Your Best Life Begins With Nutrition

When students practice yoga or engage in regular physical activity, they develop a heightened awareness of their body and how it moves and responds to life’s everyday pressures. There is truth behind the idea that by becoming more aware of the body’s ability to move and sweat, more attention is paid to what is put inside the body. Steps can be taken to ensure the body’s best state—physically and mentally—on and off the mat.

Focus on the “primary foods” in life. These include work, relationships, spirituality and physical movement, which can be said to be the things that really feed life. Foods we ingest are considered “secondary foods” and should include healthy choices such as fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Someone who is out of balance in a primary food area is going to be out of balance in their secondary food choices. If someone has a stressful job and the only snack available is a plate of chocolate chip cookies in the lobby, they’ll turn to the cookies when frantically hungry and on deadline. By developing awareness around why food choices are made, everyone can start to inventory both primary and secondary food choices and make positive, healthy changes.

Everyone’s body is different, and what works for one may not work for another, so there is not a one-diet-fits-all model. However, a plant-based diet consisting of foods close to their natural state is considered clean eating and will achieve results for weight loss and health improvement goals. For sustained weight management, a healthy combination of clean eating and regular exercise is a winning formula. Many yoga students will pursue discovery of their ayurvedic profile to learn the best foods for their body. Ayurvedic medicine, practiced for centuries in India, is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, and is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit. This path is a good idea for anyone wishing to achieve optimal health with nutrition.

Nutrition is the fuel for the body. It is a very powerful element of the pursuit of optimal health, but it must be combined with regular exercise and self care. Setting aside five minutes each morning to sit quietly, close the eyes and breathe will create a more grounded and centered start for the day. It is also helpful to turn off electronic devices long before heading to bed and regulate daily intake of social media.

In a yoga class, the practice begins again with each breath. Everyone has the potential to make positive and lasting lifestyle changes with every new day and breath, and every nutrition choice.

Sarah Beattie is an integrative nutrition health coach, RYT 200 teacher, and studio manager at Southern Om, located at 1140 Woodruff Rd. and at 1116 South Main St.; both in Greenville. For more information, call 864-329-1114, email, or visit and