Yogi Diet … How Strict Does It Need To Be?
Yes, it is pretty much a fact of life that a large number of Yogis are true blue Vegans, either just because they want to be or feel that they must according to the ancient Yoga teachings. But, do you necessarily have to fall into that community of interest diet wise if you are a die hard Yogi? The old saying “Variety is the spice of life” may apply as well to the wonderful world of Yoga when it comes to what you eat! Variety especially outside the domain of what Yogis are supposed to eat could actually be beneficial to some folks.
Many Yogis believe that the Yoga doctrine says,”You are not allowed to consume meat!” This is a blatant falsehood. The moment of enlightenment has arrived! For you omnivore Yogis out there: Yoga has never said you are not allowed to eat meat, fish or poultry. Yes, it is true we cannot forget about AHIMSA, that is, the idea of not doing harm to the animals of Mother Earth, i.e. for food. Alas, this certainly sounds like a complete Vegan idea or plan primarily to accomodate AHAMSA: perhaps and then again perhaps not. There do exist, believe it or not, some exceptions to this ‘rule’. Confused enough yet?
Yoga foods/diets through time memorial have reflected upon a strong relationship toward nourishing; the body , spirit and mental aspects of one’s existence. The modern day belief that “You are what you eat” is rather an integral part of PRANA; the force of life that is supportive of the physical body and one’s mind. It should be rather elementary to then discover why many (if not most Yogis) are Vegans. SATTVA then becomes somewhat obvious – it exemplifies the root definition of AHIMSA; the state of peace and tranquility that belies our relationship with all living things, i.e. SATTVA does not support the sacrifice of animals for meat.
So what is the so-called ‘traditional’ Yoga diet? In accordance with that line of thought it should be seasonal fruits and veggies (organic preferred), whole grain type foods and oils based on plants. Raw sugar and many spices such as cumin, turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon would also be highly acceptable. There would be an absolute avoidance of meat, poultry and fish; ANY artificial/genetically processed food would be avoided at all costs.
At this point a person would wind up rather confused and bewildered. It thusly seems that one necessarily needs to be a vegan in order to be a true member of the Yogi network! Alas – that is not the case and here is why.
Recall what we discussed here early on. Yoga, as opposed to many Yogis belief systems does not per se prohibit the consumption of meat, fish or poultry. What is the root belief again of the almighty AHIMSA – non-harming at its very roots. As a prime example, say a yogi who is vegan becomes ill because of their diet. The idea of non-harming also applies to the individual. Thus, a Yogi whose health is worsening because because of what they are eating (or in this case not eating) would be in violation of AHIMSA and needs correcting. If adding meat, fish or poultry to the vegan yogi’s diet is a solution to bringing their health back into order this is perfectly acceptable.
One must navigate through the many misconceptions that exist and adapt to the western world (modern) ways of Yogi thinking. Why is it then that these misunderstandings exist in our modern day culture. The early on Yoga gurus in our western culture were from the first generation – making them say Indian or Brahmin. These guys followed the credo of a rather strict vegetarian existence.Believe it or not the climate in which one lives has a strong role in what you will consume in your diet structure throughout the year.
Who said that life was so simple? Yoga is certainly no exception.