Eating Sattvic

We all know the theory…. “A sattvic diet is a regimen that places emphasis on seasonal foods, fruits if one has no sugar problems, dairy products if the cow is fed and milked in the right conditions, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-meat based proteins.” source google

Since I learned about the three gunas in food, in every meal, I try to analyse whats sattvic about my food, whats rajasic, and what’s tamasic.

I am gourmet and I always love a great cheat meal, but, by categorizing what I eat with gunas, without feeling guilty, I have just stepped into more awareness. As I progress into my mindfulness journey, I can see I am integrating more and more sattvic foods, and I will try to change the cooking style (slightly cooked or steamed) or I will make sure I add elements that are sattvic.

Explanation; I am craving for a big pasta meal –

option 1 I’ll force myself to eat some salad first before getting to the main (pastas), this will ease my hunger and ensure my meal has a little bit of sattvic.   option 2 Ill make the sauce myself using fresh tomatoes and slightly cooked spinach, minimizing the oil.

My journey is there today and this meal isn’t going to be perfect, but days after days, I know it will get closer to the goal

 

Food for thought

The nutrition is directly linked to the performance of asanas and our lifestyle in general. The yogi diet is based on Ayurvedic teachings. Some products are strictly forbidden by them, others are consumed in small quantities and in a certain period of time, and third yogis eat constantly. Three types of food in yoga According to Ayurveda, even the best and cleanest foods are not always healthy. So, there is food that should be consumed only in winter or summer. Some foods should be eaten in the morning, because they excite and give energy, others in the evening, as they calm and set you up for a long sleep. Yoga  divides all food into three types:

       Sattva, which means “purity.” This includes all fresh vegetarian food. Mostly seeds and sprouted grains, fruits, wheat, butter, milk and honey.

      Rajas is a food that excites the body. It is better not to use products from this category or to reduce their amount in the diet to a minimum. This includes citrus fruits, tea and coffee, as well as spices, fish, seafood, eggs, alcohol, soda, garlic and onions.

     Tamas is a rough and heavy meal. It is difficult to absorb by the body. It does more harm than good. Relaxes, after eating it makes you want to sleep. These are root vegetables, red meat (beef and pork), all canned foods, mushrooms, food with a heavy taste (roach, etc.). This includes frozen food and one that has been stored for some time. These are also considered dishes that are reheated, alcohol and food that has been cooked in a restaurant or store.

 Doing yoga, you will feel what products you will not need. Changes in the body will occur harmoniously and in accordance with the needs of your body. The gradual process of rebuilding the habits of the body is very important.

Many (and not only in yoga) make the same mistake: they abruptly begin to change their diet (completely abandon meat, fish, eggs, switch to the most sophisticated diets, such as raw food diet, etc.). With this development of events, in a few months you will face a series of ailments, such as colds, exacerbation of all previously existing sores, and digestive upset. And then it could be worse. Naturally, there can be no question of doing yoga.

Beware of this mistake!

  • never abruptly change your lifestyle, especially in nutrition, non-compliance with this rule leads to big trouble;
  • a complete rejection of meat food does not always bring positive results. If you abandoned the meat, you need to replace it with another animal protein: milk and dairy products, eggs, fish;
  • in your diet should always be present in large quantities vegetables and fruits;
  • food should always be fresh and harmoniously selected.

It must be remembered that the body will never tolerate abuse of itself both in the diet and in the mode of activity. And with the right approach to yoga, you become as independent as possible from environmental conditions, feeling great in any situation, with any set of food products.

 

Yoga and Vegan Diet

Growing up in Singapore, a melting pot of culinary flavours ranging from chicken rice to satay to bak kut teh (a kind of peppery/herbal pork rib broth), I never imagined I would ever turn vegan.

It started when, at the age of 10, I stumbled upon videos exposing what happened in slaughterhouses. The blood, the screams, the animals’ eyes dilating with fear as their throats were slit – it all looked like a scene out of a horror movie.  Traumatised by the reality of how meat was made, I decided I could not eat meat anymore.  When I told my parents my decision, they reprimanded me and told me I needed to eat meat to have a balanced diet.

It was not until I turned 20 that I finally stopped eating meat.  A few months ago, I stopped consuming eggs and dairy as well. 

After studying yoga philosophy, I started to reflect on how a vegan diet related to yogic principles. 

As a starting point, yoga does not enforce veganism, or any diet for that matter, on its practitioners.  In fact, there are many yoga practitioners who consume meat and animal products. 

Nevertheless, it seems that a vegan diet is supported by a few key yogic principles. 

