In the Yogic tradition food has always been seen as a powerful catalyst for transformation. Influenced by the concepts of Ayurveda, many yogic schools of thought believe that food is an important way to bring balance to the mind, body and spirit. Foods that are sattvic in nature, that is – foods containing a pure essence such as fresh fruits and vegetables, are an essential part of a yogic practice. Tamasic foods such as alcohol, processed and refined foods, white sugar, meat and caffeine all deplete life force. Not only will a practice grounded in choosing organic, high life force foods strengthen the physical body and mind, it will also enhance one’s vital essence and expand consciousness.
Ayurvedic principles of nourishment recommend balancing the three doshic constitutions of vata, pitta and kapha as well as all 6 primary tastes such as sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter and pungent. But beyond traditional Ayurvedic definitions, there are many other parameters to consider in order to increase prana or life force energy in the body.
Respected alternative medical doctor, spiritual teacher, author and yogi, Dr. Gabriel Cousens M.D., has been a long time advocate of a raw food lifestyle coupled with a conscious commitment to a yogic and meditative practice. In one of his books on raw food veganism entitled Spiritual Nutrition, he explores the metaphysical aspect of food as it relates to spirituality and consciousness from a yogic perspective. Awakening Kundalini, which is an individual’s energetic potential often referred to as the “nerve of the soul” is the goal of the yogi that seeks to disengage from the negative ego mind through meditation. High vibrancy foods are one of the essential transformational tools to facilitate this.
In his dietary paradigm he recommends foods that are certified organic, raw, vegan, highly mineralized, low in sugar and hydrating with moderate food intake and occasional fasting. What is most interesting is the concept known as Subtle Organizing Energy Fields based on a premise that all life forms are surrounded by an energy field that can either be organizing and energizing as is the case with organic or biodynamic foods or disorganizing and dispersing as is the case with irradiated, processed and pasteurized foods. Dr. Cousens believes that the SOEFs of foods influence both the physical and the pranic body and that “the dissipation of the SOEFs yields imperfect cell replication, poorer enzymatic function, decreased capacity for biological transmutation and increased tendency toward chronic disease.” Obviously this is a lengthy topic in itself, but the takeaway is that when we eat high life force rich foods that are low glycemic we enhance the inherent organizational capacity of the body from both a physical and an energetic standpoint. In terms of practical application, incorporating more raw, organic, high fibre and high water content plants into the diet is a great place to start. Foods such as celery, leafy greens, sprouted foods, and all non-sweet fruits such as avocados, cucumbers and bell peppers should be daily staples.
Integrating a rainbow diet is of great importance in order to obtain a wide range of colours. Plant pigments contain a diversity of antioxidants, which are essential for cellular health and from a yogic perspective these intense colours will strengthen and balance the 7 chakras or energy centres in the body thereby facilitating energetic alignment.
Red, orange, yellow and golden foods will support the first, second and third chakras such as organic goji berries, camu camu berries, pomegranates, lucuma fruit, sea buckthorn berries and sprouted chia and flax seeds. Green and blue foods will enhance the fourth and fifth chakras such as chlorella, spirulina and blue green algae while the most powerful blue foods are blueberries and aronia berries, commonly known as chokeberries. Super foods that fit into the indigo and purple spectrum to enhance the sixth chakra are acai berries, maqui berries and heirloom non-gmo purple corn concentrate, which contains pure purple pigment with no starch. This amazing food offers 12-13 times more free radical scavenging antioxidative power compared to raw chia seeds. The seventh chakra traditionally governed by white is best nurtured with the Ayurvedic herbs Holy Basil and Gotu Kola both highly recommended for a calm and centered mind.
By balancing the energy of the chakras through nutrient dense foods, the subtle body and the kundalini will be better aligned in order to deal with the shifts that arise from the stresses of daily life. From a physiological perspective, food certainly is medicine, but it is also a powerful means to awaken the subtle body so as to experience heightened states of intuition, perception, connectedness and awareness.
Credit: Renita Rietz is a health and nutrition writer and speaker who educates on the phytotherapeutic potential of indigenous foods and plants for prevention and regeneration.