April 2006 – Yoga and Nutrition

Yoga and Nutrition

Yoga poses detoxify our body, reducing our risk of illness and developing diseases. Asanas do this by squeezing and soaking the organs in the body while in a pose. Poses can squeeze out stale blood and toxins, and as you release the pose fresh blood rushes in bringing with it nutrients and oxygen. But this is only half the battle, for optimum health you need to be aware of what you are putting into your body that has the potential to cause disease–otherwise, it’s a continuous battle, tiring your immune system. Food can make or break the ability of your immune system to heal your body. Yoga cleans up some of the damage, but we need to reduce the toxins we are putting into the body, to give the immune system a chance to do its job. Good eating habits, exercise, and mind control are vital to a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Please note! Lifestyle change starts slowly; doing it all at once just overwhelms you and stresses the body both physically and emotionally. Begin by paying attention to how you feel before you eat, wait until you are hungry to eat, try not to eat on a schedule (ex. because it is noon, eat lunch). Think about what you are hungry for, no matter what it is–eat it!–then after you eat pay attention to how you feel. Learn to trust your body, it will tell you what you need.

Yoga helps to increase the digestive fire, this is accomplished through the breathing and bandhas while in a pose. Having good digestion equates with good health as our bodies are able to absorb the nutrients we are eating.
Whole foods come with enzymes in them that aid the body with the digestion process. Processed foods are devoid of these enzymes. For example an apple comes packed with vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients (like phytochemicals) along with the enzymes to help you digest and absorb all these nutrients. If you made applesauce yourself at home, most of those enzymes and nutrients would still be there, but the applesauce you buy in a jar at the grocery store has all those nutrients and enzymes processed out of it—the manufacturers try to add nutrients back in but the body can not use those nutrients! Further aggravating is the ascorbic acid manufacturers add to replace Vitamin C, ascorbic acid kills the good bacteria in your body. Good bacteria are responsible for many operations in the body including digestion! Processed foods are the demise of nutrition! If you can not avoid processed food entirely make an effort to read labels, there are certain processed ingredients you should not put into your body:

  • Any type of Hydrogenated oil (including partially hydrogenated oils)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Artificial sugars

Pay attention to how many foods you eat that come in a box or bag. Eating and cooking with whole foods is not time consuming! and is less expensive than processed foods.

The yoga of eating is to fully experience and enjoy each bite of food! Make a conscious effort to slow down and taste, or savor each bite. Chewing each bite fully aids in the digestion process, when you are in a hurry eating you swallow larger pieces of food that the stomach secretions are unable to break down and digest.

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