(1) Three Gunas and Food

In yoga philosophy, the mind is formed from the essence of food.  If the food consumed is pure, the mind can develop a strong subtle intellect. 

Tamasic food, which includes meat, fish and intoxicants, is considered to be “stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure refuse” (Bhagavad Gita, XVII, 10).  Such food makes a person dull and inert; fills his mind with impure thoughts; and increases his risks of getting chronic ailments and depression.  This age-old philosophy has been partially backed by modern science, which has established links between meat consumption and heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity and harmful cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, a Sattvic diet consists of pure natural food which increases health and vitality, while rendering the mind pure and calm.  It includes vegetables, pulses, nuts, fruits, seeds, and whole grains such as oats and quinoa.  It includes dairy products only if the cow is fed and milked in the right conditions.  However, cows are abused in modern dairy practices.  Dairy cows are artificially inseminated repeatedly and slaughtered for cheap beef once they stop producing milk. Their calves are removed within 36 hours after birth, breaking the strong bond between mother and child.  These calves are killed if they are male, or raised to be dairy cows if female.  In addition, milk is now filled with hormones and antibiotics, which are harmful to our health. 

Therefore, a vegan diet, which excludes all meat and animal products, is Sattvic and ideal for nurturing our physical and mental health.

(2) Santosha

Santosha is about being contented.  I may not get to eat a lot of my favourite dishes like butter chicken or char siew rice (roast pork rice) anymore, but I still get a healthy and delicious diet which meets all my nutritional needs.  For this, I am contented.  There is no need to compare myself with others around me who get to eat a larger variety of food than I can. 

(3) Ahimsa

Ahimsa is about respecting all living beings and practicing nonviolence to others. 

In a place with little or no plants available for consumption, perhaps due to environmental conditions (like in the Arctic or Mongolia), a person would certainly need to hunt for meat to survive.  Otherwise, he would be committing violence upon himself. 

However, in most modern cities like Singapore, people have access to a large variety of food.  Thus, most of us can choose to adopt a vegan diet if we want.

Veganism applies to ahimsa in several ways.

First, by turning vegan, I am renouncing the confinement, abuse, and killing of animals. This is a direct way to disengage myself from one of the most prevalent (but overlooked) forms of violence.  Modern factory farming is inherently cruel to animals.  Unlike farmers in the old days, today’s factory farmers show no concern about individual animals. They embrace any practice that increases profit, regardless of how much pain, suffering, and death it inflicts on the animal.  Nearly all farmed animals live in intensively crowded and filthy factory farms.  Castration, debeaking, and other painful mutilations are routinely carried out without pain-relief.  Egg-laying hens are crammed into cages so tiny they can’t spread their wings.  Male chicks, an unwanted by-product of egg production, are often ground up or scalded alive.  By adopting a plant-based diet, I stop contributing to this systematic violence.

Second, veganism is an act of nonviolence towards the earth and other fellow humans.  Animal agriculture uses natural resources at a way higher rate than plant crop production.   Veganism would, therefore, drastically reduce the damage inflicted on the earth.

Third, veganism extends compassion to other fellow humans.  There are millions of starving people in the world.  Farmed animals are fed huge amounts of crops and water.   In fact, it takes 13 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat.  These plants crops could have otherwise been used to feed more people, saving them from starvation.  

Finally, veganism is an act of nonviolence to myself.  I feel more at peace, and my conscience is clearer than before.

One of the most popular mantras is a Shanti (peace) mantra, which takes into account all living beings, not just humans:

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih

Meaning:
May all beings become happy
May none fall ill
May all see auspiciousness everywhere
May none ever feel sorrow
Om Peace Peace Peace

Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle to balance the vata dosha

Yoga and Ayurveda are separate branches in the Vedic knowledge, but are closely related and have many overlapping principles.

The word “Ayurveda” is created of two Sanskrit words – “Ayuh” and “Veda”. “Ayuh” suggests that life or longevity, and “Veda” suggests that sacred knowledge or science.

I first came in touch with Ayurveda around two years ago. At that time, with the challenges of being a new mother, I was suffering from the effects of a poor lifestyle and diet. I was at my heaviest weight and biggest size in my life. In addition, I was constantly feeling tired and short-tempered.

Desperate to slim down, I began to try out various fad diets such a “low carb”, “keto” and “paleo”. However, none of them were sustainable and I ended up in an unhealthy cycle of restricting my diet, followed by eating everything I could see in sight. In addition, when I was following these fad diets, I constantly felt bloated even though I was eating mostly whole foods. I was constantly bloated and the poor digestion negatively affected my mood as well.

