Yamas and Niyamas and Food


Written by Kashi Stone

In the article: managing thought-currents, the process of digestion, the environment where one eats and who prepares the food, an emphasis is delivered on how these three factors have a tremendous impact on our personal thought-field. 

When one is practicing a conscious lifestyle, none of these factors are a consideration in how the thought-field is being influenced. In fact, in the practice of Ayurvedic lifestyle, the food becomes medicine, prayer, spiritual food, especially if the one preparing food is tuned into this special, sacred lifestyle practice and applies its disciplines for nurturing others consciously. Food and thought-currents can become a very beautiful experience. 

For example, part of my life rhythm includes traveling to communities that i share an affinity with. One community in particular, an ashram, is a favorite place to visit and dine. There is one person in particular whose food I always eat when he has prepared the meal. Whenever I am near this one person, I experience a small bit of bliss and the same thing happens when I dine on the food he prepares. 

The person that I am describing doesn’t care, he is too busy creating and doing his own thing so we don’t discuss astrology, nor do we discuss belief systems nor really, anything else. We hardly speak to one another because he is deeply engrossed in his own creative thing. I can tell that he does not want to be bothered with any kind of trivial conversation nor anything that has nothing to do with his daily focus. Our discussions are always brief and to the point and only concerning practical matters at hand. 

It is so refreshing to encounter his presence when it happens in the environment. When I do see him, it is deeply quiet space and very clear – no heavy thought-currents or judgments or opinions are spinning in the air nor any attempt to hook into me.  It is the quality of the inner space of a person that influences how I feel energetically when I am near them. Everyone experiences quality of inner space, yet, most of the time they are not aware of it. 

This young man at the ashram is an avid meditator and deeply enmeshed in the teachings of a spiritual, enlightened guru. He is incredibly creative and highly intelligent. He is a joy to witness and observing his unique presence brings me great hope when I see a human behave and live in this way. 

He is also young, in his late twenties, which is another great hope for humanity as it speaks for the potential of the next generation. 

Conscious Lifestyle is perhaps the most exquisite way to live. The science of Ayurveda is based entirely upon this concept and offers fantastic tips on how to cultivate a serene, quiet, peaceful environment and the same inside one’s own mind. Through the Hindu Shastras, ancient spiritual teachings, we have Ayurveda and Veda, an ancient lifestyle science originating approximately 12,000 B.C. imparting magical keys for developing self-realization and a beautiful, exquisite, conscious way of life.

Through applying the methods that this science imparts, health and longevity is promised. From material to spiritual, Ayurveda teaches the development of universal consciousness from the subtle to gross ranges of mind, senses and physical body while working to connect with spirit. Vedas teach higher principles and provide the wisdom for how one progresses on the path towards spiritual Truth and consciousness while learning how to cultivate virtues, strength and consciousness in a calm centered, healthy being.

One of the significant teachings of Ayurveda that has made the biggest impression on me for most of my life is the practice of conscious food preparation.  Even to the point where I will take a peak into the kitchen to see who is cooking and what kind of attitude they are in before I consider eating. I may even do this if I eat in a restaurant, which rarely happens anymore. Most chefs at restaurants are angry or depressed, I have found. The way society engages in nourishing the body and mind is so far from the way humans have been designed.  

In my opinion, conscious food preparation begins with the YAMAS and NIYAMAS, the foundational branch of the science of yoga and conscious lifestyle practice as taught in the Vedas. Yamas and Niyamas are mindful actions, thoughts and feelings and the realization of how we impact reality and all that surrounds us. It also provides the infrastructure for becoming empowered and imparts the keys for empowering others. 

Humanity has one goal for existence: Self-Realization. This becomes obvious when you study astrology and go deep into the study of ancient scriptures.  We are here to learn how to control our nature, apply disciplines and transform our inner being so that we can drink deeply the elixir of higher consciousness, which naturally creates a calm, centered, balanced and blissful being. 

Through applying conscious use of Yamas and Niyamas, a powerful shift happens deep in our inner being leading us closer and closer to this glorious space of self-realization. Gradually the vibration and color of one’s emotional body changes radically. The emotional body is constantly changing in color and tonal quality according to one’s thought-field, the influence of environment and how the physical body is nourished. When applying higher principles for everyday reality, the influences of these practices transform the nervous system, the hue and color and even the fragrance of one’s aura as it changes how one perceives, reacts and thinks. 

Utilizing both of these ancient principles, Ayurveda and the Vedas for transformation guarantees a rise in consciousness and a sweet, lovely inner being that exudes the lovely space of exquisite, silent presence, much like the young man described above. 

Simultaneously, while practicing Ayurvedic kitchen practices, one is ensured that anyone dining on the food that has been prepared is going to feel absolutely wonderful and experience great ease in digesting and assimilating nutrients, without the possibility of disturbing thought-currents.

How to bring YAMAS and NIYAMAS into your everyday reality and influence the quality of food you prepare in a positive way:


1)  Visualize yourself with the qualities and attributes that you would like to cultivate in your character and then write them down. 

