The serious practice of yoga incorporates a traditional sattvic diet.  The general characteristics of the sattvic food are pure, light, and fresh. In other words, these foods possess the highest vitality to support all the koshas or layers of our selves.  Organic foods also possess a high vitality in comparison to foods grown with pesticides and  herbicides.

Sattvic foods are more easily digestible and are not fat laden nor protein dense as in animal products; therefore, the sattvic diet is primarily lacto-vegetarian.  This type of diet leads to a greater clarity and equanimity of mind while also being more beneficial to the body.

Sattvic foods include:

  • Whole-grain cereals which do not contain sugar and additives
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, ghee, butter, yogurt, kefir, and cream
  • Dried peas and lentils
  • Fresh vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes (the smaller the bean, the easier to digest)
  • Raw Nuts and Seeds
  • Herbal teas
  • Raw Honey
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Fresh vegetable juices
  • Sprouts
  • Whole grain bread, no sugar or additives
  • Oils – Olive, Flax, Coconut, Sesame, Sunflower, Safflower
  • Mild spices, including ginger and turmeric
  • Lightly steamed foods
  • Raw foods
  • Lightly cooked foods
  • Alkaline foods
  • Properly combined foods (Certain foods do not digest well when eaten with other foods)

Rajasic and tamasic foods are to be avoided due to their affects on the body and mind. They leave us sluggish and agitated. These foods include:

  • Sugar-laden foods
  • Foods with preservatives and chemicals
  • Spicy foods
  • Red hot peppers
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Coffee and non-Herbal Tea
  • Fish and meat
  • Chocolate
  • Frozen foods
  • Canned foods
  • Microwaved foods
  • Overcooked foods
  • Acidic foods
  • Refined foods (such as white flour, white rice, sugar, etc.)
  • Improperly combined foods

These lists are not all inclusive, by any means; but are meant to give you a good idea of which foods constitute a sattvic diet and which ones constitute a rajasic and tamasic diet.

Pure sattvic foods need to be chewed carefully and eaten in modest portions.  Overeating is definitely tamasic.  The food should be enjoyed for its inherent taste and quality rather than for the spices and seasonings that are added.  Too much salt and spice has a rajasic effect.  Leftovers are decidedly tamasic.

The more we embrace these sattvic principles, the more helpful they will be in enhancing our practice of yoga, both physical as well as spiritual.

6 Responses to “A Sattvic Diet for Yoga Practitioners”

  1. Manny Sharma Says:

    Dear Priya
    Well written article. However, I have a question regarding frozen foods. I believe frozen foods are very close to fresh foods in term of the nutrion values. If you know more about it, please educate me or may be educate all the readers.
    Manny Uncle

  2. Jyoti Says:

    Hi Priya
    This article was very helpful,although majority of my diet is sattvic, i would also like to know more on frozon food ?
    and also
    if a sattvic vegetable is eaten as a leftover why would that become tamasic ???

    If chocolate,black pepper and garlic are used for health benefit reason is that bad too???

    Jyoti. 🙂

  3. Wendy Says:

    Thanks, that is a very good article. I found it via Yahoo and immediately incorporated into my feedreader. I am pleased to soon be back here to read again! greetings

  4. YSA Says:

    Thank you for your questions. It is actually Louella who wrote this wonderful article! My understanding is also that frozen vegetables have similar nutritional value, and are certainly better than canned vegetables which can have quite a bit of salt. However, I think fresh is always better, when possible.

  5. Sammy Lyken Says:

    Good post, I favorited your site so I can visit again in the near future, Cheers

  6. rockey Says:

    its wonderful

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