Eat like a Yogi: Mindful nourishment for body, mind, and soul Based on Ayurvedic Principles

by Nahdin Sabla

Extend your yoga practice to eating not only for your physical body.

I invite you to revert to the habit of eating plants that not only give you physical nutrients by way of food but also provide mental and spiritual nourishment. When you flow in harmony with the rhythms of the universe, eating is the single most important act for one’s yoga practice, because nourishment of the body’s tissues forms a foundation for the nourishment of the mind and emotions.

The Art of Eating

The art of eating is all about body ecology, letting the body work in a way that is not harmful to the self. The less work, the less challenge, the less wear, and tear, the longer we live in peace and harmony with the universe, more importantly living in peace and harmony with ourselves through a disease-free state of existence. Furthermore, for one to access certain higher knowledge, one has to empty the garbage from their digestive system first.

Ayurveda teaches that our Body composition should always be 50% food, 25% liquid and 25% empty for energy to digest. We shall not overeat, always leave space for prana​​, allowing our bodies to rest. Drink 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after eating (except for pitta, pitta can have a few sips during meals to calm the inner fire). You should be hydrating yourself constantly throughout the day, drink every 20 mins, warm water to be more precise, the closest to your body’s temperature, not cold.

Your asana practice should always be performed on an empty stomach, three hours after a solid meal one hour after a liquid meal, and 30 minutes after drinking water.

Once we align our eating habits to the rhythm of the universe, we can begin to live at optimal levels.

Fasting Facilitates Elimination

Once digestion ceases to occur, the body naturally begins to release waste from the tissues. This can become a very uncomfortable process for us. For instance, we may get a headache, which is simply waste that was released from the tissues traveling back upstream through the blood to the brain. Initially, we may think our headache results from missing a meal. But in actuality, the headache stems from toxins not being able to exit our body, it's called a healing crisis. So as a quick fix, we grab something to eat, which brings the blood from the brain back into the digestive system, and we feel relieved thinking that we have alleviated the headache. However, all we did was postponed the elimination confrontation process. Those toxins still need to come out.

Think about all the meat you’ve eaten all these years before you went vegan. Science has proven that for every year you consume meat (animal protein), it takes 2.5 days for the average animal protein to transit through the human body. Because the human digestive system is long, it takes an extremely long time to process meat. Now multiply 2.5 by the number of meat-based meals you eat a day, which is usually two to three, times the days of the week, the weeks of the month, and the months of the year, and you’ll soon discover that you have an excessive amount of waste in your system.

There are not enough days within the year for you to process all of this meat. As a result, this uneliminated waste tends to rot, decay, petrify and create cancerous cells the body develops in order to neutralize the additional waste entering the body.


It is important we take time to give our digestive system a periodic cleansing to detox once every quarter or three months to prevent this from happening. If you feel that aligning your cleanses with nature and the stars will benefit you greatly, then you are on for a ride, please join me every Saturday and we’ll fast together, holding each other and providing a safe space is paramount for fasting.

As a result of fasting, your body will be reprogrammed on a nice rhythmic vibration. You can further align it to the solar system vibrations by eating a certain color of foods for each day of the week.

For instance, Friday is the day that is ruled by Venus, so it is a green day. It’s recommend that 50% of vegetables consumed on Fridays be green leaf vegetables. Saturday is ruled by Saturn and is a white day to symbolize the fasting day. Sunday, the sun's day, is orange. Eat lots of orange foods on Sunday, especially oranges for the 50% fruit recommendation. Monday is ruled by the moon and is your blue day. Blue foods like blueberries make for a great treat. Tuesday is ruled by Mars so do red foods. Get the red-action going by eating foods like beets, red peppers, watermelon, tomatoes, and strawberries. You can also consume yellow foods on Wednesdays and purple foods on Thursdays. Following this color scheme makes for exciting meals further aligning you with the vibrations of the universe. Additionally, you can fast on solstices and equinoxes and when the moon is new and full.

Mental Fast

Fasting is not only a physical practice, Ideally, you really want to do a 24/7 mental fast. You want to be in constant perpetual meditation of your life. You want to be in the present, here and now. Empty the mind, and do a brainwash. Clear it out. If you can go seven days without entertaining a negative thought, your level of consciousness will surely ascend to a new level. It is a very powerful experience.