To change the quality of one’s subconscious mind, we must write our thoughts and visions down with paper and pen. Writing our thoughts, visions and statements on paper gives a concrete format for the subconscious mind to express itself in a manner that can be cognized by the mind and provide the momentum for movement and change.

2) Visualize yourself acting out that character that you see as your highest possibility, doing the sort of things that you consider to be the most beneficial for you, for others and for the planet and then write down what you see yourself doing and for who and why. Be sure to include activities that are for the sake of humanity or for the planet without anything in return – find ways to give your time and energy as a pure gift.

3) Later, before going to sleep, look back over the day and compare how your activities throughout the day measure in accordance to this vision and the things you wrote down on paper earlier in the day. 

Upon realizing the distinctions between your challenges and your successes with this experiment, gather the strength and awareness to train your subconscious mind away from the activities that work against your ability to create your most highest, most beautiful expression, throughout the next day.

Practice this exercise daily for 21 days and see the result of a new life experience and transformed inner being within a complete cycle. The results of this exercise are purely dependent upon applying this ritual daily for a full 21days, just as it is instructed. 

Repeat the exercise and slowly, slowly develop mindful action, speech and thought-currents throughout the day, gradually changing your inner and outer reality. This practice brings a beautiful state of integration into your being; a golden key for gaining Self-Realization, and a significant step towards enlightenment. Use the list of Yamas and Niyamas listed below, at end of article, as a guide for this process.

Ayurvedic Kitchen Practices for ease in digestion and peaceful impact:

1) The same light of consciousness exists in our food as it does within our being. Using intelligence in choosing organic, healthy foods and treating our food with reverence as we select and prepare, has a wonderful impact while dining on a meal lovingly, mindfully prepared. 

2) Traditionally, a small portion of food offered up in prayer to our favorite deity or guru before eating demonstrates our tremendous gratitude for having the opportunity to dine on delicious, nutritious food and sets the tone for a sacred environment to nourish one’s self. Including, with a reverent state of being while preparing and eating the food, disagreements are dissolved or disharmony in our being melts away and persuades a peaceful digestion process. 

3)  Never eat when upset as food becomes sour and rancid, and without nutritional value. Equally important is to eat at the same time everyday, consistently, if possible. Practicing silence is the best way to digest food however, calm, sweet conversation is good too. 

4) Cultivating gentleness in food preparation is essential and if there is any negativity at all, in thinking, words or feelings, it is important to leave the kitchen immediately and go outside, ground your energy into the earth and dissolve it out of your system. Mindful, loving food preparation is crucial for harmonious relationships in the home and with friends. It is absolutely necessary to refrain from projecting negative thoughts into the food we are preparing. 

5) Equally important is to refrain from tasting or eating the food while cooking. This causes the body and subconscious mind’s attention to go into digestion process and out of connection with higher forces that have been conjured in the state of prayer for working in the kitchen. Best to keep tummy empty and clear so that a state of prayer remains throughout the meal preparation. 

Traditional Ayurvedic Rules for the Cook:

1. Wash hands, feet and face before you enter into the kitchen to prepare food. Comb and tie hair back, too.

2. Make sure nails are clipped and clean

3.Consider taking a shower and putting on a fresh, clean outfit before preparing a meal

4. Remove all jewelry 

5. Do not taste the food while preparing the meal

6. Best to refrain from preparing food if one is menstruating

* The aura has a powerful impact when in phase of monthly moon cycle

7. Refrain from handling food or preparing food within three hours after enjoying sexual intimacy. The energies are very, very different immediately following love-making and conflict with the prayerful space of creative meal preparing. Allow the glow of love-making to settle inside before changing focus of activities.

8. A short prayer before beginning meal preparation makes a big difference. Often, I light an incense stick, wave it around the kitchen and take a moment to express my gratitude to the angelic forces assisting me with cooking while they help to instil positive vibes into the food for each guest.

9. Listen to soft, beautiful music, sweet chanting or be in silence while cooking. I like to softly sing while cooking or listen to exquisite, soft opera or piano music. My housemate turns on the best jazz music I have ever heard. I love it when he cooks. His food is the best I have ever tasted. It is divine. 

Vedic Spiritual Lifestyle Principles:

For preparing the best tasting food and for gaining the best impact on our body, mind and the people we serve food, we can apply Yamas for transforming our thoughts, feelings, actions and how we relate. We can apply Niyamas for disciplining and retraining the mind in how it thinks, perceives and operates.  Food tastes incredible prepared by those who are mindful of these lifestyle principles that are the foundation of the science of Yoga and applying them on a daily basis.

