Humans, being a complex being, have multiple principles, the most rudimentary one being body, mind, and spirit. Traditionally it’s believed that in order to accomplish a high level of spirituality, the body must be purified first than the mind. Starting with the physical body, a purified body is what we eat. Clearly, we must be careful with our food.
Thus, you might have heard a lot of yoga teachers and practitioners taking a vegetarian diet. The general sordid says that eating meat inhibits us from achieving the deep states of meditation as it negatively affects the energy body. The vegetarians believe in “ahimsa”, or the yogic practice of non-violence. This faith prevents them from eating animals.
When the two are not compulsorily practiced together, the serious ones prefer them connected. The reason lies somewhere down the history. The history which influenced how yoga was established and further interpreted makes the connection between Yoga and vegetarianism. Two of such reason are:
• Sattva (Pure/Clean)
Early Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita mentions this notion of sattva. It quotes a vegetarian diet as “promote vitality, health, pleasure, strength, and long life.” Such a list of food basically includes most fruits and vegetables.
Whereas, the other categories of foods fall into ‘Rajasic’ foods – alcohol, meat and fish, and the next ‘Tamasic’ foods – overcooked or stale foods. This categorization became a vile for how the diet was interpreted for thousands of years thereafter.
• Ahimsa (Non-Violence)
Ahimsa, being a cornerstone of yogic-philosophy, can be found in the historic text of the ‘Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’. Among the eight norms of yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) cited in the text, this is one. It means non-harm of animals, and also non-harm of any other living thing.
• Karma (The Result of The Intention in Our Action)
The basic philosophy of Karma implies, “If we do good, good things will happen to us but if we do bad the same will happen”. The principle of this philosophy is no less than the 3rd Law of Newton, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
Thus, believing in the philosophy of ‘Ahimsa’ and ‘Karma’ it is an obvious and wise decision to avoid being an Omnivore or even a Carnivore.
Now after these three have created a base concept, the transformation continues thereafter. And for now, the food choices that excite many yogis seems a little odd for the outsider. Their plates are full of something different than what revs up the normal foodie crowd- tofu, tempeh, juices, smoothies, and salads. There are many reasons Yogis love their vegetarian diets.
Why Most Yogis Love Being A Vegetarian
1. ‘Veggie’ Diet Is Good For The Body
Many people practice yoga on a physical level- besides toning the arms and tightening the butt, it unsullied the internal organs. Yoga keeps the digestive system moving, strengthens the immune system, improves blood flow and the list goes on.
On other hands, the vegetarian diet is easily digestible, higher in fiber and lower in sugar. Plants included diet have higher vitamins and antioxidants and lower calories. The facts just add health benefits to Yoga. It is also said to subjugate the risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and more.
Yogis want a level of satisfaction and benefits from their practices. And they know yoga is only one way to do that and a vegetarian diet is the other side of the equation.
2. Veggie Diet Is Good For The Mind:
Yoga is all about a calm mind. But your diet has the potential to spawn the reverse effect by increasing the waves of negative thoughts in your little head.
Bhagavad Gita writes about such food in chapter 14:11 –
“When light which is wisdom streams forth from all the doors of the body, then it may be understood that the pure-clear modality is predominant”.
– Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 14:11)
You can relate this leagues to “Sattva”. Not over roasted and salted nuts and seeds, lightly roasted grains, and herbs as ashwagandha, gingko, saffron, and tulsi gives clarity to the mind.
3. Veggie Diet Is a Non-Violent Way To Be:
This is an interpreted form if “Ahisma”.
Yoga classes – chanting of Aum (the universal vibration) teaches living creatures to come from the same divine spark of believing humans and animals alike.
The kindred between all living beings to a degree in which they consume their food in the most natural state through a raw vegan diet. Yogi’s life nucleus on non-violence is the common catalyst for following a vegetarian diet.