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.
How Much Food to Eat?
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
- Make a habit of eating on a portion plate where the moderate amount of food fits and remind yourself that NO second serving!
- Savour every bite and chew the food for a longer time to avoid excessive eating and when more saliva is generated, the food is digested better.
- Stop drinking water during and before or after one hour of your meal as it will dilute the digestive juice and suppress the digestive capacity.
- Midnight cravings occur when you are awake late until night. Our body also chooses to work in a systematic way so, stick to a proper routine, so that your body is aware of its duty timings to release the digestive acid.
- Listen to your body and not to others who force you to eat.
- Let your sensory organs know that you are eating, concentrate and respect the food you are eating
- The key to external health is present in our internal body. So, take care of your digestive system by eating healthy food.
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.
What Kind of Food to Eat?
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.
- Foods that include non-vegetarian contents should be avoided because they are heavy to be digested and have a chance to be heavy to digest and can create toxins in the intestines.
- One should also avoid intoxicating liquids like alcohol because they damage liver and brain cells.
- Our busy schedule does not give us time to cook food for every meal but storing the food and reheating the food frequently is not good for our health because food decaying can occur in the stomach itself.
- Try to avoid excessive carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, and deep-fried food items.
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.