YAMAS / Proper Conduct

1) Refrain from harming others by thoughts, words or deeds (Harmlessness / ahimsa)

2) Refrain from lying and betraying promises (Truthfulness / satya) 

3) Refrain from stealing, coveting or entering into debt (Non-stealing / asteya) 

4) Control lust and maintaining faithfulness in marriage (Divine conduct / Brahmacharya)

5) Restrain intolerance and impatience with others (Patience / Kshama) 

6) Overcome fear, indecision and constant tendency to change one’s mind (Steadfastness / dhriti)

7) Overcome callous, cruel and cold feelings towards other beings (Compassion / daya) 

8) Refrain from wrongdoing and deception (Honesty, straightforwardness / arjava)

9) Refrain from over-eating and for some: no meat (Moderate appetite / mitahara) 

10) Avoid impure body, mind and speech (Purity / saucha)


NIYAMAS / Practices and Disciplines

1) Modesty / remorse for wrong deeds or behavior (hri) 

2) Contentment / Seeking joy and peacefulness (santosha) 

3) Giving / Giving generously without reward, including tithing (dana)

4) Faith / Believing deeply in God, including guru and the path to enlightenment (astikya)

5) Worship / Daily devotion, worship and meditation (Isvarapujana) 

6) Spiritual teachings / study, reading and listening to wise one’s (siddhanta sravana)

7) Cognition / Development of spiritual will and intellect with guru’s guidance (mati)

8) Sacred Vows / faithfully observing religious vows, rules and observances (vrata)

9) Chanting  / Daily chanting of mantras (japa)

10) Self-discipline / repairing damages or wrong-doing, giving of offerings (tapas )


Blessings on your journey ~ KaShiva Devi Umananda

Who Have I Become

Most often, the burning question is: “Who am I and what am I hear to do to fulfill my life purpose?”


People want to know who they are and what are they here to do or who they are to become.

The second thing they want to know is: “where is love, or who is my love or when will I meet the “one” that is meant for me.” Sometimes this is the first thing people want to know and “life purpose” is second, it depends on the person.

When it comes to love, most do not realize that the universe is designed for constant change and this constant change includes love, too. How we continuously experience love, relate with others and with whom, is for developing a “sweeter” way of interacting and a deeper, softer way of being. This is the universal, cosmic plan for all humans and it takes a long, long time to develop an exquisite space of “sweetness”.  Most of society operates from competition, comparing and judgement with a dash of arrogance and a push for their agenda. Very seldom do people flow with life and surf change gracefully.

“Love” is a life-long lesson that is experienced in a few different ways for cultivating this natural sweetness at the core of our being. We are born into a family matrix with its own lessons and karma, we are hard-wired and conditioned by society for how we engage romantically and the same for how we interact socially. The entire cosmic game is centered on refining the way we interact, perceive and experience human life in all its facets of relating and perceiving.

Our “life purpose” can be translated into three areas of our personality: the nature of who we are socially, the nature of our individuality and the talents and skills that we have developed over many lifetimes.

It is not that easy to say – “this is who I am”. 


So how do we easily find our life purpose and find love?

First, the most important, significant lesson in the universe is how we manage our ego and what measure of grace, patience, ability to listen and the amount of consideration for the other we carry in our being, regardless of what our “life purpose” might be. All experiences in life are shaped by this truth. Depending on how we interact determines what kind of life role we play out ~ to some degree.

If we can slow down, step back and truly observe how we are impacting those around us with our behavior, how we are shaping our life experiences with our thoughts and how we are creating social experiences through our relating, we learn much about who we are and what kind of a role we play in this lifetime. Our entire life experience is lived out within a very limited scope to fulfill a specific life expression, one can dial it in effortlessly if not distracted or deluded. In order to do that, we must rewrite our own story and remove the twisted influence of society, family, religion and tradition.


Comparing, competing, attempting to adopt another person’s talent is a complete waste of time and energy that only brings great confusion into our process of evolving. Placing ourselves in the environment with unkind people or with those who have a very different mind is disaster to our self-esteem and ability to think clearly, which devastates our ability to navigate life properly towards our true role. Many people choose relationships from a space of delusion, rationalize their reason for entering into the relationship and then, there is great pain interacting with someone who is nothing like who one is at the core of the being.

Even a family environment can become the wrong place to hang out as often, the unique design of offspring sets up a new life trajectory and chemistry. Misalignment in environment and stuck with the wrong people is often the cause of disease, depression, illness and mental anguish.


Being our self while doing the things we love naturally leads us into our life role.

Our natural talents express themselves as we are recognized by the right people doing what comes most natural in our being. It takes patience and dedication to settle into the correct role. It also takes a good portion of self-love to have the confidence to settle into just being who we are; courage is necessary. 



It is important to understand the distinction between types of love, too.

First, in intimate, sexual relating, there is the identity created out of the union of two people. Hence, the traditional marriage vow: “And the two shall become one”; for indeed, two do become one when they merge their beings in any sexual intimate encounter – married or not. This merging changes a person radically.

ALL humans are sponge-like in their environments, to various degrees, too. In the family environment or in the community living and even in apartment living, another layer of our expression is created out of the influences of the environment and who is near us on a regular basis. We become that composite of energy.


The question for “who am I and what is my purpose in life?” is better presented as “Who have I become?”


This is precisely why people get so confused and lost.


Make a decision dear, who do you want to be?

Choose the right environment and influences, and then, ……become more of that.

All Souls Are Equal



The Master attempting to encourage a disciple through pointing out the ways of attaining communion with God, however, the disciple who was dubious to his own ability said, “But Sir, you are a Master!”

And the Master responded, “All souls are equal. The only difference between us is that I made the effort. I showed God that I love Him and He came to me. Love is the magnet from which God cannot escape.”

~ Paramahamsa Yogananda