This has been a very intense week for Devi and me. We’re in the middle of our annual Inner Renewal Week, and are launching the pilot course that we hope will be a whole new way of sharing Yogananda’s teachings. The daily classes, all new, have needed a lot of thought and preparation. It has been exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I’m sure you must have had similar experiences in your own life.

Today’s class was on living a balanced, integrated life. Paramhansa Yogananda said that a true scripture must address all levels of our being: physical, energetic, mental/emotional, and spiritual. The same is true of the balanced life, as we discussed in the class. In this blog I’ll address only the physical level, but perhaps in future we can write about the other levels as well.

There are three areas that strongly influence our physical well-being: our diet, our habits for exercise and sleep, and the ability to avoid addictive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. If we can change our habits in these areas it will greatly improve our lives. Here are some of the pointers we shared this morning.


Yogananda recommended fruit and a day of fasting on orange juice every week.

Eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, whole grains, and legumes.

Yogananda suggested a simple, commonsense diet and gave it the charming name, “propereatarianism.” He advised us to eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, whole grains, and legumes. He also suggested that we fast on fresh orange juice one day each week, and for three days once each month. And he developed a Nine-Day Cleansing Diet, which we have tried with great success. Here’s a link if you’d like to give it a try yourself.

The way you eat is as important as what you eat. See your food as a source of prana, not just taste. Always pray before eating, and feel a sense of gratitude not only for the food, but for all the divine gifts that sustain us. Cook and eat in a sattwic manner, because you absorb vibrations when you eat. Follow these simple ideas and your health and vitality are bound to improve.

Daily Routine:

Serving healthy food at the Expanding Light Retreat, seva, balance diet yogananda cleanse

The way you eat is as important as what you eat.

During a period when Swami Kriyananda was working with his guru, Yogananda sent him a letter with detailed and practical advice about his daily routine. Though we may need to vary the details of his suggestions, the principles are very helpful. Here is the advice:

  • You should take ½ hour walk in the morning after a meditation and breakfast.
  • Work 9 hours a day with deep concentration.
  • Meditate two hours deeply at night after dining at 6:30. Adjust routine to whatever is possible.
  • Sleep 7 hours.
  • Be sure to walk briskly or run for 5 minutes every 2 hours. This will keep strain out.
  • After dinner at night walk on the road, and not in jungly brush, for one hour. (This was in the desert near Twentynine Palms, California.)

We have a friend who is a doctor and a devotee and has seen great changes over his career in the medical guidelines for diet and exercise. He told us that, interestingly, the more science studies these areas, the closer their recommendations come to what Yogananda advised his students many decades ago.

These timeless principles are given to us out of God’s love and His desire that our lives be balanced, integrated, and healthy. Let’s all take them to heart.

In His love,

Nayaswami Jyotish

P.S. If you would like to see this week’s classes, here is the link.

From Crystal Clarity Publishers: We thank all of you who supported the launch of Visits to Saints of India by purchasing a copy. For those of you who don’t live at Ananda Village, if you feel inspired, please leave an Amazon review for Swamiji. A few minutes of your time will help the book reach more people. Here is the link where you can leave a review.

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (4:54):


  1. Dear Jyotishji,
    Thank you for sharing this. Jai Guru.
    this particular letter Master wrote to Swamiji and presented in the New Path has been a source of deep inspiration to me for a long time.

  2. Agree on most points, except that it sounds as if Master recommended a 100-percent vegan diet which is by no means the case. He suggested we eat a diet that agrees with us, and then forget about it, and specifically he did recommend eggs and dairy. Also, nuts were omitted here, and Master gave a huge thumbs-up to almonds in particular and nuts in general. His energizing drink – ground almonds with OJ or water – has saved my bacon countless times when I needed a boost. Taken an hour before doing the energizers, a half-glass of OJ/almonds will have you sailing through the exercises on wings of energy.

  3. Thank you dear Jyotish ji. Inspired to follow this. Like a reminder, it helps me again to choose right things.. Thank you.

  4. Dear Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you very much for this blog and the sharing the letter Master wrote to Swamiji…
    Jai Guru

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