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Yoga Diet

Proper Diet

In this yoga technique “Diet” plays the dominant or important role. It is said that 'as you eat, so you become'. This is because the kind and quality of food affects the physical as well as mental condition of the individual. Thus, the individual who does not take a proper diet and who does not have a proper understanding of the principles of eating, he gradually begins to harm himself both physically and mentally. He begins to feel the ill effects of wrong eating habits on his appearance, behavior, thought and also on action. And the individual whose thought, action and appearance would not be desirable for a particular period of time would naturally show undesirable consequences. The saying 'as you eat, so you become' justifies this thing.

There are three categories of food in yoga; Rajsik, tamsik and Satvik, these are explained below:

  • Rajsik/Rajasi:
    In this first type of food there’s a variety of dishes. It derives its name “Rajsik” from the dining manners of Indian kings. It is said that no less than fifty-six dishes were served at a royal dining table. Naturally, in this type of preparations, dishes of various kinds-some fried, some roasted, and some curried and highly seasoned -together with various sweets and drinks would be served. Foods of this type are regarded undesirable for the yoga practitioners as they create extra weight and fat, generate feeling of heaviness for a longer period of time after dinner, and arouse passion.
  • Tamsik/Tamasi:
    The second category of eatables that is the tamsik food, include those which are prepared as hot stuffs. When any dish-vegetarian or non-vegetarian-is prepared with too many spices and with excessive uses of salts, pepper, chili and similar other seasonings, it becomes tamsik. Mainly non-vegetarian food is considered to be Tamsik. This type of food suits those who have a coarse nature and a rough temperament, and are inclined to be noisy, quarrelsome and intolerant. Hence, this type of food is undesirable and not recommended to the yoga practitioners.
  • Satvik/Sattvik:
    In this type, the food is cooked with the least amount of spices and without much seasoning (Something added to food primarily for the savour it imparts). The food is fresh, attractive and nutritive, and is cooked in a simple way. This type of food is desirable and highly recommended for the yoga practitioners.

There’s one another thing that have to be clarified is that, in yoga, food is not evaluated on the basis of their caloric count. Rather it is the quality of food and the method of eating that are considered. The better the quality of food, the more invigorating it is considered. Many people have a wrong notion that by reducing their intake of food or reducing the' calories, they would lose extra weight. Similarly, many people feel that perhaps by eating heavily, they could gain weight. These notions are undesirable, as both these extremes have a harmful effect on the individual. Whether a person is overweight or underweight the yogic principles and methods of eating remain the same. One can gain or lose weight without any ill effects on his health by following the same yogic method of eating. Balanced Diet

There is one important thing and that is to take balanced diet. For balanced diet one will have to add the following things in eatables and it should be in correct proportion.

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fibre


Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy. They contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The first part of the name "carbo-" means that they contain Carbon. The second part of the name "-hydr-" means that they contain Hydrogen. The third part of the name "-ate-" means that they contain Oxygen. We obtain most of our carbohydrate in the form of starch. This is found in the following eatables.

  • Cake
  • Potato
  • Biscuits
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Spaghetti
  • bread
  • cereals

Sugars are also carbohydrates and they are found in the following eatables.

  • Fruits
  • Sweets
  • Sugar Cane
  • Sugar Beet
  • Milk.

Our digestive system turns all this starch into another carbohydrate called glucose. Glucose is carried around the body in the blood and is used by our tissues as a source of energy. We also get some of our carbohydrate in the form of sucrose; this is the sugar which we put in our tea and coffee. Both sucrose and glucose are sugars, but sucrose molecules are too big to get into the blood, so the digestive system turns it into glucose.


Proteins are required for growth and repair. Proteins contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and sometimes Sulphur. Proteins are found in the following eatables.

  • Peas,
  • Beans,
  • Lentils,
  • Milk.


Like carbohydrates, fats contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are used as a source of energy: they are also stored beneath the skin helping to insulate us against the cold. You must balance the amount of energy containing foods with the amount of energy that you use when you take exercise. You must have some fat in your diet because it contains fat soluble vitamins.


Vitamins are only required in very small quantities. There is no chemical similarity between these chemicals; the similarity between them is entirely biological.

Vitamin A: good for your eyes. It is found in some dairy foods such as milk and also in cabbages, carrots and spinach.

Vitamin B1 Riboflavin: found in Brewer's yeast, wheat germ, oatmeal, whole wheat, bran, whole brown rice, black strap molasses, soybeans, and meats.

Vitamin B-6 Pyridoxine: Whole grains are a good source of this vitamin.

Vitamin B-12: Found in dairy products.

Vitamin C: needed for your body to repair itself. It is a water soluble vitamin. It is found in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, and also in potatoes and tomatoes.

Vitamin D: can be made in your skin, needed for absorption of Calcium. It is a fat soluble vitamin. It is made by the body when exposed to sunlight and is stored in the muscles, however, if the skin is rarely exposed to the sunlight or is dark little vitamin D is produced.

Vitamin E: the nice one – helps in reproduction. Vitamin E is a powerful 'anti-oxidant'. It is found in vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals

Vitamin K: It is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. It is a fat soluble vitamin which is involved in the clotting process of blood.


It is found in following sources.

Calcium: A good source of calcium is in dairy products and green vegetables, the RDA for calcium is 800mg.

Chlorine: It is found in table salt and is rarely deficient in the diet as it is used as a preservative to may foods.

Sodium: It is also found in table salt as well as dairy foods and vegetables.

Phosphorus: It is present in dairy foods and vegetables.

Magnesium: It is an important component of bones and teeth and is also an enzyme activator. It is found in green vegetables.

Iron: It is required in the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin. Red meat, liver and green vegetables are all sources of iron. Iron supplements are taken by people who suffer from anemia.

Iodine: It can be found in seafood such as shellfish, seaweed and fish. Iodine has also been added to water supplies in areas where it is deficient in the main water system.

Copper, manganese and cobalt are all needed in the diet to form co-factors for enzymes. Copper is also needed for bone and hemoglobin formation and cobalt is needed for the production of red blood cells, manganese is also a growth factor in bone development. They are found in meat and liver as well as some dairy products.

Fibre: Fibre is not digested, so you can eat as much as you like, but you must eat some. If you do not eat fibre your bowels will not work properly. Fruits, vegetables and cereals are a good source of dietary fibre. Dietary fibres are also found in plants.

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