"I don't need a diet!" you might think. And you are absolutely right. You have one already.
"Proper Diet" is another of the 5 Points of Hatha Yoga. Wanna read more? Here is some stuff about "Proper" Breathing. "Diet" doesn't mean a specific way of eating to loose weight. It's our whole lifestyle including what we eat, when, how many times, where, how much, with who, why. Because let's face it: far too often we eat even if we don't feel hungry. Out of habit, out of boredom or frustration, because we are in good company, or because we feel stressed. We will find lots of reasons to eat when we think about it.
What do the yogis say?
"Proper" diet in Yogic terms means first of all: Vegetarian food as fresh and as local as possible. There isn't any meat, fish or eggs on the plate. Even though these foods might be considered as delicious and rich of nutrients, a anybody will find all he or she needs in a Vegetarian diet.
Actually because yogis follow very similar rules as most religions (although yoga is NOT defined as such). They are called the Yamas and the Niyamas. One of the "Yamas" is the one of "Not do harm".
Everybody will agree that harm as been done to an animal that we are about to eat. Hence meat and fish are out. Nowadays many follow a Vegan diet to avoid dairy products. This seems to a logic consequence when we look at the harm that is done to cows who are pure high-performance milk producers. A quick death to become the ham on a sandwich somehow sounds even more merciful than a long life as a milk cow...
Some yogis take things even further: They follow a diet that is called "Sattvic". You could translate this with "pure", "light". This diet does leave out anything that has a too stimulating effect, like strong spices, onions and even the healthy garlic.
Vegetables as fresh and as local as possible, why that?
The yogi will say: The fresher the vegetable the more Prana (life force) is in itfor the body to function and the spirit to rise. The scientist will say: The fresher the vegetable, the more nutrients are in it, available for the physical body. In a philosophical sense you can go further and include another Yama: Not Stealing. Vegetables (and many "Super foods") are grown in countries with very poor social ethics. People work in slavery-like circumstances. The idea that I am stealing (and doing harm) does indeed come to my mind when I buy and eat these foods (and yes, I do ever so often... )
It's not only about eating food
There is more to a diet than just what we eat and drink.
Why else do we have a term like "news feed"? Or "Brain Food"?
Everything we engage with - films we watch, music we listen to, the books we read, people we hang out with (hopefully soon again in person...), discussion we have - wants and needs to be digested.
You know from your own experience, that you sleep better after listening to some soothing music than after watching a horror movie (although, tastes are different... ;-) )
I, until recently, had the feeling that I was overfeeding myself by being online. I have gone already on a news-slimming-diet, and found now a new rhythm of "on- and offline-ess" between online yoga classes, keeping in touch with friends, checking new job-opportunities, etc. This keeps my "intestines" sane... :-)
The dessert is rounding up the meal
Just a little wrap-up: It's not that obvious to have a "proper" diet, isn't it? The global times we live in make it harder to get away from certain brain- or body foods.
Maybe it's a good start just to become aware what we feed ourselves with. No need for a drastic change that is forcing us into habits that are not ours.. yet. Let's just watch. And become aware when we start judging - one way or the other.
Then bit by bit cutting down on certain things will happen by itself: e.g. you switch off your phone here and there, you really enjoy 4 pieces instead of looping down a whole 100 g bar of (fair-trade .. ;-) ) chocolate... I'm sure you'll find lots of examples yourself. :-)
Whatever you feed yourself with: Do it with your whole being,
decide if you really want and NEED it.
If the answer is YES, then taste it with all your senses.
Enjoy your meal!
Wanna read more? Click here for the 5 Points of Hatha Yoga and
Here for "Proper" Breathing.