Yoga and Vegetarianism


It may be observed that many Yogis in India staunchly advocate that practitioners take only vegetarian food. Yogis consider wilful adoption of a vegetarian diet implies a moral act that strengthens control over oneself in the first instance and then over one’s environment. This need for exercising self-control arises only in the case of born non- . vegetarians and not for born vegetarians. Hence it facilitates vegetarians practising Yoga without exercising any self-control, whereas many non-vegetarians feel hesitant to practise Yoga as long as they continue to eat non-vegetarian food.

In the past, vegetarianism evolved as an Indian philosophy based purely on the principle of Ahimsa, which is one of the tenets of Raja Yoga. Thus, vegetarianism becomes not a mere dietetic principle but a religious doctrine.

Many non-vegetarians are hesitant to practise Yoga believing that non-vegetarian diet coupled with the practise of Yoga would harm their health. There is no scientific evidence to prove this. The practitioner of Yoga is always advised to be moderate in everything. The Bhagavad Gita states:

“Yoga is not possible for him who eats too much or for him who abstains too much from eating; it is not for him who sleeps too much or too little. For him who is moderate in eating and recreation, temperate in his actions, who is regulated in sleep and wakefulness.”

Therefore, it is not the type of food that one takes but the manner and attitude with which it is taken that is of paramount importance. However, it may be stressed that the practitioner of Yoga should always have proper control over food habits. Do also remember that we eat to live and not live to eat.

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