I continued to be in this “yo-yo” diet until I chanced upon an article on eating the Ayurvedic way. The article described the concept of eating for your “dosha”, in order to aid your digestion and to feel balanced internally. I was intrigued by this new concept and decided to find out more.

“Dosha”, which is a foundational theory of Ayurveda, refers to the energetic forces of nature. There are three types of “dosha” – vata, pitta and kapha – and each dosha influences our bodily functions in a specific manner, and is made up of predominantly two elements.

  • Vata: Air and ether (space)
  • Pitta: Fire and water
  • Kapha: Water and earth

All three doshas can be found in everyone, but in different proportions. I inferred that I was predominantly of a vata dosha, as I have a small frame and my skin tends to be dry. I am also anxious and quick tempered.

I finally understood why I was constantly feeling bloated and sluggish even though I was eating somewhat healthily. My diet consisted of a lot of cold food (eg. salads and cold fruits), was heavy on animal protein and limited in carbohydrates. All these were considered cold, dry and light foods, which aggravates the vata dosha. In addition, I was also eating a lot of leftover food due to the lack of time to cook. Ayurveda considers leftover food to be devoid of prana and are hard to digest.

A diet to keep vata in balance (i.e. a vata pacifying diet) should consist of foods with the following qualities:

  • Warm
  • Moist
  • Grounding

In addition, the vata diet favours foods that taste sweet, sour and salty, whereas pungent, bitter and astringent foods should be minimized.

A sample day of eating on a vata-pacifying diet, adapted to suit the food choices available in Singapore, may look something like the following:

Breakfast: Oatmeal cooked with milk and warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg / Kaya and butter toast with soft boiled eggs

Lunch: Chicken congee / Mung dal with chapati

Dinner: Yong tau foo soup with beehoon / Chicken stew

Once I started replacing the cold salads with warm and fresh meals, as well as drinking warm water throughout the day, my digestion worked way better (too much information, but I started having bowel movements almost on a daily basis instead of once every three or more days). I also started using ghee (clarified butter) in cooking, and even in my morning dose of matcha tea. I found that ghee has a lubricating effect on my digestive system, and I like the buttery taste and texture it lends to the dishes (especially eggs).

As I read up more about Ayurveda, I discovered that diet is not the only way to keep your dosha in balance. Daily lifestyle habits and routines are, too, crucial in balancing the dosha.

I learnt that having a routine makes vatas feel grounded. As such, I started to incorporate some routines into my daily life, some of which I still practise up until today.

  • I try to maintain consistency in my waking and sleeping time, as well as meal times. I try not to eat after 7pm and to sleep by 10pm. Initially I was really strict with this and bailed out on many intimate family meals or outings. Overtime, I have learnt that it is even more important to relax and just go with the flow of life, and to trust myself to be able to get back on track.
  • Get ample rest, physically and mentally! I started to reduce the intensity of my workouts, opting out from my daily circuit training when I feel my anxiety kicking in.
  • Having a basic morning routine, starting with tongue scrapping and oil pulling to help my body eliminate toxins.
  • Have a simple wind-down routine at night. I try to minimize screen time an hour before bed and do some light stretching to prompt my body that its time for bed.

Understanding my dosha through Ayurveda has helped me tremendously in coping with my digestion and stress in life. I’m positive that coupled with my more regular yoga practices these days, I am on my road to achieving a calmer disposition.

What is your dosha?

 

References:

https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/learning-ayurveda/glossary-of-ayurvedic-terms/

Pratyahara: Detachment

A primary teaching Master Sree is a big advocate for, evident in his daily theory classes is to

Not be attached to anything.

Not any labels, not any religion, not any beliefs, not even memories.

With every module taught, this teaching stood still.

Pratyahara – Letting go of attachments, take only what we need, keep only what serves us, let go when the time is right.

This state of open-mindedness resonated as it is similar to us being exposed to the wide range of religions available, not excluding astrology, numerology, tarot card reading, crystal healing, fortune telling, etc. The same can be applied of the limitless diets: paleo/ keto/ raw/ vegan/ blood type or intermittent fasting advocated by everybody who achieved successes through their personal experiences.

Who is to say which is the best diet, or which is the one true god or the most accurate tarot card or fortune teller? Who is to say if eating meat is unnatural or are they meant to be eaten?

Everyone’s belief is different, everyone’s truth is different.

