The Yoga of Eating: Incorporating Food Into Your Practice

As the yoga community expands, so do our values around food. Here's how to eat like a yogi. (Hint: there's no 'one' way.)

The Yoga of Eating: Incorporating Food Into Your Yoga Practice

Read how these 4 teachers eat for body and soul 4 Teachers on the Yoga of Eating

Eat Like a Yogi: (Hint: there’s no ‘one’ way)

If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast for yogis and plan to have a dish for everyone at the table, you might want to have a spreadsheet handy. The yoga community’s eating habits and philosophies are as diverse as the styles of yoga we practice. Ask for special requests, and you may get everything from vegan to Paleo to gluten-free to flexitarian.

Yoga, Ahimsa and Vegetarianism Today

Historically within the yoga community, many practitioners have chosen to be vegetarians or vegans who eschew animal products on the basis of ahimsa. Ahimsa means “nonviolence,” an ethical guideline from the foundational Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Other ancient yogic texts and Hindu traditions also speak to the importance of vegetarianism, and plenty of today’s yoga teachers emphasize a creature-free diet.

But in the spirit of exploration that runs through modern yoga, more yogis are adjusting their diet identities and listening to what their bodies need—and for some practitioners, that means eating meat. With the increased availability of organic, locally raised and non-factory-farmed meat and dairy products, some yogis feel strongly that it’s a smart and ethical choice to support the small farmers who make the effort to raise animals humanely.

When it comes to personal well-being, Ayurveda—the holistic Indian science that addresses diet, exercise, and lifestyle—sometimes advocates consuming animal products for physiological and emotional balance. Traditional Chinese medicine also urges some meat, depending on a person’s constitution and health.

Listen to Your Body’s Nourishment Needs

The bottom line is that, like many things in life, there’s not just one dietary choice that works for everyone. Yoga is a process of becoming aware and listening to yourself. That means tuning in to what foods nourish you best and which ethical choices reflect your conscience.

To cast light on these personal decisions, four yoga teachers from around the country describe what they eat and why, offering deep insights, delicious tips, and a favorite family Thanksgiving recipe that fits their food ethos.

See4 Teachers on the Yoga of Eating