Best Yoga Poses Are Useless Without a Healthy Diet
The best yoga poses are those that are accompanied by a healthy, clean diet. But, just what is that? In a culture where food claims are as confusing as they are rampant, you might be wondering just what it means to eat well. Everywhere we go we are bombarded by “eat this, not that,” “avoid sugar,” “avoid carbs, eat no meat,” “eat a lot of meat,” “eat more calories,” “eat less,” etc. No wonder it’s confusing. In following a healthy, clean diet you need to remember to trust yourself. Just like you know how to push your body to its edge in each asana, you need to believe that you know just what your body needs.
Eating well really isn’t that hard if you stick to these three principles: 1) eat when you’re hungry 2) eat real food 3) and stop eating when you’re satisfied. These three concepts are not difficult to understand. It’s just our food society that has made them so.
Eat When You’re Hungry
Not at 8 am. Then, at 12pm. Then, at 4pm. Etc. This kind of scheduled, regimented eating takes the most important variable out of the equation: your body. Instead of remaining a slave to some arbitrary food laws, learn to trust your body again. Listen to the feeling of hunger, the hollow, empty groaning feeling associated with needing food. This is when your body needs to eat. It is true that sometimes we need to eat in advance – for example, if we know that we shouldn’t eat before a yoga workout. The best yoga poses will be annoying if you’re really hungry and can only think about this feeling. In other cases, listen to your body. One day you might feel hungry at noon, and the other day you might stay without food for longer.
Eat Real Food
What is real food? Real food is any food that does not require explanation. A banana is a banana is a banana. A banana nut muffin, well that’s a whole different story; that’s flour (what kind of flour?), sugar (how much?), oil or butter or hydrogenated oil, etc. Too many questions; healthy, clean eating should be done without questions. It should be unprocessed, unrefined, and in its true state. Foods that immediately fall under this category are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Take the guessing out of your food by sticking to a whole foods diet.
Stop Eating When You’re Satisfied
Satisfaction is not fullness. Think of it just as you would in a yoga stretch. You know that to get the most out of a stretch, you would never overdo it to stretch beyond your body’s flexibility. Instead, you would stay right in that comfortable zone where you feel pushed but not at the point of injury. Think of the painful feeling of being too full; bloating and embarrassing discomfort are injurious to your body. Instead, find the sweet spot where you’ve just eaten enough that you feel fueled and satisfied by the food and your ability to remain aware of your body and mind.
In addition to your best yoga poses, these food thoughts will keep you clean, healthy, and of course: at your best.