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Yoga and Food

Āhāra is Sanskrit term of food. According to Ayurveda, food is the life of living beings. Hence all livings are cautious about food. Importance of food in human life is stated in bellow verse,

प्राणाः प्राणभूतामन्नमन्नं लोकोsभिधावति ।
वर्णः प्रसादः सौस्वर्यं जीवितं प्रतिभा सुखम् ।
तुष्टिः पुष्टिर्बलं मेधा सर्वमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम् ॥ चरक. सूत्र. २७

prāṇāḥ prāṇabhūtāmannamannam loko bhidhāvati |
varṇaḥ prasādaḥ sousvaryam jīvitam pratibhā sukham |
tuṣṭḥ puṣṭrbalam medhā sarvamanne pratiṣṭhitam || Caraka. Sūtra. 27

Tr. Food is life of living beings, hence all the living beings wary for their daily food. Complexion, voice, strength, satisfaction, knowledge, happiness, etc are dependent of the food which is consumed. 

Hence food is considered as one of the sub pillar of human body. Accordingly, what to eat, what not to eat, rule of eating food, types of food, etc topics are discussed in Ayurvedic treatises.

Simple rule of for eating is mentioned in Caraka Saṁhitā,

तच्च नित्यं प्रयुञ्जीत स्वास्थ्यं येनानुवर्तते ।
अजातानां विकाराणामनुत्पत्तिकरं च यत् ॥ चरक. सूत्र. ५

tacca nityam prayuñjīta svāsthyam yenānuvartate |
ajātānām vikārāṇāmanutpattikaram ca yat ||

Tr. Food which is useful for healthy and which will not create some diseases, should be included in diet.

Eightfold Procedure

To determine the quality of food Ayurvedic treatises have discussed eight parameters. It is known as aṣṭavidha āhāra vidhī viśeṣāyatana.

Those are,

- Prakṛti (nature of food)
- Karaṇa (preparation method)
- Sanyoga (combination of two or more than two food items)
- Rāśi (quantity)
- Deśa (habitat of food),
- Kāla (seasons and time of consumption)
- Upayoga sansthā (rules of consuming food)
- Upayoktā (person who is going to eat food)

    Another simple rule for having food is given by Caraka.

    उष्णं, स्निग्धं, मात्रावत्, जीर्णे, वीर्याविरुद्धम्, इष्ट देशे, इष्टसर्वोपकरणं, नातिद्रुतं, नातिविलम्बितम्, अजल्पन्, अहसन्, तन्मना भुञ्जीत, आत्मानमभिसमीक्ष्य सम्यक् ... । च. वि. १

    uṣṇam, snigdham, mātrāvat, jīrṇe, vīryāviruddham, iṣṭadeśe, iṣṭasarvopakaraṇam, nātidrutam, nātivilambitam, ajalpan, ahasan, tanmanā bhuñjīta, ātmānamabhisamīkṣya samyak …| Ca. Vi. 1

    Tr. One should eat hot, enough oily food in appropriate quantity, sitting at desired place and position, with necessary instruments; one should not eat very slowly or very fast; one should eat food without talking and without laughing; by understanding own capacity and nature one should eat food with engrossed mind.

    In this way food plays an vital role for human body and so included in the beginning of sub pillars of human body. More details about food will be discussed in the separate article ahead.

     

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