As a yama, mitahara is one of the central virtues to yogic philosophy; yamas are the duties or observances recommended by yogic philosophy and teaching as part of the path of yoga. These yamas are practices that are considered to be outer observances. They are a way of applying the behavioral codes of yoga to the way the yogi relates to the world. They are considered to be a valuable and highly relevant guide to help yogis live an ethical life.
In practice of mitahara, yogis strive to keep the stomach one-fourth empty of food at mealtime. It is believed that this allows sufficient room for healthy digestion. Those with a spiritual practice may wish to offer food to the Divine before consumption as an additional custom of mitahara.