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Should Yoga Teachers Be Vegetarians Only? 2017-04-26T15:29:50+00:00

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Should Yoga Teachers Be Vegetarians Only?
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June 23, 2006 - 8:57 pm
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Beginning teachers need to learn to deal with the matter of "the yogic diet", and I thought what better way to help than to have all of us chime in about our personal preferences.

I just saw an article that maintained that "if you go to McDonald's after yoga practice, you're not really practicing yoga".

Although I seldom go to McDonald's myself, I have stopped by the one across the street from the studio for a chocolate shake after practice before, and I can tell you that I didn't throw my mat out in the trash as a result.

On the other hand, I do know that doing no harm and putting only pure things into one's body is the yogic way, and I wonder, "hey, am I not getting it here?".

I would describe myself not as an omnivore, but more a flexitarian. I still eat some meat, but I'm quite happy to eat vegetarian (except at breakfast), and if vegan is called for, then I can handle that, too. I do always consider whether or not something is good for me before I eat it - it's just that sometimes I say, "what the heck, I think I'll have this treat".

Please tell us about the kind of diet you keep and how you feel about the subject.

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November 5, 2013 - 5:01 pm
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Should Yoga Teachers be Vegetarians?

Have you ever walked into a yoga class and been completely surprised when you saw the teacher? It is true we go through our life creating stereotypes. This tends to be very true in the yoga community. We expect our teacher lean, and sporting a spiritual tattoo or a piercing if they are younger. The older ones should have long gray hair, mala beads, and interesting tales of their ashram experience in the 70's.

In addition, we presume that they conduct their life in a certain way. They should meditate daily, speak in a calm, soothing voice, and probably follow a vegan or raw food regimen. After all, one of the oldest dogmas to this ancient practice is ahimsa or non-violence.

However, as the field of yoga grows more mainstream, so do the types of people who choose to do their teacher training, and venture into the field of teaching.

With most everything in life, there are opposing sides to lifestyles. We see stay-at-home moms judging working moms and vice versa. We see conservatives and liberals in constant opposition. In the yoga world, we often see vegetarian teachers challenging non-vegetarian teachers.

Advocates of vegetarianism for yogis often cite ancient yogic texts. The Yoga Sutras call to ahimsa is interpreted as a call to vegetarianism. Pancham Sinh's translation of The Hatha Yoga Pradipika suggests avoiding alcohol, fish, and meat.

There are many olden texts pertaining to achieving enlightenment through yoga. Through the centuries, all written word that originated thousands of years ago, including religious texts such as the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita are only as defined as their translation.

In reality, you are fast-forwarding thousands of years and that requires putting things into perspective. One prevailing notion in yoga is to listen to your body. Practitioners stress that yoga is a personal non-competitive practice.

How you nourish your body is also subjective. While one person may flourish on a vegetarian diet, another may need meat. In addition, the needs of your body will change at varying stages of your life.

Everyone's yogic path is personal, and many find a vegetarian diet is an integral aspect of their practice. Others may need the nutrients found in a carnivorous diet. In the end, yoga is about awareness and freedom, so a true path is one that recognizes the uniqueness of each individual.

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March 26, 2015 - 1:44 am
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Hello!! everyone, I workout every 3 days a week, and at weekend I do party and I have some meat, but I personally don't feel that if you are a yoga teacher you need to avoid non-veg food. Yes, if you are spiritual enough and you have your sentiments attached then that part is different otherwise it should be fine.
Thank you.

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March 27, 2015 - 2:08 pm
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Hi Larry, The last time we touched this subject on Facebook, there were a ton of fireworks going off. I didn't realize how aggressive vegans can be. LOL! I know vegans who hate me for eating veggie burgers. To be honest, there are teachers who eat real hamburgers and I can't make a judgment call. The more we learn, the more vegetarians there will be on this earth. However, we are a predator species and humans will probably eat animals to the end. That said, we have to be tolerant of each other. A person's lifestyle choices are his or hers to make. Some kids grow up from vegetarian families and eat bacon as adults. Some meat-eating children become vegans. The story goes on, but who wants to make enemies over dietary choices? Our biggest problem as a species is accepting a person's right to be different.

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April 11, 2015 - 8:15 pm
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Respect. 🙂 Nice perspective guys......

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April 17, 2015 - 2:02 pm
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The people on this forum are awesome. We may have different views, but it's not a dividing point. Thanks to all the names above mine for showing respect to each other. By the way, I'm not a vegan. I am a diabetic on an ayurvedic diet and my body doesn't break carbs down. No candy, alcohol, pasta, bread, white rice, potatoes, fruits, etc. I can eat most vegetables, medicinal amounts of slow burning carbs, and egg whites. I don't eat meat or fish, but most vegans will argue that I shouldn't eat egg whites. Yeah, I could go on metformin or insulin and I could cheat on my diet. My point: I'm not going to judge anyone and I expect mutual respect. People who drag you down, don't belong in your life.

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April 24, 2015 - 11:35 pm
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great! I am a nurse and many of my diabetic patients cheat on their diet creating complications that are hard to handle. We all have the same goal, to live as healthy as possible. Yoga can also help diabetes patients, the relaxation you get from yoga decreases your cravings for sweets. Disciplined diabetic patients even lived longer than a normal adult cause he knew his body well and take good care of it.
thumbs up Stapleton.

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April 25, 2015 - 4:05 pm
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Namaste Julie,

I'm glad that you are the moderator of this forum. The odd thing about diabetes is that I really never had cravings for sweets. My family elders were all diabetics and most members of my family thought i would manage to miss it because they became diabetics in their 30s. I am in my 60s and just recently ran into problems. Thank you for running such a friendly forum.

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April 27, 2015 - 3:38 pm
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Actually, a vegetarian diet may be one of the reasons why you were able to dodge diabetes this long. With a family that has diabetes in the bloodline, it's not easy to avoid it. Getting back to diets: I think that people spend too much time evaluating each other rather than do their best with what they have. If carbs had to be severely cut back, what would most of us eat? Watch commercials on television and the answer is meat. That's really all you see. Yet, Stapleton has found a way to work around it. So, understanding is in and judging is out.

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July 23, 2015 - 6:27 pm
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Thank You Stapleton and Inspirit...

Diet actually means what you eat and i guess it must not only be limited to what is socially accepted, like what Inspirit was saying. It should be based on what you need, tackling your health, activities and goals that you want your body to achieve.

Teaching yoga is a job that is fueled by inspiring people and bringing real life inspiration. It might not be a must, but if you can be a role model for your students, i bet teaching will be a lot easier.

Being able to have graduates that are way more talented, inspiring and healthier than you is a fact that you are a good teacher. Enthusiasm and motivation should be there in every class, it is like fire than you can share to anybody. Imagine students eager to go to your class, not only because they need to learn but also because they always have these feeling of being at home, belonging in a community and being fueled to live a good life.

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July 26, 2015 - 6:56 pm
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I agree with you completely Julie. Thank you so much!

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