It’s no secret that Kundalini Yoga is a transformative blend of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that offers us an elevated way of living. While we stretch, breath, and chant our way to higher consciousness, many of us find ourselves looking for additional ways to incorporate the teachings into all aspects of our lives, including our diets. What and how we eat can enhance our journey of awareness and increase our vitality along the way.
Yogi Bhajan said it best: “The physical body is a temple. Take care of it. The mind is energy. Regulate it. The soul is the projection. Represent it. All knowledge is false if the soul is not experienced in the body.”
The Yogic Diet and Food Categories
We need food to survive, and it’s important to our overall wellbeing. We strive to make healthy choices. While cutting back on desserts and processed foods are i a great start, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and grains can support your body, mind, and Kundalini Yoga practice.
Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to embrace a diet including whole, simple, and fresh foods, void of meats and eggs. He suggested a person can get enough protein by eating the right combination of veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, and grains. According to Yogi Bhajan, you can enjoy dairy in moderation, because it increases mucous, which is beneficial to many yogic breathing exercises, especially Breath of Fire.
Yogic vegetarians believe this style of eating can lead to increased energy without causing a feeling of heaviness. Fats and meats are harder to process and, without them in our diets, we experience better digestion and metabolism.
Yogic food can be broken down into three main groups. Followers who want to focus on gracefulness, peacefulness, discipline, intuition, or be more sensitive should enjoy a more sattvic diet. For people who live an active or demanding lifestyle, but still want to enjoy mindfulness, they should consider a combination of sattvic and rajasic foods. Yoga experts strongly suggest avoiding the tamasic foods for all lifestyles. For those of us who embrace disciplines that are demanding, like Kundalini Yoga, we need a combination of rajasic and sattvic foods.
3 Main Yogic Food Groups
- Sattvic. Sattvic foods include vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains. These foods are used to help find clarity and lightness.
- Rajasic. Foods in this group promote willpower and forcefulness with stimulating herbs and spices like hot peppers, salt, and coffee.
- Tamasic. These foods are typically associated with impulsivity, dullness, or anger. Meat, fish, alcohol, and eggs are part of this group.
6 Easy Yogic Diet Tips for Beginners
Eating healthy whole foods is a beautiful starting point, but it’s often easier said than done. Allow yourself time to create your new path. And aside from what you eat, how you eat makes a big difference too. To support you on your new yogic food journey, here are some tips that you can begin implementing today.
- Take time to bless food. Before eating, take a few moments to relax and close your eyes to spiritually acknowledge the food’s blessing of energy. Yogi Bhajan said it best with these wise words, “The attitude of gratitude is the highest Yoga.”
- Avoid distractions during meals. Turn off the television and put your phone on silent so you can focus on your food. Yogi Bhajan often recommended that women should eat carefully and lightly to maintain a balance between their emotions, physicality, and well-being.
- Skip the sugar. Sugar was likened to poison by Yogi Bhajan, and it can wreak havoc on your body, especially when it sneaks into meals you wouldn’t expect. Seek naturally sweet fruits, and avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Keep it simple. In the beginning, look for whole foods that pack a strong vitamin and mineral punch. Have fun. Choose veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains that are easy to prepare and store. In his book Foods for Health and Healing, Yogi Bhajan has a variety of recipes to stay healthy with simple delicious food.
- Eat slowly. While eating, take time to chew properly. Use this time to meditate. Research is finding that more chewing will extend meal times, which supports digestion and weight maintenance. In a lecture in which Yogi Bhajan discussed the mindful eating practice Bhoj Kriya, he said, “If you do not mix saliva in every morsel of your food, you are eating poison.”
- Follow a meal with meditation. After eating, sit and reflect on digesting your food into energy. Yogi Bhajan also recommended taking a short 11-minute nap on your right side to aid with food digestion. If a nap isn’t feasible, sit in Rock Pose or enjoy a hot cup of Yogi tea.