Overall, mental, therapeutic, and spiritual fasting cleanses the mind, body, and soul. We need to fast like this on a constant basis. The physical therapeutic fast is the gateway. We have other levels we need to ascend, so fasting and detoxing is a must or else we are going to consume ourselves with the waste of our thoughts, bodies, and soul.

One of the big advantages of an improved diet is a higher sensitivity to taste, smell, touch, and digestive organs. They will tell you which foods are non-foods for you. As your body increases its vitality on a diet closer to its needs, it vigorously rejects food that is harmful. Just listen and follow your body's guidance.

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Time According to Ayurveda

The rising and falling of the sun are connected to Kapha. Kapha is grounding earth energy, and as the earth prepares for the day and settles down for the night, you are in Kapha time.

The peak of the day and peak of the night are related to Pitta. Pitta is a strong, sharp energy, and the heat of the day and darkness of the night are related to this powerful dosha.

The transition between night and day and between dusk and dawn is related to Vata. Vata is an ethereal, dreamlike dosha, and your most active daydreams and nightdreams are both in the Vata times of the day.

It is important to know that when you wake up the next 8 hours are elimination time, so allow your body to eliminate by fasting or consuming watery fruits only; the best time for lunch is at 3 pm and your last meal before 6 pm, in my personal practice it's 5 pm.

The Gunas

In the Ayurvedic tradition, food is broken into three Gunas, these three Gunas are reflected by everything in life, they are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.

Foods that are considered sattvic include most vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains. In contrast, tamasic foods (such as onions, meat, and garlic) and rajasic foods (such as coffee, hot peppers, and salt) can increase dullness or hyperactivity, respectively. But maintaining a diet that keeps your body light and your mind clear doesn’t necessarily mean eating only sattvic foods. What is best for you and what in the end will best support your yoga practice is informed by your constitution (known in the Ayurvedic tradition as vikriti) and your current state (prakriti), “Both need to be considered.

Sattva is light. It is the energy of purity and harmony. This is the main energy that we are trying to create in our yoga practice.Rajas are the energy of rapidity. It is passion, action, energy, and motion. Rajas are found in foods like coffee and sugars. Tamas is impurity, laziness, and darkness. This energy is found in foods that are heavily processed or fried.

It is our goal to seek lightness, love, and happiness. That energy is found in fruits and vegetables in their purest, most raw form. As you prepare your food, think of it as a meditation and try to form your thoughts into a sattvic state.

This energy will be transmitted into your food. When you eat the food, you will have happiness, lightness, and health through the food. Your intentions while preparing food are important! The feelings in your body at the time of food preparation are transmitted into your food. Often I repeat the word LOVE as I prepare my nourishment, and when the table is set and food ready to be eaten, I bless them with this food prayer:

Thank you to all the hands, animals, plants, earth, moon, sun, stars, sky, and elements that made it possible for me to survive by having this food. Food I love you! Thank you for being the highest vibration for the health of all my bodies. Thank you for sustaining this life.

Living is just like eating

is a process of taking moments in, digesting, and letting go that what we don’t need. A good life is really a matter of how well you can digest, absorb, and transcend all the moments in it. Who we are in the deepest part of our being, profoundly impacts the chemistry of our body.

To prepare my meals with the highest quality ingredients means the world to me personally, because whatever it is you want food to gift you with, it is yours to have, provided those same gifts have been bestowed upon the food. Everything you eat is about you choosing what you just ate, so command your body to do what your spirit needs.

But what exactly does it mean to nourish yourself properly?

Just how do you eat like a yogi?

A diet that offers your body a great basis for practice—or encourages the same effects as practice—makes for a great yogic diet.

I invite you to dive deeper into feeling and acknowledge what certain types of food do to your body, find out your dosha and establish as a life practice what works for you, and, as you explore the parameters of your own yogic diet, allow for some flexibility. Remember, yoga and life are about freedom, including freedom from labels, your own strong beliefs and ideas, so don’t get caught in them.

Remember that how you choose to take nourishment in - your intention- matters, and when in fear, bless your food and thank your body for always receiving gracefully everything you ingest and its great capability of digestion, assimilation and elimination.

We prayed over it. And it was deeply nourishing.

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