Teaching Hatha Yoga – Are You Eating Correctly?

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Teaching Hatha Yoga – Are You Eating Correctly?

500 hour online yoga certification programBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

How can we make our Yoga students aware of the need to be moderate in their eating? Many Indians, who move to North America and Europe, find the diet to be much different than we were exposed to in India. The people, in northern areas, have been eating meat for thousands of years – especially during the cold seasons.

This diet has been programmed into northern cultures, because this is how primal man survived during hard winters with permafrost. In the northern climates, you can break a shovel trying to dig for root crops in the winter. As humans in northern climates became more knowledgeable, they transferred root crops to root cellars in the fall season.

At the time of this writing, not many people go through so much trouble to grow and store vegetables. Processed foods are a way of life for many people. According to Yogic philosophy, as described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, “bitter, sour, hot, green vegetables….Food heated again, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor grains, and vegetables that cause burning sensation, should not be eaten.”

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika goes on to say that “Wheat, rice, barley….dried ginger….pure water, these are very beneficial to those who practice Yoga. A Yogi should eat tonics

[things giving strength]….milk, butter….according to his desires.”

According to the Gheranda Samhita: “He who practices Yoga, without moderation of diet, incurs various diseases, and obtains no success. A Yogin should eat rice, barley…Masa beans…These should be clean, white, and free from chaff. A Yogin may eat patola…cucumber…medicinal roots and fruits.

The Siva Samhita gives similar dietary advice, as well as lifestyle recommendations. However, before we go further – these ancient Yogic writings offer guidelines, which may be hard to find outside the Asian continent. The diet depends on the sources available in the area where you live.

Purity of food, moderation in consumption, and vegetarian life styles are more important factors, when considering a holistic diet for longevity. In the words of my Guru, Paulji: “Moderation is the primary key to a healthy diet.” He has stated more than once that all foods, no matter how good, can be over consumed.

As Yoga teachers, we learn that air and water are prime foods for survival. Yet, you can over consume air, which is called hyperventilation. When you over consume air, you become dizzy, light headed, experience blurred vision, and could possibly faint.

If you drink too much water, you could possibly have a stroke. Sometimes, over consumption of water is called hyper-hydration, which can change the normal balance of electrolytes in the body. Hyper-hydration is dangerous and potentially fatal.

My final point is that moderation is the cornerstone of every facet in life. We must give our Yoga students the tools to succeed in complete well being. Maybe they will not stop eating meat today, but the global awareness level, about the dangers of eating tamasic foods, will help all people become moderate in their eating habits.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

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