How to Eat Like a Yogi

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As they embrace the yogic lifestyle, many people become curious about how to eat like a yogi. In a yoga class, you’ll learn poses and breathing techniques, and even learn some Sanskrit. But what happens when you step off the mat? Yoga does not teach a specific diet, cleansing or way of eating. Instead, many aspects of yoga philosophy combine to influence a yogi’s decisions in the kitchen. When it comes to eating like a yogi, though, there are some changes you can incorporate into your diet or routine.

Should Yogis Eat A Certain Way?

Should Yogis Eat A Certain Way?

In a word – no. There are no hard and fast rules for how to eat like a yogi. Eating a potato chip or drinking a glass of wine doesn’t make you a “bad yogi”—they make you a real, three-dimensional person. Some yogis eat meat, some yogis are vegetarian. Some yogis follow strict Ayurvedic principles. Some yogis recommend a “yogic diet,” while others argue that trying to follow a specific diet can lead to unhealthy obsessions. Yogis can have a hard time navigating this messy conversation about food. Conflicting advice is given, suggested, and even crudely presented as dogma. Ultimately, however, each individual must follow their own unique path and make their own choices about what they eat. Every body is unique and the fuel chosen should reflect this.

How yoga can inspire people to change their diet

How yoga can inspire people to change their diet

Yoga inspires people to change their eating habits because it changes how they think and feel about themselves and the world around them. Becoming a yogi is a lifestyle shift towards a greater focus on the union of self and environment. Of course, these shifts will carry over to nutrition and food as well.

Even the most profound changes happen once, choice after choice. Carl Eisenstein

Initial changes may be subtle. Maybe you don’t pull out “junk” food after your yoga practice. Maybe you start to feel less of a rush to eat because your brain senses when your body is full. Maybe instead of craving sugary foods, you start craving foods that fuel your body and help you get through long workouts. You might even start thinking about how your food choices affect the world around you…from environmental issues to ethical issues. There are a number of ways that the ideas behind your yoga practice can start to trickle down to your diet. Because of this, many people are inspired to embrace new ways of eating that make them feel better about themselves and the world around them.

What Yoga Philosophy Says About Your Diet

Just because there is no one-size-fits-all “yogic diet” doesn’t mean that yoga philosophy has nothing to say about it. Instead, there are many yogic principles that can help you make choices around food. When studying the philosophy of yoga, people usually start with the Yamas and Niyamas. These are the philosophical principles that make up the first and second branches of yoga. Yamas refer to the code of ethics, while Niyamas refer to the practice of self-discipline. Another way to think about it is that yamas are things that are advised not to do, while niyamas are things that should be done. Three specific yamas and niyamas that can be interpreted as influencing diet are discussed below.

don’t kill

don’t kill

Ahimsa was the first of the Yamas. The Sanskrit translation is “non-violence”. Many people take the meaning of nonviolence literally and only in its most obvious physical form: not causing physical harm to other people. For this reason, many yogis follow vegetarian or vegan diets. As a human being who lives by the principles of non-violence, it makes sense not to eat meat given to other living beings through violent means.

But do all yogis have to be vegetarians or vegans? Is this a sustainable lifestyle for everyone? Not everyone thinks so. The principles of ahimsa go beyond simply stopping physical violence against other living beings. Nonviolence should also include how a person sees himself, treats himself, thinks or treats others, etc. Ahimsa is a very comprehensive definition of non-violence. For example, a yogi found that her body functioned better when she ate meat. After numerous attempts to become vegan, she found herself becoming anemic. After all, everyone’s body is unique, and some bodies don’t respond as well to a vegetarian or vegan diet as others. As this yogi says by not eating meat, she is actually inflicting violence on her body; she is not feeding it what it deserves. In making the decision to eat meat, she is actually treating her body with ahimsa. This is the argument that yogis can eat meat.

Another example of incorporating ahimsa into a yogi diet is through restraint. Counting calories or restricting food intake as a way to “punish” yourself is common—whether that punishment is based on making up for a “cheat day,” a punishment for your appearance, or an emotional punishment. In all of these cases, food was not used with ahimsa. Rather, it is an instrument of physical and mental violence. Eat like a yogi, accepting and incorporating the principles of ahimsa while nourishing the body.


Santosha is the second Niyama. Means “totally satisfied”. However, like ahimsa, this definition is much more than it seems. Can man be completely satisfied? Complete happiness doesn’t come from filling your life with the best things you can do, or from fulfilling some distant dream. In contrast, yoga teaches that complete contentment is not dependent on external factors and stimuli: santosha is found from within. look at

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