Although there is not a specific diet that is considered a yoga diet, there are different yogi philosophies wherein certain foods are eaten and others are avoided. Practitioners who pay attention to energy, or gunas, in the body often attempt to consume foods that are pro-sattvic, rather than rajasic or tamasic. Practitioners who follow Ayurvedic philosophy sometimes attempt to create balance in their bodies through equalizing their dosha, a particular body and mind type. In addition, many people take a more general approach to the yoga diet by eating a vegetarian diet or avoiding foods that are not organically grown.
When practitioners consume a diet based on the gunas, they often strive to nourish a particular guna called sattva. When sattva is nourished, the belief is that the person will experience peace and clarity as well as a balanced mind and body. This can be done through consuming sattvic foods. Sattvic foods are the simplest to digest and are often the most nourishing. Examples of sattvic foods include nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and cereal.
Other types of gunas are not as healthful for practitioners attempting a yoga diet. For example, rajasic foods are considered to stimulate the mind and the body. In some cases, they may even create a sense of anxiousness or anxiety. These foods include chili peppers, coffee, and chocolate. Other foods that are often avoided by people following the yoga diet include foods that are tamasic and considered the least beneficial to the body. These often include alcohol, vinegar, and canned or processed foods.
Some people following a yoga diet prefer to follow Ayurvedic principles. Many people will take a test to determine the foods they should eat based on their body type and how their mind works. As a result of the test, people will be assigned a dosha — a bodily humor — or a combination of multiple doshas.
Particular dosha are best nourished when the person consumes certain foods. For example, a pitta is one kind of dosha. People who are pittas should consume foods that cool the body. As a result, if a person is following this form of yoga diet, he might include fruit that is high in sugar, cucumbers, coconuts, and green leafy vegetables in his diet. Foods that help a person stay rooted and focused may be beneficial for those described as vatas, another type of dosha. A person who is categorized using the third type of dosha called kapha will consume foods that warm the body, such as chili peppers, barley, apples, and pumpkin.
At a basic level, some people consume a meatless diet as a form of yoga diet. Others may eat meat, but only eat food products that were organically grown or raised humanely. Since there is no specific yoga diet, it is up to the individual to see which diet gives his body the most energy and has the most healthful effect.