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Does diet affect perceived seriousness in Yoga Practice?
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August 4, 2005 - 5:46 pm
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Greetings all. After practicing for two years, I really would like to obtain teacher training credentials and conduct classes. I already have a group of beginners that want to practice with me. My concern is that I haven't evolved into being a vegetarian. Are you considered less serious and/or respected if you eat meat and practice yoga or is it a personal experience and transition? It seems the yoga community encourages a vegan lifestyle.

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August 5, 2005 - 10:37 am
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Hi There,

Well, I bet you are going to get a lot of differing opinions on this one! :) I am not a practicing vegan, but many of my students are. I promote a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies as well as lean sources of protein. My emphasis is more on staying away from heavily processed foods. I honestly feel like I could transition to being a vegan at some point, but with a meat eater husband and son, it would be a tough one for me to follow through on. I have a very busy lifestyle and cooking different meals would be a hardship at this point. However, we eat very little red meat in my home. To be honest, diet has never really even come up in any of my classes - I do believe it is a personal choice. Hope this helps!

Namaste,

Jeann

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August 8, 2005 - 12:45 pm
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I am a vegan...I do not approach this at all with my students but if they ask me I do admit it. I have noticed that even in yoga retreats in my lehigh valley area of PA, the servers are not even familiar with a vegan diet; so I think you are just fine eating what you like!!

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August 20, 2005 - 6:12 pm
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Thanks you guys!

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March 20, 2006 - 4:42 am
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Hi Jeanne',

I like what you write and I totally agree. I haven't eaten meat for almost 12 years but I never tell my students to become vegetarians. I only teach them about healthy food choices and to eat natural and non processed food. It's their choice then.

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March 26, 2006 - 6:51 pm
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Hi Nina,

Thanks! I especially agree on the non-processed food choices and the general elimination of "junk food". I think if students made those steps first, becoming a vegan would not be such a huge next step. I struggle with my "sweet tooth" quite often - meat is not the issue for me, chocolate is! :) Good luck to you!

Namaste,

Jeann

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August 20, 2006 - 12:29 am
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When considering the opinions of others, please consider this:

It is true that some members of the Yoga community are vegan and look down on others to preach their supposed superiority.

It is true that some Yoga teachers are flexible and look down on other members as less worthy.

It is true that some members of the yoga community are quite fit, with optimum weight, and look down on others as less.

It is true that the above described personalities are shallow, intolerant, self-absorbed, egotistical brutes, and social misfits who don't practice the true pinciples of Yoga.

They pretend to understand them but they haven't got a clue about Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, or Jnana Yoga.

They understand only the physical concepts of Hatha Yoga. Yoga is much more than a bunch of physical tricks or a three ring circus. Yoga isn't a gymnastic event or a Ms. Olympia contest.

Some people never had a life before Yoga, so don't let their petty mental imbalances bother you. Consider the source and eat what you like in moderation. Doshas are different and we don't all eat the same. Life would be boring if we all did. :idea:

Jai

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August 20, 2006 - 4:17 pm
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Cold but true, but let's stick to the cravings in a diet. These are part of your natural doshas and the way you have been programmed since childhood. We should eat healthy, but we can't all eat the same way. Yoga teachers are not required to be vegetarian.

Giving up fish would be the last straw. Also, There is nothing wrong with enjoying chocolate. The dark chocoalte is supposed to be good for you. So, enjoy the chocolate Jeanne'. Moderation is the key to all diets, even a Yogic diet.

Can you imagine eating plain kale soup every day.

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October 17, 2006 - 10:09 pm
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A perception is not reality. Diet ds not make the Yogi. Diet is only part of the equation. When you follow all of the Yamas and Niyamas, without judging others, then you are practicing Yoga.

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December 3, 2006 - 8:09 am
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Many Yoga instructors claim to teach Yoga, but teach their students how impatient they are with life. This is a contradiction to Yoga philosophy. If a Yoga instructor judges his/her students over diet, what else is being judged. If a Yoga instructor wants to help others eat better, insults will not make students conform to a vegetarian diet.

Namaste,

Esti

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June 28, 2007 - 9:45 pm
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Hi Marianthi,

How gs the battle? Have you gone back to a Sattvic diet yet or do you have to tolerate Tamasic for a bit longer?

Namaste,

Steph

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January 6, 2008 - 12:34 am
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Thank you Yogi,

The Ayurvedic article by Jennifer Beckman is a reliable piece of information.

Namaste,

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February 6, 2014 - 1:20 am
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What is the Yogic Diet?

Yoga involves much more than stretches and meditation; it extends to many other aspects of life, including the diet. Many yoga instructors and students are so dedicated to practicing yoga that they also follow the yogic diet to maintain a level of balance within the body. This diet is often, but not always, vegetarian in nature, and there is a large focus on ensuring that the diet is balanced and healthy. There are numerous therapeutic effects from this diet, as it benefits of the health of the entire body.

While not all yogic diets are completely vegetarian, they are primarily plant-based in nature. The majority of the diet includes plants, legumes, beans, nuts, and fruits. Meat should be avoided due to the difficult processing it requires in the body, but if it is consumed, very lean meats, such as lean chicken or fish, should be the only ones included. The high amount of fiber in the diet leads to improved gut motility and more regular gastrointestinal movements. Stimulating foods, such as heavy spices, onions, and garlic, should also be avoided due to their tendency to induce imbalance in the body. Stimulating foods work against the relaxing effects of yoga and the yogic diet.

The concern that many people who do not follow the yogic diet confess is that the yogic diet may be unbalanced and will lead to more disease processes. While this concern is valid with some other diets, the yogic diet focuses heavily on inducing a level of internal balance. It is important for the diet to be balanced to achieve this. Legumes and nuts are used frequently as sources of protein and healthy fats where meat may have once been used. The gut micro flora display an increase in activity with the ingestion of a diet high in plant material, which will cause more fermentation and the production of amino acids and volatile fatty acids to occur. Meat is not a necessary aspect of a balanced diet; plants just require a different breakdown process.

Therapeutic, or holistic, diets focus on healing the body's ailments with nutrition. Physical, mental, and chemical abnormalities can be helped through the use of certain healthy foods. Consuming a more balanced and healthy diet leads to healthy muscle and organ functioning. This is achieved through the nutrition causing a decrease muscle pain, an increase gastrointestinal health and motility, and an increased production of hormones and neurotransmitters for improved nervous system health.

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