The Making of a Hata Yogi: Eating Right
Week 6The Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program is an endeavor to bring back classical yoga in its purest form and to train teachers who can impart this phenomenally powerful science. The second training program began on 22nd July 2013, and in this series, we will be following the participants through their exciting 21-week journey.
In Week Six of the program, we take a look at what the participants are eating – and why.
As the program continued into the sixth week, the participants of the Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program kept up their training with a series of asanas, learning to be precise and conscious with each movement. However, while the practices are intense and arduous, the schedule has included quite a lot of fun. On Krishnashtami day for instance, the group played a lot of games: they had to try and hit a swinging pot blindfolded and clamber up a slippery, greased pole and somehow reach the top.
Later in the week, the participants enjoyed half a day’s excursion to Kovai Kutralam waterfalls. They were leaving the ashram for the first time since the program started. On the bus, they played the drum, sang songs, played dumb charades and generally had a whale of a time. The picturesque falls were so inviting, everyone was knee deep in the water at once. The men devised their own game by sliding off slippery rocks straight into the water. Everyone swam about, splashing and many simply stood under the water, letting it flow all over them. One participant described it as “a first class neck, shoulder and back massage.” The magnificent views of the peaks around were inspiring, a beauty which spilled over into the rest of the day. Participant Marie shares that “the evening practice was a reverberation of that lovely day – intense and deep.”
As the participants go through the program, they are finding that even the smallest aspects have been thought of and tailored to their needs. Everything has been oriented to enhance body, mind, emotions and energy to a state of maximum receptivity. Naturally, food plays a very significant role in this endeavor. Sadhguru tells us: “Taking care of the food, what you take into the system is important, as important as sadhana.”
Accordingly, the participants are given a nutritious diet that includes fresh salads and fruit, as well as the occasional special dinner that tingles the taste buds. In addition, there are a few inputs that stand out: in the mornings, they take honey and small balls of neem and turmeric; in the afternoons, they are given kollu or horsegram soup.
Sadhguru speaks about these vital inputs:
Consuming honey will bring a certain balance to the circulatory system which is very essential for a yoga practitioner. Because you are pushing the body in certain ways, it is important that your blood chemistry is in a good place so that the body doesn’t have to make any absurd changes to adjust to the chemical disproportion. Keeping the blood pure and the chemistry in a certain balance will definitely happen with regular consumption of honey. It is very necessary for someone who practices yoga.
Turmeric also does similar things: it purifies the blood and brings a translucence to your energies. Turmeric is one substance which not only works on the physiology, it also has a very big impact on your energy system. It creates a purification process in the blood, body and energy system. You can use it as a purificatory even from outside. If you just take a small pinch of turmeric, put it into a bucket full of water and pour it over your body, you will see the body will be vibrant. When people look at you, it looks like you are glowing.
Neem is a very unique tree. A neem leaf has over 150 different kinds or formats of chemistry. It is the most complex leaf that you can find on the planet and it has particular benefits in opening up the system. In India, if you have psychological problems, they “thrash” you with neem leaves. If you have a toothache, we use a smaller stick. If you catch very bad infections, we put you on neem leaf. If you want to prevent cancer, we put neem paste into you. Above all, it generates heat in the body. Generation of heat in the body is supportive for generating intense forms of energy within the system.
Horse gram is one of the most protein-rich lentils found on the planet. It is very high-powered. Horse gram also helps with ushna and generates a tremendous amount of samath prana, increasing heat in the body. In English, ushna translates as heat, and sheeta translates as cold or cooling. But that is not an appropriate translation. Suppose you are in a state of ushna, the body feels very hot. But if you measure your temperature with a thermometer, it will read normal. However, in your experience the body feels hot. That means you are in a state of ushna. For a hata yogi, it is particularly important to stay slightly oriented towards ushna because if you are on the colder side, you become prone to injuries.
The Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program is an unparalleled opportunity to acquire a profound understanding of the yogic system and the proficiency to teach Hata Yoga. For more information, visit www.ishahatayoga.com or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: Isha’s latest ebooklet, Food Body, looks at the kind of foods the body is most comfortable with and explores the most appropriate ways of consuming such foods. The 33-page booklet is a first step to tune into your body and figure out what suits it best.
The book is available on a “name your price” basis. Pay what you want and download it.