24 Oct Mitaahara (According to Hatha Yoga)
‘Jaisa anna, waisa manna’ – We are what we eat.
A very simple saying, yet we fail to understand it. Food (Aahar) is one of the most essential parts of our life that helps keep the body, hale, and hearty. However, eating the right food and in the right moderation is very important! It’s no hidden fact that our body depends on three sources of energy for survival, namely – air, food, and water. Out of these, let’s talk about food today.
Do we Eat to Live or Live to Eat?
Now that’s a basic question that’ll make you think about your food choices!
We splurge on buffets and eat till our heart is content, thus making sure it was worth every penny. But, putting this pressure on our digestive system worth it? Are junk and leftover food items more important than your health? The answer is no, as it is nothing but Tamasic food for us!
Then, what type of Aahar or Food should we consume?
Hatha Yoga suggests that our food should be fresh, light and pleasant to eat.
We should avoid overeating at all costs and here’s a simple routine you can follow to nourish your body justly:
- Consume solid food that would fill up only half of the stomach.
- One-quarter of the stomach should be for water.
And the remaining one quarter must be left empty for the gases and air to freely move around. This method is known as Mitaahara that is eating in moderation.
This accurately answers the first question that we shouldn’t live to eat, but eat to live! We should realize that we are eating to nourish our body and the food that we consume is fuel for the body, and not to gratify the senses.
A person’s diet should be bland and simple as any highly concentrated food item may lead to acidity. This includes spicy, greasy or stale food. However, let’s learn to be self-reliant and make arrangements to make the food delicious yet pleasant to eat.
What kind of Food should we avoid?
- We must avoid all those food items that are heavy to digest as it might lead to a Tamasic state. Instead, the food should be light and Sattvik.
- A person should also avoid non-vegetarian food as it is heavy to digest and creates toxins in the intestines.
- Other than the food, one should not consume alcohol as well. Not because it intoxicates the mind, but more for the reason that it kills the liver and brain cells.
- Reheating the food repeatedly should be avoided too as it creates fermentation in the stomach. And last but not least one must avoid deep-fried food items.
What should we keep in mind before eating Food?
Avoid eating when the mind is disturbed as we end up over or under eating! Also, we tend to binge eat when we are bored. We even turn to food for comfort when we are angry or frustrated and end up over-eating. And when we are sad or low, we just don’t feel like eating! Yes, emotions play a vital role when it comes to our food habits.
Hence, food should be consumed in silence, so you can enjoy every morsel. Your mind, body, and soul should be at rest to take in the nourishment. You should thank God for giving you the food, thank the cook for making it for you and be very blissful and positive while eating your food.
Should we eat more to nourish the body?
This is a common misconception that people have. Believe it or not, but we need very little food. Eating in large quantities to get strength is a mistaken belief as a lot of it won’t get absorbed by the body, and it would just throw it out, undigested. This is one of the root causes of diseases and that is why one must always remember – Quality over quantity!
Some tips to get the most out of your food:
- Chew your food well. The more saliva we secrete, the more digestive it becomes.
- Avoid consuming water during and after your meal as it will extinguish the digestive fire.
- Avoid ‘anytime food’ habit and stick to a proper routine, so that your body knows when to start releasing the digestive juices.
- Also, listen to your body. If the body doesn’t demand food, there’s no need to force-feed it.
- Don’t just eat food, enjoy it thoroughly.
- Be present at the moment and peaceful while eating your food.
Let’s not forget, our body builds on the food we provide it and we’ll be healthy on the outside only if we are healthy internally. And, moderation is the key when it comes to food (Aahar). So respect your body and make it your mantra to eat well and to live well.