Hey, thanks, that’s a good question! Actually, I think it’s the other way around: A Yoga practice will speed up your decision to drop the consumption of meat over time. That was the case for me at least. The more Yoga I practiced, the more aware I became of things I was doing to and putting inside my body - unhealthy food suddenly became a major turn-off, as did alcohol and meat.

Ahimsa, the avoidance of violence, is one of the most important principles in Yoga. You are not only supposed to do no harm to yourself (during practice even: do not apply to much force!) and others around you, but to all other living beings and nature. I believe that sooner or later, those of us who are practicing Yoga with a true interest in the subject matter will have to ask ourselves how our lifestyles affect the world in a negative way - and then ponder how to reduce our destructive impact.

For me, cutting out meat was the only logical thing to do after a relatively short period of practicing Yoga. Today, I still drink alcohol from time to time, albeit in much smaller quantities and much less frequently than I used to. Very rarely also, I take a bite of fish, that I tend to regret immediately, because where I live, there are so many vegetarian and vegan alternatives that there is simply no need to harm a fish to feed myself. A friend of mine lives by the rule “only eat what didn’t have eyes”, and I think that’s a fair approach. I tried a small piece of meat once and my mouth tasted like blood and iron even the next day, which made me feel super uncomfortable. I once heard from a doctor that raw human meat and animal meat smell exactly the same and that you can hardly tell the difference if you only see a small chunk of it.

However, I am not trying to say that everyone should stop eating meat immediately. Instead I think it is important to become aware of personal consumption habits and to make conscious choices. If you stop eating meat on four days out of seven, you are already more than 50% vegetarian. Which will make a huge positive impact on our environment, animals’ lives, other people’s lives (because at the end of the day, everyone will have more food if we don’t need to feed our crops to fatstock), the economy and our food industry. They will all change for the better.

In terms of my Yoga practice, I feel cutting out meat has made me leaner, has helped my digestion and flexibility, and has generally helped in preserving my energy for other things than stomaching food. Other people I know have gotten better skin, too. But even more than on the physical level, becoming a vegetarian has aided my mental practice of Yoga. I have learned that I do not need everything I was taught and conditioned to need, and not even everything I myself thought I would need very much. (I used to eat piles (!!) of meat and loved it. Especially Korean Kimchi Jigae - yum!) I am not a victim of social conventions anymore, but have made up my own mind. This is a very liberating feeling. I feel that since I have stopped eating meat, I have come closer to the essence of Yoga and in that closer to my true self.    

If you are further interested in the issue, I recommend looking into Sharon Gannon’s book “Yoga and Vegetarianism”. I have posted a quote of her text below:

 

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