posture systems in studio or book-driven packages are now practiced
by over 16 million people in the US. That's about one out of sixteen
Americans, a pretty good slice of the American quiche. And half
of the general population (110 million) would like to try yoga
to some degree. Next to gardening, yoga is the most preferred
expression of low-impact exercise. Millions more spice up their
exercise efforts with a few yoga stretches and twists that generate
a nuerochemical buzz of vitality, toned muscle and organ health
and a rather surprising sense of transpersonal centeredness.
you combine gardening and yoga, you sum up with a culinary synergy
that is pretty potent: the spirit of yoga and food. Sort of
like the first time Christian monks who, following the fad of
flavored alcohol, fiddled around with combining liquors with
medicinal herbals. Thus was created two very prized formulas
that are served as digestives in all fine restaurants and bars:
Benedictine (devised to combat malaria) and Chartreuse.
and yoga is a marriage of many facets, both ancient and contemporary:
spices and bodily health, liquids and body temperature, dairy
products and quality of mind, whole foods and metabolic performance,
carbohydrates and joint flexibility. Are all of these solid
truths? No. Many are myths—as identified in articles in several
yoga magazines—that have cropped up in the somewhat fickle fields
of yoga and food. For example, there is the admonition: don't
eat pancakes or potatoes or pasta because you will stiffen up.
Or don't drink iced tea or coffee, or in fact, don't drink any
chilled liquid—it won't cool you down, but will heat you up.
But, in fact, as many yoga practitioner nutritionists or diet
guides point out, these are diet guidelines unique to each individual.
Many yoga practitioners can eat a ton of potatoes and still
have knees and ankles as flexible as ball-bearing joints. Others
will definitely feel a stiffening. And therefore need to moderate
a bit. Many people who practice yoga love to cool down by a
chilled favorite beverage. And they do feel a lot cooler afterward,
a wonderful whole body somatic/psychologic chilling down. If
you want to test this out, try drinking warm water when you
are really hot, and see if it cools you down. Then try drinking
a chilled beverage. Which works?
you rummage around any serious yoga texts, you find diet recommendations
are moderately to intensely spartan. This is because serious
yogis, or yoginis, were serious disciplinarians. Many would
only drink milk each day. Others just some pea soup (dhal in
India). Think of St. Anthony on top of the pillar and you get
the idea of this kind of discipline. So, what grew out of the
contemporary (1890's to present) yoga community is a very accommodating
let's-be-balanced approach to diet and a yoga lifestyle. It
is pretty much a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian, whole food diet
that in some schools may include using Indian-origin spices
along with European spices as change catalysts to certain body/mind
types (Ayurveda—science of life—a medicinal model from India).
The American Yoga Association has developed a food pyramid that
nicely illustrates this diet paradigm. The pyramid includes
the critical proportions of protein necessary for daily regenerative
are many artisan businesses that now cater to the great variety
of people who practice a variety of yoga system. These are individuals
who like to enjoy gourmet dining, but are also conscious of
their lifestyle that includes the subtle body/mind responses
of yoga. Organic purveyors of spices, such as Om
Organics offer the full range of spices that create
blended magic in Indian curries or Euro-sauces.
of the yoga studios and body work studios around the Bay Area
integrate diet guidance into their course work in a formal or