Neither too less, nor too much! djjs blog

In the Bhagwat Gita, the Lord says –

नात्यश्नतस्तु योगोऽस्ति न चैकान्तमनश्नतः।
न चातिस्वप्नशीलस्य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन।।6.16।।
naatyashnatastu yogaha asti na chaikaantam anashnataha
na chaati-svapna-sheelasya jaagrato naiva cha arjuna
[Bhagwat Gita 6.16]

O Arjuna! The gourmand, the scanty eater, the person who habitually oversleeps, the one who sleeps too little– none of these finds success in yoga.

Unbalanced states are obstacles for a yogi!
[Excerpt from Paramhansa Yogananda’s commentary on Bhagwat Gita - God Talks with Arjuna]

o   The beginner should fulfill all the normal conditions of healthful bodily existence; otherwise, physical troubles will entangle the mind and preclude the deep meditation upon which spiritual progress is dependent.

o   The sadhaka/yogi should thus abstain from all excesses, lest his body becomes an obstruction in the path of divine progress.

My guru Swami Sri Yukteshwar wisely counselled: 

“Throw the dog a bone”– give the body its due, neither pampering nor abusing it, and then forget the body. In a natural way, as the Inner Consciousness becomes spiritualised through success in yoga, the body also becomes spiritualised, and its “normal” demands gradually diminish.

What kind of food a Yogi should have?
Yoga scriptures enjoin that the aspirant should be a “proper-eatarian”; that is, he should have a balanced diet, one with sufficient protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. But overeating, even of healthy food, causes disease. Also, when the devotee tries to meditate on a full stomach, he may be conscious of the bodily load and of laboured breathing instead of the breathless joyous state of Super-Consciousness. Eating insufficiently, on the other hand, leads to physical and mental weakness.

What kind of sleep a Yogi should have?
Oversleep dulls the nervous system; too little sleep produces a tendency to sleep against one's will. Yogis point out that oversleep makes the body lazy; the throat and the nasal passages become filled with phlegm. The devotee should always keep his body free from the accumulation of excessive mucus. Loss of sleep destroys mental freshness. A dull mind cannot concentrate on the joy of the soul within. Some yogis advise sleep in the earlier part of the night; after sleep, performing ablutions, and cleaning the mouth and nostrils, the devotee should practice Kriya Yoga. [Kriya Yoga a.k.a. Brahmgyan – Eternal Science of Brahmgyan]

Sleep is spoken of as pseudo-ecstasy. Compelled by fatigue, the ego is dragged into a slumber land to experience subconsciously the state of the peaceful soul.

Avoiding all excesses in the enjoyment of the senses
 of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, the advanced yogi is able to
 go consciously beyond the state of sleep and thus
enjoy the unending bliss of the Super-Consciousness.