatkarmas of yoga and the panchakarma of ayurveda. Vamana (therapeutic vomiting) is given in detail in ayurveda with a ton of detail as to how, when, why and the details of the individual included. In yoga, you have Vamana or kunjal kriya as well but it is extremely general. The texts of yoga do not give the whys, when, and just one way of doing it with little detail. Swallow salt water and vomit it back up. This would be detrimental to someone doing it that should not be. It is used to balance kapha and only someone that has a kapha imbalance should be doing it. Say a vata imbalanced person does it. They will vitiate vata even more. More so, in the ayurvedic texts, the least of the ways of doing vamana for a basically healthy person, is nothing more than the same technique given in the yogic texts, using salt water and vomiting it back out. This proves that only a healthy person should be doing the shatkarmas of yoga. This is actually very serious stuff. You can and will cause serious damage and disease by doing things in yoga without deep knowledge and doing them with ignorance. 

A yogic diet is simple, it is rice, ghee and milk. Few other things are added. This is the basic foundation. Only in Western theory are we worried about macronutrient and micronutrients. Yoga is not. 


13 thoughts on “Juicing, Detoxing diets, Raw food, Vegan diet, etc…. are not in a yogic diet, so what is? and more……

  1. I have appreciated your articles very much; they have helped me in my considerations of yoga and ayurveda as a science and a way of life. Alas, when it comes to the diet my principles regarding the use of animals for food creates a conflict.

    My interpretation of ahimsa carries over to animals so even to take the milk from a cow that is meant for her own calf is immoral to me – injurious to the cow and calf because their natural bond is cruelly disrupted in order for the milk to be available for human consumption.

    In a past article about ghee you spoke of “properties” within food that made them appropriate from the perspective of ayurveda. If I remember correctly you said that coconut oil had equivalent properties to ghee, yet it is, of course derived from a plant. Is it really not possible to create a compatible diet of plants only?

    I cannot rationalize the consumption of animal products.

    In another post it was said the eating a small amount of meat might be the thing that saves someone’s life, but that assumes that the human life has more value than the animal life and to keep the human alive is worth the loss of the animal life.

    This idea also places great attachment for us to our bodies and minds. Are we not aiming to liberate ourselves from that?


    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you so much for your comment and question.

      Nonviolence can extend very far. I would use the example of Jains that wear the masks over their faces so not to inhale any insects or small bugs. If you are going to take it this far you must also take it to the point where you cannot step on the ground due to the fact that you are going to kill some kind of life doing so. And if we are going to take it that far we must go all the way with realizing that there is more inside of our bodies that is not us than there is us. Lots of it harmful and or deadly if our of balance. Just by eating yogurt we will kill off bad bacteria which is still taking life isn’t it?

      Where do you draw the line?

      If a dog or a wild animal was to attack me or another person and I was to be there, I would kill it if I needed to. There is common sense and then there is taking all of this to a place where it loses its context.

      In India, cows are treated very well. They wander freely and are considered holy as they are the symbol of dana. They give everything with nothing asked for in return. Their milk has been used for as far back as history goes and they are not treated like we do in the US by keeping the calf close so that the milk is produced. Yes, the US does everything backwards without much consciousness to anything at all. It is just how we are. Even all this “green” and “environmental” stuff is mainly just a way to make more money. Consumerism is the way of life.

      Everything needs to be taken in context. Otherwise our understanding and then our actions are out of context.

      There are meats of many animals used in Ayurveda for the health of a human being. The difference between humans and animals is that we are conscious of our consciousness which brings about a responsibility to evolve and grow by living in the highest context possible. This pertains to karma and dharma. But even in the Bhagavad Gita there is war. Lots of it in the Mahabharta And even lies and trickery by devas and even Indra from other texts like Bhagavatam and the Puranas.

      People ask me if I am a vegan or a vegetarian. I say no, I am healthy. This pertains to the mind and body. If I must eat an animal, I will. I offer it to god first of course. No where in any of the texts does it say to commit violence to yourself because you don’t want to commit violence to another. This would be considered a higher violence and I can see from a JudeoChristian or Catholic background how this thought comes into being okay but from a yogic lens or Ayurveda it would be considered an imbalance in manas or the mind.

      Did you know there are many McDonalds in India? Did you know that they serve lentil veggie burgers instead of hamburgers? The Hindus eating there don’t even have a clue that they are supporting one of the largest corporations that are responsible for the slaughter the most cows per year.

      I think that your drinking milk is a much less crime or sin than their actions in ignorance.

      The ghee question.
      I do not believe that I have said anywhere that coconut and ghee are similar. They are not at all. Coconut is heavy, hard to digest and cold. Ghee is light and is a digestive, coconut is not. There is no trading coconut for ghee. Just as there is no using coconut oil on the skin compared to sesame oil but you will find all kinds of pseudo Ayurvedic practitioners using coconut oil due to whatever reason, most likely because they use coconut oil in Kerala and Southern India. It is much hotter there though all year around. Sesame oil is also sukshma or subtle and gets deep in the body where coconut sits on the skin. Try it for yourself. Coconut is doing the same on the inside of the body as well. No trade offs here.

      I totally respect your decisions of how to live your own life but how do the decisions you are making create more conflict or not? Is creating conflict in the mind a more harmful action than standing in a place of ethics and morals that are in context with educated choices? Is a tiger supposed to eat asparagus? Nature is polarity. Nature is violent.

      Hope some of this helps.

    • Sorry, missed the last question.

