Often I am asked by people why I choose to be a vegetarian. I have always been a bit different. I grew up with a family who ate meat. But when I was just about to turn 9 years old, I made the decision to become a vegetarian. I have not eaten meat since. 24 years. My son has been a vegetarian since birth. Unfortunately, some people still hold the thought that if you don’t eat meat then you must surely survive on carrots and salad and must surely risk starving to death. Obviously not true. I eat the most delicious food in the world. When I became a vegetarian, it was something I felt strongly about and still do. I couldn’t imagine or stand the thought of animals suffering and dying in cruel ways to provide us food, it affected me very deeply.
Years later as I begun to study yoga, I was happy to learn that the study of yoga encourages a vegetarian lifestyle. Some yogis and yoginis debate the importance of this. Some argue that they feel stronger and healthier eating meat. Others argue that eating meat is eating death, and that death and slaughter, pain and torture, fog up our energetic system and weigh us down with negative karma. The Yoga Sutras and even the Bagavad gita talk of importance of a vegetarian lifestyle. Some yogis BKS Iyengar included, suggest that being vegetarian is a neccesity to the true practice of yoga. Ahimsa, nonviolence, one of the most basic commitments to the practice of yoga; who and what does this apply to?
I don’t judge anyone based on their decision to eat or not to eat meat. I do however think it is important to get in touch with your body and notice how different food affects you. I would suggest doing some real soul searching, maybe even visiting a farm where animals are killed for food, and then decide how you feel about it. Studying yogic text is a helpful guide on our path, but learning to listen to our own hearts is even more important.
This is surely a topic I will post on frequently…. and maybe even add some food reviews. Stay tuned.