Prana refers to the life-force or the vital energy, which is responsible for all the functions, physical and mental, in the human being. Ayama refers to the ability to control your body by stretching, expanding, and elaborating. Hence, pranayama refers to the control of prana by stretching it. Breathing is the means through which control of prana is brought about. While in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, breathing is emphasized in pranayama practices; in Hatha Yoga, retention or kumbhak is emphasized. In fact, Swatmarama in Hatha Pradipika refers to eight varieties of kumbhak, instead of pranayama. These eight varieties are as follows:
- Choose wholesome foods that look fresh and colourful, and try to buy organic where possible.
- Eat only when hungry
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly
- Eat only ¾ of your capacity
- Eat calmly and consciously and only when emotionally balanced
- Allow time in between meals so that you can digest the last meal properly before you eat again.
- Mid-day meals should be the main meal of the day as this is when digestive ‘fire’ is at its peak. Allowing 4-6 hours between lunch and dinner and eating a light evening meal.
- Take time to relax after eating.
- Sip room temperature water with meals.
- Eat fresh local grown foods whenever you can.
- Avoid eating stale and leftover food, as it is the biggest source of oxidants
- Do not eat fruits immediately after meals.
- Do not drink large amounts of water just before/after meals; take a little amount of water with food if required.
- Avoid overeating as well as under eating
- Do not skip meals because it can aggravate the liver and bile secretions. And do not eat if you don’t feel hungry, and if it is during meals time – you can have fruits or water.
- Do not eat food too quickly; chew it properly.
- Avoid swimming, running, stair climbing and sex just after having food (any physical activity).
- Do not divide your attention by reading, watching TV, working while eating food.
- Regular daily elimination is must.
- Avoid taking milk or yogurt with sour or citrus fruits.
- Avoid eating fruits together with potatoes or other starchy foods.
- Avoid eating melons and grains together.
- Honey should never be cooked. Honey digests slowly when cooked and the molecules become a non-homogenized glue which adheres to mucous membranes and clogs subtle channels, producing toxins. Uncooked honey is nectar. Cooked honey is poison.
- Do not eat meat protein and milk protein together. Meat is heating and milk is cooling so they counteract one another, disturb agni and produce ama.
- Milk and melons should not be eaten together. Both are cooling, but milk is laxative and melon is diuretic, and milk requires more time for digestion.