      I think one of the biggest misconceptions that i see in all of the spirituality stuff here in the West is that we are to bypass the body and mind and the more eastern lifestyles are taken as dogmas, that is believing without understanding them. You are of this earth it means that you are material. You must eat. The food we eat and stuff we put into us makes up what we are and how our mind functions. To think that intention does enough or more is pretty absurd. One of my teachers said to me once, “All of you Americans just wanna go up, up, up, but you don’t have anything sorted out on the earthly plane. All you have to do is take care of things on this plane and everything else falls into place.” I have found this quoted in many texts over the years as well in different ways but of the same meaning. Take care of the body and the mind is healthy, from there the spirit can thrive. There is no happiness if one is diseased.

      The other thing I might add is that in this day and age there are a lot of people that well ……..I always think of the line from the Gita says it very clearly about how thousands of men who seek God, but only a few put in some effort. Out of those thousands only a few really yearn, and so on. It seems like it is just how it goes with regards to anything. There are some people who really want to master something and actually can, then there are the vast majority of others who copy or just don’t get it all or make stuff up around it to suit their own fragile box o safety. Whether it be music, writing, teaching- whatever ….it’s lonelier the more serious you get. So there are all kinds of levels and a whole lotta paths, they don’t all go to the same place and they are not equal at all. It is really naive’ to say that and pretty ignorant of knowledge of different paths as well.
      In all of this, one must make choices. Veda means knowledge and it is vast and endless but the more you know the clearer things are.

      I believe that overcoming the perceptions and paradigms of the mind is the function of all of this and evolving as a human being through many lives. I do not see in any of the paths that I have studied that there is any use to by passing the physical except to accrue more karma to repeat either in this life or the next.

    • Hi Donna,
      As usual I have so much to say on your wonderful question.

      The word ahimsa comes from an ancient language that is from a culture that has incredible depth of wisdom in so many living sciences. They for the most part are vegetarian yet the use of animal products is also in the culture. Milking a cow and using its milk is from that culture as well. This is a culture that has more respect for life of all kinds than any other culture that I have ever heard of or studied. They hold the cow in reverence yet they use the milk freely. They don’t find any violence in it what so ever. As I said before, the cows there are respected and well taken care of.

      Another point I would have to say on violence is that is it not violent to oneself to harm oneself by eating no beneficial foods or food combinations even if the choices are made out of ignorance? I am at a retreat facility right now and one of the workers last night around 8:30 made a smoothie for dinner. She put a banana in the blender followed by peanut butter and milk. Little does she know the violence she is doing to her self as that mixture is beyond toxic but completely indigestible as well. She lives at a Buddhist retreat center that is focused on mindfulness yet she has no feeling or understanding of how the stuff she puts into her system should make her feel. Quite the obvious example of violence to oneself and the escape of the psyche from the body in that trauma. Yet, as I walk this earth, I see this everywhere.
      If one is being violent towards them self then they will have violence towards others. Bottom line.

      So I applaud your desire to do not harm in anyway. The most important step is with oneself.

      If one is feeding them-self healthy and digesting properly, their mind will function properly as well. On the other side of it, have you ever been constipated? How does it make you act or think? When one is doing violent acts to them-self they will not have the health of mind to not do violence in the world. Doesn’t work the other way.
      The health of ones system of mind body is going to make them of the mindset to not be violent in the world.

      Also, are plants not alive? Are they not conscious? If you hook them up to a lie detector and act as if you are going to be violent or even just yell at them they react. This is scientific research that has been done. Can search for it on the net. So by eating vegetables and plants are we not being just as violent?

  2. Thank you for this wonderful article.
    Can you mention the 5 vegetables that a yogi can take?
    Also,isn’t wheat heavy food and an aphrodasiac?I thought it makes body very strong so it would be tougher to control the senses and hence would not be great for yoga.Can you explain this?
    Also can butter and buttermilk be regularly consumed?
    My regular diet is pretty similar.Its gomutra ark+honey in the morning then basic kitchari as breakfast and just before sunset milk+ghee+haldi.
    I was thinking of replacing the dahl in the kitchari and use buttermilk and butter.

    • it is answered in the same question you asked on “Foods injurious to a Yogi or Yogini”

      Except honey old rice and shastika types of rice, barley and wheat, all diets of sweet tasting substances generally aggravate Kapha.
      Wheat Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27.10
      Sandhanakrut – joins the ends (as in wound healing, fracture healing), Vatahara – balances Vata, Svadhu sheetala – Sweet, cold in potency, Jeevana – invigorating, Brumhana – nourishing Vrushya – aphrodisiac, Snigdha – unctuous, oily Sthairyakrut – stabilizing and Guru – heavy to digest. Charaka Sahmita Sutrasthana 27.21-22
      Yes wheat is healthy and builds tissues. You do not need to worry about its vrushya qualities. I think you take things a little to far out there with all your ideas. Work on bringing your vata down. Buttermilk is great.

    • Thank you.Buttermilk with rock salt and mishri is good for vata right?
      One very amazing thing I learnt from your blog is that fruits,vegetables or dry fruits are not really necessary.Thank you very much.

    • It can be. Stick with basic fundamental ingredients. Don’t put dahl into this and call it buttermilk. The ingredients change as per the persons balance/roga. Also it changed with the seasons.

    • Depends on where you are and what you are buying. In Indian stores they have old rice. I personally would buy two bags and always left one put away. Old rice is considered older that 6 months.

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