Food is an essential part of spiritual life. It is important to know what to eat and what not to eat. Food serves as a vehicle for consciousness to manifest its energy on the earthly plane. The Soul is born in a human form due to food energy. Man creates the food and food creates the man.
Food nourishes and sustains the body, so physical health is the first concern of the spirit or soul. The body is a tool of consciousness and consciousness is a tool of the soul. If the tool is in order the mission of life can be achieved.
Food is known as “Rasayan” or the chemistry of the body. “Ras’ means “liquids”, “ayan” means mixture. A particular mixture of food can promote health and vigor, another mixture of food can bring disease, weakness, decay and death. While food is an elixir to promote health and youth, it also promotes old age and death. Food is birth and food is destruction too.
We have to understand that while the body needs food, food belongs to a different element. Some foods warm the body, some cool it, some induce sleep and some wakefulness. Some foods have a curative effect and some are prone to disease. It all depends on the proper combination of different types of food.
The right mixture of different juices will create different effects. Certain combinations may be good for health while others will be harmful. There are mainly seven types of “Rasas” or food properties needed for the maintenance of health.
- Lavana – salt
- Mridu – sweet
- Snigdha – oil
- Katu – bitter
- Teekshna hot & pungent
- Amla – acid
- Ruksha – dry
Food has three basic qualities i.e. the ability to produce bile, cough and wind. This is another way to understand the effects of food on the body. According to Yoga physiology, food is responsible for these three types of secretions produced in the body. These three must be kept in balance and harmony. If their balance is disturbed the body may fall sick. Care should be taken to eat only that which will keep the functions of these three in order. Excess of any or deficiency of any may disturb the physical, emotional or mental balance. All foods have some qualities of their own. While preparing a meal for the body one should choose these discriminately according to a dietitions’ advice or individual needs.
The three basic qualities of food (ability to produce bile, cough and wind) should promote six virtues:
- Long life
- Strength of character
- Physical strength
- Freedom from disease
- Love in the heart
It is best to find out the truths for yourselves through personal experience. And although we can discuss herbs, spices and food effects in the future it is important to understand now that a little knowledge about food and exercise can save us from a lot of mental and physical health problems later.
by Ma Yogashakti