This might sound crazy but you may want to read it anyway because it could save you countless frustrating hours (or minutes) of non-stop monkey-mindfulness on your meditation cushion.
We've All Had Those Moments... Haven't We? ...
You sit down all well intentioned, ready to bust out a blissfully bad-assed meditation session only to find that your brain JUST WON'T STOP! Random, crazy (and not so crazy) thoughts popping up in your head, one after the other like a non-stop roller coaster full of monkeys.
If this kinda thing happens to you more often than not, I've got one question for you...
Do you like pizza?
Okay so that may seem like totally random question, but...it's not. Here's why
Why Quality (Not Size) Matters...
The mind and body are very closely interrelated. Which means that what we feed our bodies we're also feeding our minds. Yep, the foods we eat have the power to effect the quality of our thinking, perception, and digestion of thoughts and emotions.
So that pizza? ... it could be responsible for transforming your state of mind from a beautifully boundless blank slate to a heard of cats... or worse.
This quality of the mind stuff is no joke! Both ayurveda and yoga extoll the virtues of a pure and focused mind. In fact, ayurveda holds that all illness, disease, happiness and unhappiness begins in the mind. And her sister yoga's foundation (and purpose) is to still the fluctuations of that very same mind. So from an ancient standpoint it pretty much goes without saying that the quality of your mind determines the quality of your health and happiness.
The Three Sides Of You
Yogic philosophy recognizes three qualities of the mind. These can be thought of as mental emotional states that we pretty much constantly move into and out of.
Satva is a clear, calm, and focused state. It's the mental state that feeds curiosity, creativity, and inspiration. Rajas is an active, agitated, and controlling state. It's all about motivating, organizing and implementing. Tamas is heavy and dull, a lack of movement. It creates confusion, fogginess and a general slowing down of things.
Each of these mental states is part of our everyday experience. Each has it's place in the natural order of life. But it doesn't take much to see the benefits of extending your stay in the satvic space. Yoga and meditation are all geared towards making this happen. But even with that on your side it's important to notice how the quality of the mind affects your experience of living (off the mat or cushion) and what you can do to influence it.
Balance Your Mood With Food
Ayurveda sees food as medicine. It understands that what we consume becomes a part of us and expresses its qualities through us. So it follows that all foods can be categorized by their impacts on the mind as well as the body. In the world of Ayurveda everything you eat is either satvic, rajasic, or tamasic.
Satvic foods are... Fresh, pure, natural and vibrant. They're free of chemicals and processing, they're light, easy to digest, often sweet (naturally) and nourishing. Satvic foods help clear the mind. They promote peace, focus, balance and joy.
Satvic foods include... Most fresh veggies and fruits, honey, fresh milk, butter, whole grains, almonds, cashews, walnuts and macadamia nuts, many beans and lentils, ghee and fresh yogurt.
Rajasic foods are... Stimulating and agitating to the system, often spicy, sour, salty or bitter. In moderation they provide just the right amount of push to keep you motivated and moving, but taken in excess these foods can aggravate your mood (and your digestion) and disturb the balance.
Rajasic foods include... Peppers, garlic, tomatoes, pickles, vinegar, peanuts, citrus fruits, refined sugars, salt, eggs.
Tamasic foods are... Heavy, dull and devoid of vital energy. In moderation these foods can be grounding but overdoing it can tend to numb us out, slow us down and even lead to depression.
Tamasic foods include: Processed foods, cheese, onions, mushrooms, alcohol, meat, frozen foods, left-overs.
Keys To Satvic Success
Thing to remember is that all of this is a choice. Each of these states of mind are vital to maintaining balance. We all need inspiration, motivation and completion in our lives, the trick is getting the balance right. It starts with knowing that we're empowered, at every meal, to move towards rather than away from who we want and need to be. And if you're in need of a little inspiration, focus or harmony, it might be time to put down the pizza, and pick up a... peach!
So Tell Me...
What's YOUR favorite satvic food? Have you noticed or experienced the benefits of eating satvic? Got questions about satvic diets?
Ready to get WAY more out of this article than you bargained for...? Be in the conversation! Leave a question, thought or comment below!