General Health

How Can the Right Diet Improve the Yoga Practice?

For Indians, yoga is not new. It is our ancient philosophy and practice to attain healthy wellbeing that was designed by our ancestors to establish a union of body, mind, and soul. Initially, it came into existence to only maintain physical activity. In today’s gadget-loaded fast world, yoga has obtained a new stance as a tool to heal the round-the-clock super-active mind.

Every year world yoga day (21st June) makes us remember the importance of yoga in our life. We all gear up for the same and with 101% hyper enthusiasm and dedication, we start planning asanas on our yoga mat. After an extraordinary start, in the following weeks, there is a sudden reduction in this positive momentum and slowly we stop making efforts. It is not always due to laziness but sometimes our nutritional status does not support the ongoing strict yoga practice and leads to diminishing healthy outcomes.

How are nutrition and yoga interlinked?

Both work better together and complete each other. A healthy dietary pattern and regular yoga practice amplify the overall quality of life by augmenting digestion, incorporating stable calm mindfulness, and detoxification. Eating a well-balanced diet naturally brings balance to the mind and body and makes yoga practice more efficacious. It is important to incorporate the right nutrition with the daily yoga practice to convert nutrition into greater energy and liveliness.

How does food affect yoga?

A balanced diet has a crucial connection with the mental state because the mind is formed from the essence of food nutrients. Food consumed affects thoughts and moods. Absorbed vibrations of food also produce psychological changes. Unhealthy food stimulates negative or gross and lethargic states like anger, irritability, and depression. Healthy foods provoke positive emotions like concentration, calmness, and peace.

Therefore, the type of food consumed will indirectly influence the vibratory state of the mind and body especially while practicing yoga. A routine healthy diet intake can act as a second-line treatment along with the medications and yoga to recover the normal state of the body after disease.

Nutrition cautions to follow before yoga
  • Yoga consists of various asana and includes being in downward and several positions that put pressure on the stomach organs
  • Eating a heavy meal before yoga may cause discomfort and constipation as food gets pushed up during moves
  • Consuming no food before yoga causes mood swings due to hunger. Also, low blood sugar does not support a fruitful yoga practice
  • Target eating light snacks like a few soaked nuts/a banana/a cup of milk at least ½ an hour before yoga practice

Healthy tips to be followed throughout the day while practicing yoga 

  • Eat plenty of sattvic food like fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to increase the energy of the mind and produce cheerfulness, serenity, and mental clarity
  • Choose rajasic foods like bitter, sour, salty, pungent, hot, sugary, deep-fried, and dry food carefully as they create jealousy, anger, delusion, fantasies, and egotism
  • Restrict or limit intake of tamasic foods like stale, heavy, half-cooked or over cooked as brings loads of laziness and negative and stressful emotions
  • Eat food at regular intervals and never skip meals
  • Include antioxidant and fiber-rich fruits and vegetable foods in your daily diet
  • Always choose fresh low-fat meat and dairy products
  • Eat lots of whole grains, nuts, and raw vegetables regularly
  • Drink adequate water and healthy fluids throughout the day
  • Stay away from alcohol consumption and smoking habit
  • Take enough rest and sleep

Which are the body systems involved in yoga?

Yoga is not simply a fancy gym exercise or body-building physical activity. The idea behind yoga is to appreciate the delicate fine balance between body, mind, and soul. It recharges and reinforces muscles, nerves, bones, and all body systems to function well for a prolonged time.

  • Musculoskeletal System 

Yoga builds and enhances musculoskeletal coordination which further revamps flexibility, swiftness, and the tolerance of the body. The poses and counterposes bring good neuro-muscular coordination and great synergy, improves anaerobic power and posture and increases steadiness, endurance, stamina and strength.

  • Nervous system

Yoga improves focus, clarity, concentration, awareness, and attentiveness. It also improves sleep well-being and post-sleep refreshment. Yoga lowers reasonable and unreasonable mental tiredness, anxiety, depression, and tension.

  • Digestive System

Research reports yoga offers an internal massage on the digestive tract and abdominal area covering the stomach, liver, pancreas, and intestines. It helps to fortify the muscles of internal organs by ensuring the proper blood and oxygen flow.

  • Endocrine System

Yoga helps develop and maintain the neuroendocrine system. It increases the sensitivity of insulin and reduces the negative relationship between body weight or waist circumference and insulin sensitivity. This exercise also improves the sensitivity of B cells of the pancreas to the glucose signal.

  • Reproductive System

Yoga provides a healthy body, positive mind, higher energy level, productivity, and good quality of life. It prepares the body to handle all kinds of stressful situations. All these together set up a better foundation for good reproductive health.

How does yoga limit mindless eating?

  • Mindless eating occurs when eating is controlled by the outside factors and not by the body’s internal nutritional requirements.
  • Research supports yoga practitioners eat less impulsive, and not get affected by lucrative food offers, social media viral recipes, and attractive junk food advertisements
  • They monitor their food intake based on their hunger level and have the ability to end a meal or snack based on their body’s internal signals or satisfaction level (intuitive eating)
  • Yoga helps to choose fresh foods and avoids free radical, chemical, and artificial preservative-loaded processed foods. This collectively reduces daily stress
  • It increases nutrient supply to the body and hence increases all-day physical and mental activeness
  • Also teaches us to offer gratitude toward food, learn to chew food appropriately, and enjoy meal time with loved ones
  • Helps the body to release toxins easily

Conclusion 

Yoga should always be practiced under the guidance of a thoroughly experienced expert who can suggest a yoga routine as per an individual’s body limitations. All other unauthorized online or offline experts should always be avoided. Yoga should never be treated as an obligatory physical activity but it should be used as a way to understand the body and its internal communications. Yoga day should not be used as a single-day opportunity to show off perfect yoga pose pictures on social media. It should be utilized to create awareness to make yoga an integral part of lifestyle and mindset.

Reference

  1. CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 92, NO. 7, 10 APRIL 2007
  2. IJPNPE 2021; 6(1): 350-351
  3. International Journal of Yoga • Vol. 8 • Jul-Dec-2015
  4. Indian Journal of Ancient Medicine and Yoga, Volume 12 Number 4, October – December 2019

Author

Aparna Das Parmar

Aparna Parmar has over 8.5 years of rich experience in the field of nutrition and healthcare and is currently a corporate nutritionist.

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