The Yoga of Food

photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

There’s a national obsession with the vegetarian diet in Yogania (just made up that country. Do you like the sounds of it? :O)).  In this land of yogites, tension often mounts between the growing camps of raw foodists, the vegans, the lacto-ovo veggies, and the “as long as it doesn’t move, I’ll eat it” clan.

They’ve all read bits and pieces of various references in the classic yoga literature that state emphatically that practitioners of yoga must observe a vegetarian diet.  I figure that there probably wasn’t much to debate further on the issue back in olden days.  They probably didn’t have so many definitions of vegetarianism to grapple over.

But like everything else in the overly complex world that we’ve created for ourselves, being a vegetarian is not so cut and dry anymore… and interpreting just what the ancient yogis meant by “vegetarian” is a matter of, well, interpretation.

But regardless of what the masters of old really intended for us to eat, the saddest part of this whole wrangling over what constitutes a veggie and what does not is that the other 90% of what yogic eating is all about simply gets missed.

Yes, that’s right, 90%! (I just made that number up, by the way ;o)).  But seriously, what we eat is of course, very important in yoga, but it is definitely not the only consideration when we talk about “yogic eating.”  Other factors such as when we eat, how we eat, how much we eat, with whom we eat, and even how our meals are prepared are equally, if not more important to the bona fide yogi than whether eggs are ok or not.

Here’s a great 3-part article that explore the science of eating from a yogic perspective. It’s definitely worth chewing on … ;o)


Yogacharya is Director of International Yogalayam and Editor of “The Yoga News

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