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, talkativeness, not 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 Brahmachari, sparing 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.