According to yogasastra, food is classified into three kinds Tamasik (which promotes darkness), Rajasik (promotes passion) and Sathwik (promotes goodness). Person are also categorized in accordance with the above food classification.
Food plays an important role in meditation. Different foods produce different effect on different components of the brain. Food is only a mass of energy. Water and air also supply energy to the body. You can live without food for several days; but you cannot live without air even for a few minutes. Oxygen is even more important. What is wanted to feed the body is energy. If you can supply this energy by any other means, you can entirely dispense with food.
An appreciable knowledge of the science of dietetics is essential for everybody, especially for spiritual aspirants, to keep up physical efficiency and good health. Aspirants should be able to make out a cheap and well-balanced diet from only a certain articles of diet. What is needed is a well-balance diet is not a rich diet. A rich diet produce diseases of the liver, kidneys and pancreas.
Whatever we eat is directly relayed with our soul. According to Yogic lifestyle it is believed that food is creator of prana i.e. life force and sustains our bodies and brings health and vitality. So we need to choose the types of foods as it reflect what we eat and how we behave and the level of our consciousness and spiritual development. Yogic diet refers to strict pure (ethical) vegetarian diet, which facilitates the development of sattva. Sattva refers to love, connection, awareness and peace in this universe and without the harmony in the universe it is believed that the whole universe will suffer and
There are three kinds of diet referring in as yogic diet and they are Sattvic diet, Rajasic diet and Tamasic diet. Milk, barely, wholegrain, wheat, cereals, clarified butter, cheese, tomatoes, honey, dates, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, almonds and sugar-candy are all Sattvic foodstuffs. These foods render the mind and make it calm. Rich food with oil, non vegetarian like white meat, red meat, eggs, meat, excessive salt, chillies and asafoetida are Rajasic foodstuffs. They excite passion. Beef, wine, alcoholic drink garlic, onions and tobacco are Tamasic foodstuffs. They fill the mind with anger, darkness and inertia.
SATHVIKA FOOD is fresh, whole, natural and light. They are not overcooked and so they produce a calm alertness and stabe energy. Sathvik food produce healthy appetite, mental and physical stamina and results in sound health and happiness. They are good for the integral development of the body, mind and spirit. In order to keep a harmonious balance of energy, vegetarian items of food such as grain, fruits, vegetable, leaves, root and nuts should be consumed. Sathvika food helps us to control our mind and leads us to spiritual enlightenment. This food eaten by yogic
Example:- milk, barely wheat, cereals, butter, cheese, tomatoes, honey, dates, fruits, almonds and sugar-candy are all Sathvik foodstuff.
RAJASIK FOOD is bitter, sour, salty , pungent and dry. Drinks like coffee and tea stimulate the nervous system and make the person more active and energetic. This food is meant for those who undertake hard labour. As this food is meant for those who undertake hard labour. As this food supplies just physical energy devoid of the finer qualities of life, it is not fit for yogis. Rajasik food is eaten by Kings. Example:- fish, egg, salt, chillies and asafetida are rajasik foodstuffs. They exite passion.
Tamasic Food is stale or rotten with the energy gone out of it. It is a kind of food that has lost its vitality. It creates a feeling of heaviness and lethargy. It causes obesity (excessive fat) and arthritis. This food produce tamas in our body.
Example: – Beef, garlic, wine, onion, and tobacco are Tamasik foodstuffs. They fill the mind with anger, darkness and inertia.
A yogic diet when combined with yoga asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation can resultant to a healthy life and will keep the mind calm and pure and will help the yogi in his practices and in the attainment of the goal of life.