Many people believe that yoga practitioners are all vegetarians, have a very strict diet, do not drink alcohol, this is a mistaken belief. Some yoga schools as well as Ayurveda give advice or dietary rules. But in traditional yoga, it is not so.
In the context of a sadhana, a period of time more or less long when the yogi will engage in an intense practice of several hours a day, the traditional texts propose a suitable diet (rice, dairy essentially). The purpose of this diet is to avoid the practitioner to spend too much energy in the digestion in order to invest this energy in his spiritual search. Except in this specific context of intense practice, there is no universal diet but a diet adapted to each person. And it is the person himself who is the sole judge of what suits him according to his tastes.
Food, more than a chemical molecule
Foods are not just chemical molecules. They are loaded in:
- Energy that yoga calls Prana. It is by being attentive to the taste of food and the pleasure of tasting that the individual can absorb the energy he needs for his vitality. The rules are very simple: if I like, I eat and if I do not like, I do not eat.
- These symbols can be universal, cultural, family, personal … For example, the apple is a symbol of knowledge, more particularly of the knowledge of good and evil. In South America, corn is a symbol of the sun and prosperity. In Greek and Roman culture, wheat is a symbol of fertility and also of the natural cycle of death and rebirth.
For example too, if every time someone takes their child to the cinema, they offer him a pack of popcorn because they know he loves it, it is possible that, for the child, the popcorn will become very personal symbol of watching movie.
Our ability to digest and tolerate food is influenced by what the symbol of that food represents as a message to us, what it activates as memory in us.
It is for all these reasons that our tastes can change over the course of life. The tastes of a child are not the same as an adult. An adult does not have the same tastes as an elderly person. It is not uncommon to see that some people spontaneously change their tastes following an event or a significant change in their life, be it positive or negative.
Criteria by which you should choose your yoga diet
For yoga, the choice of diet is above all a question of energy. It is best to feed on foods that we digest quickly and easily. This keeps the body in a better vitality, in a greater feeling of lightness. Flavor, taste and salivation is what nature has graciously offered. These are the essential tools to choose your diet.
As you’ve seen above, it is possible to do yoga without being vegetarian or vegan. All you need is to consciously choose your food for the benefit of your body and mind.