What is Mitahara – the Habit of Moderate Food?

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What do you know about Mitahara?

Yoga is not only a practice but also much more – it is a whole lifestyle. More and more people are moving towards different diets that exclude eating meat, overeating, fast food, etc. However, those diets may be dangerous sometimes. 

Regarding yoga, food is an essential part of the spiritual awakening and the development of the body and mind. The yogis adopt a habit of eating, which is good for the health, and the mind. It is called Mitahara. But what is this? What’s the Mitahara meaning in English, and what are its principles? We will share it with you today!

What is Mitahara?

Mitahara in Hatha yoga means “the habit of moderate food.” It is considered to be one of the ‘yamas.’ In Sanskrit, Mita means ‘moderate,’ while ahara means ‘diet. 

But let’s get to the real explanation. This is a yogic practice focused on creating awareness of the food we consume and drink, the effects of that product on our body and mind, and the avoidance of over-consumption.

As we already said, Mitahara is one of the games, which makes it a central virtue for the philosophy of yogis. The games are considered duties and an essential part of the path of the yogis. Many people see them as the ‘behavior code’ of the practice, so they are one very valued and reliable guide for the people following the ideas behind the practice.

In practice, Mitahara is striving to keep your stomach one-fourth empty every time you are having a meal. 

Why? 

According to the concept of Mitahara, this will ensure you digest the food in the healthiest way possible. When looking at its spiritual side, this is a way of offering food to the Divine before actually consuming it.

The Mitahara living is basically the concept of having a balanced diet and consumption habits that positively affect the development of the body and the mind.

Mitahara
Photo: Brooke Lark / Unsplash

The basic principles of Mitahara

There are basic principles that stay behind Mitahara. Firstly, and most importantly, all eating habits must be mindful and conscious because they directly affect the body, mind, and soul. 

As a yogi, you should be aware of how the choices you make every day affect you. And here, we talk about any choice you make, including the food that you will be consuming today.

Secondly, according to this eating method, the food has to be of Sattvic quality. Why? Because it will release energy and develop a balance between the body and the mind. All Rajasic and Tamasic foods must be avoided because they cause fatigue, anger issues, depression, and anxiety.

Apathy, known as unwholesome food, has to be entirely removed from the diet for a healthier lifestyle and better living. As a principle of Mitahara, the diet should always be in moderation, and overheating must be avoided. During every meal, at ¼ of the stomach has to be left empty, leading to better digestion. 

Thirdly, all the food consumed has to be based on the principle of Ahimsa, which means non-violence. Non-violence food includes foods that have been developed without harm, which means that meat should not be consumed.

Mitahara
Photo: Edgar Castrejon / Unsplash

Benefits of Mitahara

Mitahara is considered to have a lot of benefits for the body, the mind, and the mental health of a person. This way of eating leads to better health and control of the mind. Furthermore, it leads to a better look at the body since unhealthy foods are not consumed. 

In addition, Mitahara promotes the relaxation of mind and body, health, and strength.

Mitahara’s way of eating will help for better digestion because the left space in the stomach makes the digestion of the food much easier. 

Furthermore, it is considered a habit of eating healthy food, which leads to removing toxins from the body.

One of the best benefits of this habit is balancing the Kapha, Vata, and Pitta in the body. This leads to a balance between the mind and the body and helps the development of the spirit. In addition, eating only moderate food will bring purity and stability on a mental level.

healthy eating
Photo: Karolin Baitinger / Unsplash

Foods to eat and avoid when practicing Mitahara

The foods eaten when practicing it are seeds, nuts, whole grains, fresh fruits and juices made of fruits, many vegetables, and herbs. It’s best if the foods are not processed, no additives and preservatives are added, and they have been grown in a healthy environment. 

The foods that must be avoided when practicing Mitahara are all kinds of meats and fish because they have been killed violently to be consumed. 

Furthermore, alcohol and caffeine must be avoided, and over-cultivated and stale items. In addition, spicy, dry, fried, and sour foods should be removed from the diet. 

As you can see, the yogic diet, also known as Mitahara, is focused on pure and moderate vegan foods. They have highly positive effects on the body and mind and work as fuel to the organism. Eating only moderate and healthy foods benefits the body and mind. 

However, small steps should be taken toward the way of Mitahara. It is unhealthy for the organism to switch directly to this kind of eating. Be patient and take it slowly, and remember – conscious and mindful eating are at the base of Mitahara.

FAQ:

What is Mitahara?

In Hatha Yoga, Mitahara means ‘the habit of moderate food’, or in other words – being aware of what you consume and eat and the effects it has on your body and mind. Mitahara is also striving to keep your stomach one-fourth empty every time you are having a meal in order to ensure you will digest the food in the healthiest way possible.

What are the basic principles of Mitahara?

The basic principles of Mitahara are the following:
– All eating habits should be conscious and mindful because they have a huge effect on the body, mind, and soul.
-All food should be of Sattvic quality because it releases energy and develops a balance between the body and mind. All Rajasic and Tamasic foods must be avoided because they result in depression, anger issues, anxiety, and fatigue. The unwholesome food must be removed from the diet.
-Overeating must be avoided, and only non-violence food has to be eaten.

What are the benefits of Mitahara?

Mitahara has many benefits for mental and physical health. It promotes relaxation of the body and the mind, it leads to better health, lower stress levels, and more strength. Furthermore, it helps for the balance between the mind and body, which leads to excessive development of the spirit.

What foods should you avoid when practicing Mitahara?

When practicing Mitahara, you should avoid all kinds of meat and fish, you should avoid over-cultivated items, alcohol, and caffeine. Furthermore, spicy, sour, dry, and fried foods should be minimized.

What foods should you eat when practicing Mitahara?

When practicing Mitahara, you should eat nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, vegetables, grans, and herbs. You should focus on non-processed foods without additives and preservatives.

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Nora Yulieva

Young, but already found my passion - writing. I love to travel, I love animals, and most - I love having the freedom to work from anywhere around the world.
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