A sneak peek to a few thought provoking ideas mentioned in class –

Commercialized by pharma industry Popping painkillers pills for body/head ache 
Alternative idea Using natural herbs and spices to self heal
Commercialized by bottled water industry Drinking 2 litres of water daily
Alternative idea Drinking only when youre thirsty even if its 200ml
Commercialized by farmers/grocers Poultry are meant to be eaten as food
Alternative idea Animals are living things and are not meant to be consumed as food
Commercialized by all industries Love makes the world go round. We love our partners and family.
Alternative idea Only self love is the purest love. Every other love is conditional.

My takeaway from this is to keep an open mind. Don’t be attached to any of it. Take in all the information with an open heart, and make your own assessment if it will serve you and you will like to take it with you. And in time to come, when it no longer serves you, let it go.

A Clean Stomach Is The Key to Enlightenment

Detoxify! Detoxify! Detoxify!

My Guru, Paramahamsa Nithyananda, says that keeping our stomach clean is the key to establish ourselves in the ultimate understanding again and again.

 

With the divine blessings of My Guru, in December 2018, I have made a decision to change from a regular meat eating diet into a sattvic vegeterian diet and started my journey to build a yogic body through daily yoga, right sattvic diet and occasional detoxification through Nirahara Samyama.

 

The sattvic vegeterian diet has its own challenges. It wasn’t that I miss meat at all….it was more of a problem looking for pure sattvic food while we are eating outside. Little india area in Singapore is probably the only location in Singapore, where Sattvic Vegeterian food is readily available.

 

My new yogic lifestyle of starting my day with cleansing Kriyas, followed by physical Yoga in Brahma  Muhurta hours, together with Haritaki and Sattvic Diet has unlocked tremendous energy sources for me. On average, I sleep around 3 to 5 hours a day. I used to need 8 hours sleep and still felt sleepy, tired and drained out.

 

Dorisq Tan

www.FB.com/YogicBodies

YogicBodies@gmail.com

+65 9889 5654

Dorisq Tan
Building Yogic Bodies, Vedic Minds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oxygen from 1 Teaspoon Haritaki = 2 Hours Pranayama?

In Ayurvedic Medicine Haritaki is called “The King of Medicines”

 

Haritaki has many names like a lot of herbs out of India, so here are some of the other names it is known as: Abhaya, Kadukkai, Chebulic Myrobalan, Black Myrobalan, Hardh, Ink Tree, Hardad, Harar, Karakkaya, and Marathi.

 

 

Haritaki fruit has been used for thousands of years with great success in India. This wonderful fruit grows in Asia and is common in Ayurvedic Medicine. Haritaki is a great for cleansing our GI tract and building good probiotics and thus improving our immune system.

 

It is also important as a natural antibiotic, anti-fungal agent, and anti-inflammatory agent. Haritaki also helps to protect and cleanse the liver as well as to improve digestive issues such as constipation and indigestion. In Ayurveda, haritaki is said to support the “Vata” dosha.

 

In addition, Haritaki has a bunch of active compounds including healthy acids and metabolites: tannic acid, gallic acid, chebulinic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, terchebin, chebulin, behenic acid, oleic acid, sennoside, anthraquinone, mucilage, arachidic acid, and linoleic acid.

 

Uses of Haritaki
In Ayurveda, Haritaki powder is used to treat blood and digestive disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, and has been proven to be a wonderful all-natural alternative remedy for the following health conditions:

Conjunctivitis
Gout
Anemia
Dysuria
Urinary Stones
Gastrointestinal Disorders
May help lower blood sugar (Caution is advised in patients with blood disorders or hypoglycemia)
May reduce cholesterol

 

Haritaki Benefits:
Antiviral – extracts of the fruit inhibit HIV
It has laxative, purgative, astringent and restorative properties
Boosts energy
Promotes longevity
Improves memory
Improves metabolism and aids digestion
Anti-inflammatory
Enhances the five senses
Protects from oxidative stress
Aphrodisiac
Antioxidant
Mouthwash preparation using this herb’s extracts can help prevent cavities

 

Dorisq Tan

www.FB.com/YogicBodies

YogicBodies@gmail.com

+65 9889 5654

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to implement the yogic system in our daily lives? II

Ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? It is a concept that is easy to understand but not everyone is conscious of the foods they put into their bellies. Whether you live to eat or eat to live, there should be no compromise on the quality of our foods. That does not mean that the more expensive a food is the higher the quality of it, we should be looking at how it affects the body and yoga gives us some guidelines as to what food are more suitable for a stronger, healthier and cleaner body.

