July 22, 2010

Can I Stand on my Head and eat Steak?

It’s a common question in a yoga class. Why do I have to give up eating meat if I want to practice yoga? There is one simple response to that.

There are ethical guidelines to yoga called yamas. The five yamas are; ahimsa (non harming), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (sexual responsibility) and aparigraha (non greed).  In order to live a yogi lifestyle it is a good idea to practice following these guidelines.  Being a vegetarian/vegan fits each of these yamas. 

By not eating animal meat or any other product they produce, you are reducing your harm on other beings.  You are also seeing and admitting the truth as to where our food comes from.  When we eat the meat, eggs or milk from an animal, we are stealing from them and not respecting their bodies.  All of this is done out of our own greed! Human beings do not need to eat animals, this is a choice. Choosing to eat meat for your satisfaction only supports the terrible conditions and tortures that the animals must go through to get to our plate. A non-vegan diets go against the ethical guidelines of the yoga practice. 

Yoga means the union with all beings, not just humans.  A yogi wants all beings to be free and happy. If you eat animals, then you are not allowing them to be free or happy. Plain and simple! 

   Patanjali YS 2.25  Ahimsa Pratishthayam Tat Vaira-Tyagah

“If you want to be free of harm, then you must stop harming others”

Animals were not put on this earth for humans to enslave them and eat them. They are living, breathing, feeling, and loving beings just like us. Causing them harm by killing them or enslaving them for our satisfaction is against the direct teachings of yoga. If you want to be happy, then we should not cause others unhappiness.

Patanjali YS 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam

“Our connection to the Earth must be steady and joyful and mutually beneficial”

 Eating meat can makes a yoga practice difficult in the physical form as well for one reason; Meat is not good for you! We all know it and we all deny it. If it were so healthy, then cardiac patients would not be told to stop eating meat or you die. People go on vegan detox to clean their systems. Why? Because meat clogs the body. It takes, on average, three days to digest animal products.  That dead animal is decaying in your body for three days! Eating another beings cholesterol and fat is not something our body needs to run on.  Our bodies are meant to eat grains and greens.  All the nutrients that the body needs are found in these items. 

Twisting and bending in a yoga class becomes difficult when your body is filled with animal products. Inversions, like headstand, are more difficult.  After all, how light do you feel after eating a big steak?  If you want to move forward with your yoga practice and studies, you must consider a vegetarian or vegan diet! This will help your mind, body and yoga practice!

Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu


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