I recently wrote a piece for Yoga Journal titled “Eat Like a Yogi”. In the piece, I interviewed some of the top yoga teachers in the United States on what they ate and why.
I was inspired to write the piece because there are a lot of assumptions about food in the yoga world, namely, that if you are serious about yoga, then you’re a vegetarian.
I don’t agree. Vegetarianism is a noble path, but some people need meat in their diets. (And by meat I mean organic and humanely raised. No one who is the least bit aware could support factory-farming practices.)
There are those who disagree, who say that if you practice yoga then you must adhere to the tenet of ahimsa, or non-violence. And eating meat is a violent act.
Yes, but so is eating. I do think a vegetarian diet is healthy for many people, and much better for the planet. But I don’t believe in a one size fits all philosophy.
I have enormous respect for all the teachers I interviewed, including Scott Blossom, Gary Kraftsow, David Life, and Ana Forrest. All had different takes on what it meant to eat like a yogi, but all agreed that respecting food and bringing a sense of reverence to the table was important. I was especially moved by Ana Forrest’s words: “I honor the elk, buffalo, or moose by not wasting its life force or mine. I use that force to heal myself and others, and to teach, inspire, and help people evolve. My ethics about what to eat come down to my personal truth. Eating in a way that impairs your health and thinking is immoral.”
It’s often easier to see the world in terms of black and white, or to think that following a spiritual path means living only one way. It’s harder to feel your way into your own truth, and respecting whatever it is you find there.