A period of mindful eating and meditation
It’s that time of year again. Over the next nine days, Hindus around the world will observe Navaratri, a festival commemorating the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura.
Navaratri also marks the start of the festival season in India.
Durga is considered one of the most powerful deities in Hindu mythology. During this period, the faithful will observe prayer, meditation and practice a form of fasting (intermittent or without meat and without alcohol).
The science of Navaratri
Humanitarian and educational NGO Art of Living Foundation explains the science behind Navarathri.
Ancient vedic pujas (prayer)for the welfare, peace and prosperity of every living being on the planet, takes place over nine days at the organization’s main ashram in Bangalore, led by revered yogi Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Divine blessings are invoked so that everyone obtains wisdom and the following three shaktis:
- Ichsha Shakti – Will
- Kriya Shakti – The power to perform the right deed
- Jnana Shakti – Knowledge of the good deed
Intermittent fasting and the Sattvik diet
During these nine days, staunch devotees can opt for intermittent fasting (upvas) and can switch to a sattvik diet, which brings the body into an optimal state for meditation.
Although meditation and yoga are best practiced on an empty stomach. But mindful eating will help the body retain the benefits of meditation and yoga practice.
In the practice of yoga, there are three types of food that have varying qualities and health effects: sattvic, rajasic and tamasic.
The Sattvik diet is basically a vegetarian diet based on Ayurvedic principles and is popular among yoga enthusiasts. It includes fresh produce and nuts, which is why this diet may have several health benefits.
The word “sattvic” means “pure essence”, and its foods are said to be pure and balanced, providing feelings of calm, happiness and mental clarity.
The diet also discourages the use of a few plant foods, such as garlic and onion. While Ayurveda recognizes onions and garlic as blood purifiers, it regards onion as tamasic in nature (makes people irritable) and garlic as rajsic in nature (disturbed sleep and drains energy).
The sattvic diet is quite restrictive, with many healthy foods prohibited, but it is the recommended diet for spiritual seekers.
Rajasic foods, according to the principles of Ayurveda, have a stimulating effect on the mind and body.
These foods are believed to stimulate aggression, passion, fire, imbalance of emotions and energy, alter consciousness and create depression.
According to Ayurveda, it is believed that people who cannot stay still or are always moving are more attracted to rajasic food. This restlessness occurs because they are stuck in the past or think too much about the future.
Examples include fish, eggs and chicken, strong spices, salt, brinjal (eggplant), onion, garlic, radish, tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, etc. .
Tamasic foods are believed to have a slowing effect on the body and ultimately promote laziness.
Instead of nourishing, these foods, according to the Vedic understanding of nutrition, lower our resistance to disease, cloud the mind and promote negative emotions. They block energy flow and produce harmful toxins.
Examples of tamasic foods include meat, fish, onions, garlic, mushrooms, overripe and underripe fruits and vegetables. Additionally, certain fermented foods like vinegar, bread, pastries, cakes, alcohol, and even leftovers and stale foods are considered tamasic.
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