What is a Yogic body?
A Yogic body is a body that has the willingness, strength, and stamina to withstand the heat and pressure of transformative processes (or if transformation is not your bag, Life will suffice).
From the most gross perspective, one might see a Yogic body as a fit and toned human body that is able to perform what looks like very difficult feats of flexibility and strength while appearing serene. Which is partly true, and from my experience Yoga asks us to consider the ‘body’ and ask, “does it end there?”
From the perspective of Yoga the physical body is the most outward appearing aspect of our self, much like the tip of an iceberg in the Ocean. So when mistaking the physical body alone for the Yogic body, it is like perceiving an iceberg as only the small piece of lonely ice “floating” on the surface. Don’t get me wrong, physical strength and flexibility are very useful for building a Yogic body. In fact, the more tensile strength and ability to relax a practitioner has, the more likely they will be to withstand the charge in the nervous system while building a Yogic body. One way to think of a Yogic body is: the entirety of one’s integrated physical, mental, and emotional being. Plus, one’s entire body of wisdom and deeds. You can see how the iceberg analogy is not far off.
What is it good for?
A Yogic body is good for many aspects of human life:
- Emotional stability
- Mental clarity
- Communication skills
- A general sense of delight and wellbeing
** Ultimately, Yoga teaches us that a Yogic body is good for being of service in the World and to the ‘Divine Presence.’ However, if that never happens and/or you are not interested in such things, the other side effects won’t hurt to have in your life situation.
Body Chemistry, Cravings, and Mood
Food is a huge consideration for this Yogic body stuff. The process in a human that operates to build a Yogic body is chemically driven. The current chemical composition in our bodies is largely derivative of the food we eat. These chemicals and their composite interactions play a major part in our moods, thoughts, reactions, emotions, as well as the potential turning on of Yogic processes. Where unconscious, habitual and compulsive eating occurs, we tend to waste or block energy and prevent the possibility of said Yogic Processes turning on.
The source of a lot of compulsive and unconscious eating habits is a chemical signal from the gut flora to the brain. The brain forms the chemical signals into cravings and away we go for the proper ‘food’ for the source of the signal (primarily non-human cells)… read more
“If you cannot regulate your mood, you must be addicted to it.”
I know this statement sounds harsh, and that there are plenty of clinical examples to prove it wrong. That is neither the point, nor do I mean any offense to those with genuine mental illness who do not currently have the capacity to regulate their mood. What I mean is that in addition to the psychological scripts that create and maintain our moods, our habitual eating patterns most likely carry the chemicals (or trigger the chemical reactions) which we are addicted to. Very often, these chemicals and reactions cause irritation and inflammation in our body, mind, and emotions, which in turn fuels our reactivity and keeps us in a cycle of toxic behavior. From my experience this tends to be an obstacle to building a Yogic body, for I get used to diffusing and/or discharging the nervous system through food which weakens the system’s ability to hold a charge for any length of time.
** If you want to see some startling evidence of how diet affects mood and behavior, check out this article about a California prison who switched to a vegan diet and produced radical results in reducing aggression and significantly improving chances of released inmates not being rearrested… read more
What diet interferes with building a Yogic body?
- High sugar/carb
- Habitual use of addictive substances: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, etc.
- Animal protein when it is not needed
- Eating foods that one is allergic to
- High calorie and low nutrition
What diet helps to build a Yogic body?
In the beginning, a simple way to look at this is to mitigate adding unnecessary toxicity to your system. Not one diet will work for everyone. Working with principles of diet and body chemistry can help to simplify this consideration.
- Mostly vegetarian/leaning toward vegan and raw
- Low carb
- Mostly fresh cooked vegetables
- Fresh fruit
- Significant fat content from healthy fats: seeds, nuts, avocados, coconut oil
- Appropriate amounts of food
Please check out Udaya’s own Cheri Rae and Koya Web for videos on how to prepare delicious raw and vegan cuisine, snacks, smoothies, and more.
In summation I would like to remind the reader that each Yoga practitioner’s diet is a case by case basis, and we are just cracking the surface of what is possible in this consideration. Get started today! Eat well, work hard in your Yoga, and rest deeply.
By: Brent Kuecker – Yogi. Musician. Educator.