Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Simply Love Yoga

What is love????? Love is seeing yoga for what it is and not wanting it to be anything else. Love is accepting it's flaws. With yoga I don't try to be anything other than the authentic Jayna'. I go to my safe edge and just let it be...

Yoga Blogs I love-------sidebar too------------------------

Everything Yoga

Chai & Yoga

Accidental Yogist

The Humble Yogini

And I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog--> Namaste Bitches! Check her out!

My relationship with yoga is so interesting. I told a new friend** that yoga is like an ex-boyfriend who let me walk all over him. I can always go back, flirt with him...have a tryst. He is so amazing. Never expects anything in return. Always shows up being exactly who he is---which ironically changes allllll the time for me. There is all this room to grow, transform, and be reborn. I love him forever and ever.

Diet and Yoga? How do they intercet? Aside from the fact that if you eat and then attempt to do a seated twist, you will projectile barf on the pretzel chick to your right, your body needs to be primed for yoga. You can't possibly practice while still majorly digesting food. Raw food and yoga? See what AYC (Ashtanga Yoga Canada) as to say about it:

Yoga Diet - Empowering Practice

The Yoga Diet is the key to your Practice

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC)

“Conquer ālasya (laziness) by āsanas, prānāyāma, and light sattvic food.”
Swami Sivananada (1887-1963)

“Of all the restrictive practices the most beneficial is mitāhāra, eating a moderate, sattvic diet.”
Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950)

“When one follows the methods of āsana and prānāyāma, there is no doubt that all diseases will be cured. But if an aspirant thinks that this will occur by his merely practicing āsanas while continuing to eat rajasic [stimulating] and tamasic [heavy] foods, then he is misguided. Such a course will actually lead to an increase in sickness… of the sattvic foods; only those that are thin (tanu) should be eaten. Thus, pure and pleasant foods should be consumed...”

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois,
Yoga Mala p. 94 Diet is a very important part of this yoga practice.
However, there is a lot of confusion around what are the right foods to eat, and what are the foods that will nourish a practitioner’s body and soul.

Yoga Diet and the 3 Gunas

We must understand the three gunas (the prime qualities of nature) in order to understand Yoga Diet:

•Sattva – the quality of harmony, the balancing force. It encompasses qualities such as: light, love, peace, purity, wisdom, stillness, and spiritual evolution.
•Rajas – the active quality, the simulating or positive force that initiates change, and disturbs the equilibrium. It encompasses qualities such as: passion, agitation, speed, movement, emotional fluctuations of fear and desire, love and hate, attraction and repulsion.
•Tamas – the passive quality, the obstructing or negative force that resists change. It encompasses qualities such as: sustainability, darkness, non-feeling, attachment, depression, lethargy, dullness, heaviness, stagnation and the lower material forces that drag us into ignorance.
At the center of sattva is the attitude of ahiṁsā (non-harming). Foods that are sattvic in nature are the best carriers of prana (vital life-energy).
For a practitioner following the principles of Yoga, taking a close look at “the larger planetary implications of what we eat, including its effects on ecology, conserving natural resources, its effects on world hunger and world peace, as well as the ethical and moral issues regarding cruelty to animals” must be taken into consideration when choosing our diet and what foods we eat.

“A nondairy vegetarian diet consumes from one-tenth to one-twentieth of the energy and natural resources of a flesh-food diet and therefore can potentially create an abundance for the needy millions of God’s children.” (Cousens, Gabriel, M.D. Conscious Eating. 2nd ed. North Atlantic Books. 2000. p.xx)

A Sattvic Diet

A Sattvic diet is:

1. Vegetarian - this means avoiding any and all products that include either the harming or killing animals.
2. Emphasizes: Neutral, Natural, Organic, Simple, Clean, Fresh Foods – this means any food that is grown in harmony with nature, in good soils, ripened naturally, and eaten either raw, or cooked with an attitude of devotion.
3. Moderate Eating – even over-eating sattvic foods produces a tamasic effect on the body and mind.

Yogis are very strict about their diet.
Things that are most commonly avoided are:

1. Commercially prepared food, and Processed food.
2. Fried foods and Fast foods
3. Eggs, Onions, Garlic
4. Stale or Left-Over Food
5. Animal flesh
6. Drugs and alcohol
Traditionally the yogic diet was called a diet of “fruits and roots” (phala mula). The bulk of a yogi’s diet would include: whole grains, beans, root vegetables, seeds and nuts, fruits and leafy vegetables, and some dairy products (primarily ghee & milk) as well.
When a yogi takes food, he or she realizes that it is not only nourishing the body but that the qualities inherent in the food will have an effect his or her mind as well.
Yoga practitioners should aim to eat food that will increase their sattvic qualities and that will increase their prana (life sustaining energy). Making true the age-old saying: “you are what you eat!”
Raw food is our most direct source of prana, and by eating raw foods the practitioner directly increases her prana, not only in her body, but also in her mind.
Raw food has been used extensively in the yogic diet to cleanse the nadis (nerve channels) and to increase prana. The importance of raw food for the purpose of purification should not be underestimated.
It is recommended that 50% – 80% of a person’s diet be made up of raw food for optimum health, physically and spiritually.

What about the protein?

“Current research indicates that not only do we get more then sufficient protein on a vegetarian diet, but a vegetarian diet is generally healthier, increases longevity, and increases physical endurance.

It is even a prime preventer of osteoporosis to the extent that vegetarian women have less osteoporosis then meat-eating men.” (Cousens, Gabriel, M.D. Conscious Eating. 2nd ed. North Atlantic Books. 2000. p.305)
“According to the American Dietetic Association, pure vegetarian diets in America usually contain twice the required protein for one’s daily need.” (Cousens, Gabriel, M.D. Conscious Eating. 2nd ed. North Atlantic Books. 2000. p.312)
These are just a few notes on what constitutes a “yogic diet.” It is important not to get overwhelmed when first beginning to make dietary changes.
Starting to integrate small changes one by one is a good first step towards the goal. Moderation should be observed in every instance along the way. Every change should come from a natural inclination and not from a place of guilt or feelings of obligation.
“However, one should not abandon the practice of yoga after becoming disappointed or indifferent because of an inability to follow the sattvic diet strictly. The practice of yoga should continue to be pursued while following a diet suited to one’s capacity. However, it is good to practice taking sattvic foods as much as possible.”Sri K. Pattabhi JoisYoga Mala p.95

Been thinking about yoga? Feeling like it's not for you? Have no idea what it is? Well, I never heard the word yoga until I was 18 years old. Honestly. I came to yoga being an inner-city teen desperate for something different. I have always had this longing inside of me for something deeply spiritual. From  my days of studying to be a nun---yes really a nun---to teaching myself to meditate (yet another word unfamiliar to me until college). I have been reborn through yoga. My mat hold a surprise for me everyday. I cry, laugh, dance, sit, pray, love, lose... and I just am. And it's beautiful.

Read through some of the blogs above and be inspired. Oh and if you are like me and can't afford to go to a yoga studio...the lovely folks at Manduka have a contest where you could win a year of free yoga at the studio of your choice!!! Enter the contest here!!!!! I did. Best of you luck to ya!

<3 I absolutely <3 you


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