In yoga, we divide food into saatvic, rajasic and tamasic. Saatvic food are mainly food that increase vitality, energy, vigour, health and joy, and are categorized as food that are fresh and organically produced, eaten in as natural a state as possible. Rajasic food are food that overstimulate the body and bring a restless state of mind, such as heavily spiced food. Lastly, tamasic food are said to be food that make a person lazy and dull like meat, fish and all intoxicants.

It is clear to see that yoga encourages that shift towards a vegetarian diet. But as mentioned earlier, these are purely guidelines to help you understand why these food are better suited for the body since they help bring more clarity to the mind and introduce less toxins to the body. It is not a preach to convert all humans to become vegetarians but for everyone to strive towards showing more love towards their body and thus choosing the right kinds of food to nourish it appropriately.

So the next time you are choosing between reaching for those 3 servings of meats to eat with your rice, why not try 1 or maybe even 2 servings of vegetables instead? Start small. There is no need to entirely cut other types of food. But the idea here is to reduce your intake of rajasic and tamasic food to replace with more saatvic ones as much as possible. Give it a month or two, see the change it brings to your body and mind, and hopefully you would feel the lightness it brings and come to love the food that nature has provided for us all this time in the purest and most natural ways.

Yogic Principles in Daily Life – Part 2

Years ago a yoga teacher once told me that “Yoga without the breath is just a circus act”. This really resonated with me at the time and solidified early on in my practice, how integral the breath is when practicing yoga.

During my TTC I learnt that not only is yoga without the breath a circus act, but yoga without following the yogic principles is a circus act too. It’s not just all about the asanas, to be a true yogi you must abide by certain code of conduct. There are 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga, the first of the Yamas (qualities in which a yogi should have) is Ahimsa, or non-violence.

Non-violence towards others in the most obvious way means not to physically harm or injure others, but as well as that maintaining an attitude that does not harm others also. If you can do Tittibhasana and Sirsasana perfectly but then go out into the world belittling others, you become part of the circus act.

Ahimsa means no cruelty towards animals. This aspect of the Yamas is why a large portion of yogis are vegetarians and vegans. In regards to animals, Sree taught us that ahimsa also means not keeping fish in small tanks or birds in cages. In those cases we are trapping the animal just for our viewing pleasure, and thus it is of a violent nature.

I am already a vegetarian so can fully understand this aspect of ahimsa. The biggest aspect of ahimsa that I will integrate into my daily life, is the violence towards myself. Just as I wouldn’t go out into the world and speak negatively to other people, I mustn’t do the same to myself. I definitely notice in my yoga practice if I cannot do a pose I will speak negatively towards myself, but am aiming to culture a more positive attitude and integrate ahimsa towards myself into my daily life.

And I have to admit that having a few injuries along the way has really helped me to practice ahimsa towards myself!

Yoga practitioner must be a vegetarian?

After practicing yoga for quite some time and learning yoga philosophy many thoughts about vegetarianism are hitting my head. Especially I am concerned even more because I eat meat regularly and quite like the taste.

 

I heard from someone that if you are a vegetarian your body gets more optimized for yoga practice.

 

But why do we have to be a vegetarian?

If the determination to become a vegetarian is because many yoga practitioners do so then it wouldn’t be lasting long.

 

But then why yoga practitioners don’t eat meat?

I figured out 2 of the reasons.

 

  1. Karma

It says if we eat meat then all the negative feelings before animal dies would be absorbed to our body. Therefore they don’t eat meat because it distracts the energy for breathing and Asana.

 

  1. Ahimsa

Ahimsa means non violence and no destruction of life.

It’s one of the philosophy that yoga practitioner should follow. It can’t be even imagined how big violence eating meat is to animals.

You could say that I didn’t cause the direct violence to animals but they were killed to be eaten for human, meat eater could be a ground for the violence.

 

But the reason yoga people are vegetarian is not only for the body.

Vegetarianism is just one of the things that we follow the philosophy of yoga.

The more important things than being a vegetarian are that all the things such as spirits, thoughts, action, sympathy and etc. that we do in our daily life.

If you are a vegetarian who don’t feel the love of animals inside you then it’s just not real.

 

Before writing this post I have thought of my diets and usual thoughts.

And questioned myself if I feel sympathy consistently in my life and am able to become a sincere vegetarian that I want from a deep bottom of my heart?

 

To be honest the answer is not yet.

But as a person who loves yoga, I will try to implement things yoga pursues to my life step by step. I think it might be a good idea to take a moment and think about animals when I eat meat.

 

But if you want to grow physically and spiritually through yoga, and something from your heart whispers then you can simply start vegetarianism now!