Monday, January 9, 2012


We talked about the natural transformation we all undergo as we begin a yoga practice. As we practice yoga we begin to increase our sensitivity and our vitality level. When our physical sensitivity increases it is quite natural that we feel drawn to eat differently. As we experiment and eat lighter and 'cleaner' foods the contrast of eating heavier and potentially more 'toxic' foods becomes more apparent. As our vitality or 'aliveness' increases we naturally feel it when the food we eat decreases our vitality or aliveness.

Thus there is a natural transition over time to a diet that is in accordance with the changes that we are experiencing because of our yoga practice.

As we become clearer of the goal of our yoga practice, and our life in general, the idea is to allow every aspect of our life to aid in this particular vector of intent, keeping in mind there will be new realizations and adaptations that will emerge in the process.

In this process it is very important for us to remember that because of 'constitutional' differences and the particular needs of our life processes, lifestyles, profession and goals that we stay aware that what may be good for another may not be good for us, and as our goals and lifestyles change what makes us feel vital may also change. There is no one size fits all for diet. It is very tempting to learn a new ideology around food and whole heartedly and zealously pursuit it. It gives us a sense of purpose and clarity that we all seek in our lives. Often this could be a good thing if we approach it with great self-awareness and an experimental attitude without rigidity.

One of the key themes we are addressing in the context of this series class is the importance of constantly referring back to our inner senses to be the guide in our transformation and exploration process. As opposed to blindly following dietary fads and trends, using the fads and trends as guidelines and an opportunity to experiment with various methods while observing the effect on our systems through close examination over a period of time. If we take this approach we are less likely to harm ourselves and others with extreme and rigid approaches to diet.

In Western approaches to diet, even in the more progressive alternative approaches it's only recently that constitution based approaches are emerging in the mainstream. In the East, in Ayurveda- Indian Medicine and Chinese Medicine, constitutional based approaches were the foundation of the medicine. Medicines, herbs, and any prescriptions were all given to the yogi or patient based on a careful assessment of individual constitution and unique characteristics.

As Yogis, many of us are beginning to develop the sensitivity to be able to assess more clearly what can be right for us. With the help of appropriate educational material and models of categorizing the energetics of food (hot, cold, dry, wet, heavy, light etc..) we can eat a diet that is in harmony with our system and bring ourselves in to greater harmony with our environment as well. Thus as we eat the food let us slow down, chew and savor the flavors. Let us feel the effects. Over time how is our body and minds doing? Yogis were always experimenters. They were the scientists of their own times, and they tested and affirmed through experience. Thus yoga is a practical science of the people.
~Mark Tanaka

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark and Ash,
    I went to Week Two of your Yoga of Food series at Breathe in Los Gatos.
    It was very well done and I look forward to returning for more useful information.
    Ash, you may find some gardening inspiration while reading my blog at I haven't posted in quite awhile, but I intend to get started again shortly. Some of the earlier postings may address issues about how to get started.
    Eat locally from your own backyard! ;)