Well-known and loved yoga guru, Julie Montagu, explores the relationship between diet and yoga and reveals what works for her
If you’ve ever practiced yoga then you may already know that what you eat can have a great influence on how your body reacts to your workout. Changing your diet to go hand in hand with your yoga practice will not only help to improve your physical fitness but will also help you boost your emotional and spiritual well-being. It is a common belief among those who practice the discipline of yoga that a vegetarian diet is the most fitting for the lifestyle. Many also choose to take this one step further and eliminate all animal products from their diet as well as stimulants like alcohol and tobacco. However, that isn’t to say that all people follow this belief and it is definitely not a pre-requisite for taking up yoga.
For those who are just starting out in yoga and want to embrace the dietary beliefs as they begin, it may be challenging if a meat based diet has always been the norm for them. For these people, it is best to slowly reduce the amount of animal products being consumed. By doing this, any person can find reasonable substitutes that will ensure they are still fulfilling their nutritional requirements.
Within literature about yoga, the foods which are considered to be of great worth to the body are referred to as “Sattvic”. This term basically translates to mean “pure” and will not only be high in nutritional value but will generally be easy to digest. On the other hand, foods which are seen as impure and with the potential to cause our bodies harm are known as “Tamasic”, which essentially means “stale”.
When a person takes the decision to make such lifestyle changes, they often discover new things about fitness and nutrition that they either weren’t aware of before or simply had no interest in. However, for those who gradually move into a vegetarian diet, only to find that vegan is the next logical step, incorporating raw and plant based foods is frequently the next. It is a commonly accepted fact that cooking food dramatically reduces the nutritional value. Therefore ensuring that fresh fruits and vegetables are included in any dietary change is a great way to really see and feel a positive difference in your body.
For people who have practiced yoga for many years and who have a deep interest in the discipline, an Ayurvedic diet is something they have experimented with. The Ayurvedic diet teaches that different body types should consider different diets depending on their physique. This teaching refers to the different body types as doshas and by finding out which one your body most closely correlates to you can easily begin eating the appropriate foods in the appropriate way. These different doshas account for digestion, circulation and exercise level variations amongst other things.
FIVE FOODS JULIE CAN”T LIVE WITHOUT:
1) Chia Seeds
2) Dark Green Leafy veg (Kale, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce)
3) Turmeric ( I put it in everything!)
4) Green Tea
About Julie: Prior to becoming a yoga instructor Julie studied in New York with Baron Baptiste, the founder of the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Institute. She then went on to train with two other Baptiste teachers before she travelled to Tattvaa Yogashala Rishikesh in India to learn more from Kamal Singh. As for nutrition, Julie is a Certified Holistic Health Counsellor through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and also has a certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University.