I wanted to pick up on a short exchange from the comments to the last post, concerning diet, and expand on it a little.
In his December Newsletter Ramaswami tells of the Pandava's magic pot from The Mahabharata.
'ThePandavas were in the forest incognito as per the conditions of their exile. The Pandavas with their mother Kunti were hiding in the forest for a year. They prayed to lord Krishna for food as they were not wanting to be seen openly in the forest looking for food. The Lord gave them a vessel which had the ability to give one meal a day for the family. Kunti used it to feed her sons, the Pandavas, every day with the limited food from the vessel. The cooking vessel would be washed with water and thereafter they could get food only on the following day. So the Pandavas, like yogis, were eating once a day.
roselil ask this question, in my comments section to this post,
"So the Pandavas like yogis were eating once a day."
Are yogis only eating once a day? Did Ramaswami elaborate on this fact or anything else regarding yoga practice and food during your TT?'
and my rushed response,
'He did indeed roselil, lots of little bits here and there. He told us that Krishnamacharya stressed taking control of your diet and that came up too in Krishnamacharya's's Yoga Makaranda,
'Food must be eaten in measured quantities'.
Ramaswami mentioned the next bit from the Makaranda a couple of times,
'... fill the stomach until it is half full. After this leave a quarter of the stomach for water and the rest empty to allow movement of air'. then he (K ) writes something interesting, ' For example, one who normally has the capacity to eat 1/4 measure of food should eat 1/8'.
So I guess he's suggesting we eat half as much as we used to. K then goes on to talk about satvic foods and avoiding Rajistic foods. ( I was wrong here, it's actually not that we eat half as much but that we eat half our capacity....of course if we usually fill ourselves up every mealtime then it would mean eat half as much).
Ramaswami mentioned that yogi's would eat once a day, in fact, I seem to remember he said they they would eat every third meal. So I guess, one day it would be breakfast, the next lunch, the next dinner. We found that funny because there was hardly any food on campus so we often ended up skipping meals.
Recently, on her blog, V quoted her teacher (certified) as saying ' You should eat enough to sustain your practice'. I thought that was nicely put.
My eating habits haven't been good recently, you've got me thinking perhaps I'll go back to eating once a day, maybe even the one in three thing and post on it.'
Ramaswami writes a little about diet in his excellent book, Yoga for the three stages of life. In the Mantrayoga chapter he writes about Kriyayoga which he says is '... a purification process of the aspects of body, speech and mind.' Diet, I guess, comes under the purification of body. He refers, too, to Tapas, which can refer to a '...well planned regimen of purification.' But he notes that '...tapas as austerity, should not be such that it does affect the humours of the body; one does not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater'. He also mentions that some yogic texts warn against extreme fasting, occasional fasting is OK, but not, say, forty days, not for a yogabhyasi. He sums it up thus, 'In short tapas in relation to food is taking satvic food in moderation and offering it to God'.
I've been concerned with my own diet recently, I used to eat in moderation and there was the short lived Macrobiotic experiment a little while ago, abandoned when I had to have a back tooth removed and couldn't chew. I didn't go back to it because, frankly, I wasn't that impressed. I'd hoped it would be of benefit to my practice but I actually felt heavy, uncomfortable, I was glad to abandon it. Perhaps if I'd stuck with it longer... , I know of a couple of Ashtangi's who seem to practice quite happily on a macrobiotic diet but it's not for me.
With the tooth being removed I lived for a few days on Sainsbury's trifle and Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche Ice cream. Since then, for some reason, I've been eating a lot of junk and have been thinking that it was time to 'take control of my diet' again. The 'Yogi's eat once a day' quote was another reminder.
So as an EXPERIMENT/exploration
Cut out the junk, the eating between meals, the snacking
Eat twice a day, breakfast and dinner
Eat once a day.
Hmmm, what do you think a late lunch or early dinner?
Eat every third meal (very curious about exploring this).
So I'm a little Confused how this works and need to check with Ramaswami, I think it means that one day you eat Breakfast, the next day Lunch and then the third day Dinner. Something like that but can't remember how it was worked out as one in three meals.
Somewhere between step two and five work on cutting down to the 1/2 full, 1/4 water, 1/4 air idea.
Like I said, just an EXPERIMENT, as well as imposing a little discipline to take control of my diet again. Not recommending or suggesting anyone else try it.
If this is going to be an experiment I suppose I should mention weight. I've tended to be around 76/77 kilo for the last couple of years ( on the TT course I went down to 75 kilo but that was due to a lot of Yoga and very little food on campus). I noticed on Tuesday I'd crept over 78 which surprised me until I thought about it and realised I'd been eating a lot of junk recently. After a couple of days of the two meals a day step I'm back to 76.7 as of this morning. Oh, before I started yoga three years ago I was 94 kilo. Must say, practice felt great at 75 but I'm not sure I'd want to drop much below that.
Only three weeks until Christmas, be unsociable to practice this then. I started eating just twice a day Thursday so, switch to once a day this coming Thursday and then the once every three meals the following week. Bit of a short experiment, should have waited until the new year. Perhaps this will be a preview and I'll explore it again in the new year.
Anyway, I've gone ahead and lumped Step one and two together, cut out the junk and snacking and cut down to two meals a day (except for Sunday).
I've never really looked that closely at the whole satvic, rajistic food thing, glanced at it and figured that, as a vegetarian, my diet was satvic enough to be going on with and left it at that. Ramaswami mentions a commentator on the Yoga Sutra's who says 'Tapas is partaking of food that is hita or nourishing, easily digestible (that eleiminates macrobioics surely), and basically satvic.'
Here's a straight forward, one page, link to what is and isn't satvice, rajistic and tamastic. I'm pretty much OK but for the eggs, which I don't plan on giving up without a fight anytime soon, oh, and fishfinger sarnies.
My best tip so far for eating just the two meals a day? A bowl of Jumbo rolled oats for breakfast, been keeping me going until dinner since Thursday without too much effort just enough discipline called for to allow me to feel a little pleased with myself for resisting the work chocolate machine.