KaivalyaDhama

Mitahara: Yogic Nutrition and Mindful Eating

A well balanced nutritious diet has a huge impact on physical and mental well being. However, even after knowing this fact, the hectic routine hampers the living, making it difficult to maintain a proper diet and then growing health problems.

Increasing number of people these days are moving towards vegan diet, keto diet, raw food diet etc. It is however very important to listen to the needs of your body, adjusting food choices accordingly, rather than following a restrictive plan that could eventually make you unwell. So instead of adopting fasting or different diet plans I will suggest a yogic diet or mitahara. Now you all will ask what is mitahara? So here is the answer to your question.

What in Reality is Mitahara?

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the yogic text tells the concept of yogic diet (Mitahara) in Chapter-1 (Asana) Shloka-58.

सुस्निग्ध – मधुराहारशचतुर्ााश – वििस्जातः। भुज्यते शशि –
सम्प्रीत्यै शमताहारः स उच्यते।।

(Susnighdha – madhurāhāraśchaturthāmśa – vivarjitah l Bhujyate
śiva – samprītyai mitāhārah sa uchyate ll)

Mitahara is a Sanskrit combination word, from Mita (moderate) and Ahara (taking food or died) which literally means the habit of moderate food. It’s an ancient Indian concept, where one abstains from either eating too much or too little quantity of food for certain varieties of food. It integrates awareness about food, drink, balanced diet and consumption habits and its effect on one’s body and mind. It is considered as a Yama or self-restraint virtue in ancient Indian texts.

Some Basic Principles of Mitahara

  • Eating habits should be conscious and mindful which affects your mind, body and soul. You quickly become aware of how your choices affect you.
  • Food should be of Sattvic qualities, which increases energy and creates balance in the mind and body.
  • Rajasic and Tamasic foods should be avoided which causes anger, depression, fatigue and lethargy in person.
  • Apathya (unwholesome) food should be prohibited for better and healthy living.
  • Diet should be in moderation and overeating should be avoided at all cost. One-fourth of stomach should be left empty.
  • Should be based on the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence).

Effects of Mitahara

  • Leads to optimum health and a peaceful mind in control of a fit body.
  • Promotes health, vitality, strength and relaxation.
  • Helps in easy digestion.
  • Helps in balancing vata, pitta and kapha in the body.
  • Removes body toxins.
  • Brings purity and stability at mental level.

Foods to Eat

  • Wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
  • Green leafy vegetables and herbs.
  • Fresh fruits and juices.
  • Unprocessed and additive and preservative free food.

Foods to Avoid

  • Meats, fish, etc.
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Spicy, sour, bitter, dry, salty and fried food.
  • Stale ,over-cultivated food items.

Conclusion

Yogic diet is primarily vegetarian, moderate and pure. People having a sedentary lifestyle can be immensely helped if they along with their regular yogic practices also follow yogic diet. Ultimately food should be used as an enjoyable fuel for our bodies. So keep it fresh and simple. Take small steps, avoid going on diets, make healthy delicious food a part of daily life and always remember to be mindful and conscious of your eating habits.

Yogic diet, yoga and ayurveda along with naturopathy is a perfect blend of holistic living. At Kaivalyadhama, one of the leading yoga institutes in India you can indulge in this blend and have an enriching experience.

Ms. Chhavi Agarwal

Ms. Chhavi Agarwal

I am post graduate in English literature and pursuing PG diploma in yoga education
(2021 batch) at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala.

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