In Sanskrit, Mita means limited and aahara means food which translates Mitaahara into the consumption of limited food. There is a saying that ‘we are what we eat.’ Food is the most important part of our lives for survival. Food keeps us wholesome and healthy. Alongside having food it is also essential to know how much and what kind of food should be taken. We know that the three most important elements of our body rely on our air, food and water. Our stomach should comprise half part of the food and accommodate the remaining two quarters for air and water. Let’s discuss how following a yogic virtue like Mitaahara according to hatha yoga helps yogis to maintain a healthy body, mind and soul.
According to Hatha Yoga, the diet consumed by a yogi should contain food that is cooked with ghee, rice, wheat, barley, and sweets which should be devoured after offering it to Lord Shiva as prasad. This way, hunger is controlled and provides room for air and water. Mitaahara is achieved by the saints in this method.
Are we, belonging to this generation, making the right choices in consuming food? We binge-eat all those foods that satisfy our taste buds and eat until the stomach is full and our heart is happy but the internal damage being done to our digestive system is often forgotten. We value money and commodities more than an individual’s health. We do not want to waste the food and the money spent on it but we should also not forget the harm that can be caused by compromising our health.
Hatha Yoga implies that the food we consume should be fresh, light and delightful to eat. To follow Mitaahara, we should restrict excessive food cravings and eat limited food by following tips like
I don’t want to disappoint the food lovers out there but the food is primarily consumed for the purpose of nourishing the body and providing energy for our daily chores but not to please our senses.
An individual’s ideal diet should be healthy, modest and bland as heavy food items like spicy, greasy or oily and stale food may steer to acidity. Let’s bust the myth that healthy foods are not tasty. ‘Where there is will there is a way we can choose suitable foods for us and make them attractive and delicious without adding any unhealthy ingredients.
As mentioned in Hatha yoga Pradapika, eating heavy food items might lead to a Tamasic state (Tamas is a guna that is associated with darkness, selfish and materialistic nature). To attain a sattvik nature (sattvik means a sense of purity, calmness and kindness) a person should eat light foods.
While Mitaahara is important it is essential to remember that overeating or not eating does no good for you and always enjoy every speck of your food with happiness and peace. So love your body and make Mitaahara your mantra.