- By Jill Amison, iQ Yoga Tutor
Yoga is a way of life, an integrated system of education for the body, mind and inner spirit. Yoga develops our pure essential nature and diet plays an important part in this process.
The yogic scriptures divide food into three types: sattvic, or pure; rajasic, or stimulating; tamasic, or impure or rotten. The idea being that you try to eat mainly sattvic food so that you increase energy levels, maximise vitality, strength and endurance. Yogi’s believe that people’s food preferences reflect their level of mental purity and that these preferences alter as they develop spiritually.
The yogic diet avoids foods that are over stimulating, rajasic foods – refined sugar, soft fizzy drinks, alcohol, coffee etc as they are said to bring about a restless state of mind. Tamasic substances are also avoided as they produce feelings of heaviness and lethargy. Tamasic foods include packaged and processed foods, overcooked, fried, microwaved or reheated foods.
Sattvic foods are wholesome, naturally delicious without added preservatives or artificial flavouring. Fresh fruit, vegetables, salads, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, honey, fresh dairy produce all are sattvic in nature.
When we eat in this Sattvic way we begin to assist the body in it’s detoxification process. Of course the body continually detoxifies itself naturally, but when this mechanism is overloaded, the process becomes less efficient and symptoms like allergies, PMS, indigestion, headaches, skin problems, fatigue, sluggishness may occur.
The goal is to eat in a way that makes you feel good. Paying attention to how you eat and being mindful in the process is also a big part of detoxing and eating in a healthy way. Cultivating an awareness of how, when and what you eat and observing the patterns and emotions that surround your eating habits, will add a new depth to your detoxification process.
So when you eat, notice how your food affects you. Do you feel satisfied and energized, or do you feel tired? Are you eating because you’re hungry or eating because you’re upset and need comfort? If you’re feeling sluggish, try eating smaller meals so that you don’t overwhelm your digestive fire. Don’t eat in a way that makes you sigh and say “I’m exhausted. I need a nap!”
Specific yoga poses can help expedite the detoxification process. Heating and twisting sequences can help move toxins from your tissues through your lymphatic and digestive systems so that they can be eliminated from the body. In addition, restorative poses, relax the nervous system and mind and help settle the body—which is especially important during and after a detox cleanse. Restorative poses will also help bring you into a state of receptivity and help to cleanse the mind of negative thought patterns.
Ultimately the yogic lifestyle is about bringing the body and mind into a state of balance and harmony so that we can experience life to the fullest. When we nourish ourselves optimally on every level – body, mind and spirit – we can truly embrace every experience and begin to sparkle and shine from the inside out!
Jill Amison and Catherine Ellis are offering a 2 week New Year Detox & Cleanse Challenge starting on the 1st February at iQ Therapies. The Cleanse is geared around many of the points featured in this article and will offer delicious, healthy meals planned out for you with a shopping list, daily personal yoga sessions in the comfort of your own home via Vimeo, 3 meetings with Yoga sessions, a personal nutritional consultation and discounts organised for you for supportive treatments such as Colonic Hydrotherapy and Aromatherapy.
Bookings are now being taken, but places are limited so book now to secure your place and bounce in to the New Year with energy and vitality! – Catherine Ellis (07956 640623) or Jill Amison (07791 749502)