Vegetarian diet is the most obvious choice for most serious yoga practitioners because of the ethical and nutritional considerations. One of the most important aspects of Yoga is non-judgment, so you are free to choose whatever types of food you want to eat. There are a number of people who eat meat and do yoga regularly. Therefore, you need not be vegetarian before you start doing yoga. But as your yoga practice matures towards eight fold path of yoga, your self awareness increases. You will become more spiritual and you may find more difficult to eat animals. Read more on the subject and make your own choice whether you want to eat vegetarian or non vegetarian food.
The Nobel prize winner Issac Bashevis once asked "How can we Pray to God for mercy if we ourselves have no mercy? How can we speak of rights and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its blood? I personally believe that as long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will ever be any peace."
Ask yourself the question, "Do we need to eat meat to survive?" If your survival depend on eating meat then it may be justified a bit, but eating meat just for satisfying the taste buds is simply a luxury.
If more people turn vegetarians, it can be a step towards saving the animals from unnecessary suffering.
Most of the people have been made to believe that they cannot survive without a diet high in animal protein. However, most of the world population is surviving on vegetarian diet. We get protein in almost every food we eat, and we do not require animal protein at any time as an adult if an adequate balance of healthy food is being consumed.
There are some misconceptions that non vegetarian diet is more nutritious than vegetarian diet. Although meat is excellent source of proteins and Vitamin B12, but if we mix grains and legumes together it supplies correct ratio of proteins to the body. Vitamin B12 is also found in yeast, milk, yoghurt and fermented foods. Calcium is easy to find in vegetarian foods. Many dark, green leafy vegetables and beans are loaded with calcium, and some orange juices and cereals are calcium-fortified. Iron is plentiful in whole grains, beans and fruits. All kind of vitamins and minerals are present in vegetarian diet.
Vegetarianism promotes inner calmness and harmony between body and mind while eating meat has been linked with internal tension, disharmony and arousal of passion.
According to Ayurveda, there are three types of food.
Food which produces balanced state of body and mind is called sattvik diet. The sattvik food brings purity, cheerfulness, good health and happiness. This type of food includes all types of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables , nuts, milk, freshly cooked grains, beans and lentils. Sattvik food increase our mental and physical vitality also.
Rajasik food are prepared with many spices and plenty of ghee/ oil. This type of food is difficult to digest and creates unhappiness and disease. Meat and fish are rajasik foods.
Third type of food is tamasic food. They are old stale food and processed foods. These foods lowers down the energy, makes the mind unclean and corrupt.
So by avoiding Tamasik and Rajasik food and sticking to the sattvik diet we can gradually change the inner chemistry of our body. Taking control of the food you eat when you become vegetarian is one of the easiest way to support and maintain the mental purity you gain from yoga practice.
Meat and fish are listed among the food injurious to the yogi by the hatha yoga pradipika and eating animal flesh violates the yogic ethics (yamas) by patanjali in yoga sutras of ahimsa (non violence).
A vegetarian diet supports superior health for the individual, as well as harmony with one's surrounding, natural environment.
The yoga diet is especially important if we want to elevate our consciousness to the stage where we're feeling love and compassion for all living beings-including animals.
A real yogi eats to live, rather than living to eat. A vegetarian diet is at the foundation of the yogic life. Becoming a vegetarian should not be forced, let it become a natural resolve as you continue your progress on the path of yoga.
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