The Yoga of Food
There are eight limbs of yoga. In the west we usually equate the practice of Yoga Asana with all the limbs. The first two limbs deal with lifestyle – the Yamas and Niyamas and within them there is the concept of Ahimsa which means non-violence. A lot of yogic purists equate Ahimsa with being vegan as they believe that meat and dairy are inherently violent to animals. This is true in the purist sense of the word, but there are many other ways to look at it. In a Yoga Journal Conference I attended to there was a talk about the Yoga of Food. It was a panel of esteemed teachers; the format was a question and answer session. One of the speakers posed a question to the audience. He asked, “tell me who is embodying the concept of Ahimsa – the person eating a piece of grass fed beef, chewing mindfully and with gratitude for the farmer who raised the cow organically, and the cow that gave its life so that he may eat or is it the vegan sitting in the corner angrily glaring at him full of hatred towards him?’
The vegan lifestyle
This opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about it and it was something that inspired us in the creation of the diet section of The Ultimate Yogi program. In a perfect world we would all grow the plants that sustain us and we would buy local and we would eat good. But just a quick glance around and you will realize the world is far from perfect. In The Ultimate Yogi Program we introduce three lifestyle diets Vegan, Raw, and Juice. We only ask that you try them out for three days. For some this may seem like an eternity. But here is the main point, if you fall make sure you fall with grace. Just like in the Balance class where Travis reminds us that its not the fall that counts its the judgement associated with the fall. Do the best you can – if its just not accessible to you, do not beat yourself up.
Eating with grace
In the west we are so accustomed to the puritanical mind frame which is filled with Thou Shalt and Thou Shalt not. We are raised on the concepts of original sin, and guilt constantly plagues us because someone is always judging our every action. Not to get overly preachy here, but if you subscribe to the tenant that someone is always watching – that’s great. Should you not allow that person to do their job unencumbered, without you adding your assistance to that already tedious task. Instead take this Ultimate Yogi journey with ease and grace and take a break from the incessant need to criticize your every action. Just like a yoga pose do not force it. Forcing poses is the recipe for injury. Forcing your diet is the recipe for unhappiness. For those of you that are entering day thirty three of the Ultimate Yogi journey we ask that you ease into a vegan lifestyle diet for only three days. You never know, perhaps you might leave these three days with another recipe or a new found love for something you would have never considered eating. Perhaps you only make it through that one meal and its all good – you will thank yourself for trying and so will the chicken that lives another day.
This blog was inspired by one of the participants who has joined up on the FaceBook group. She wrote, “Thank you at Yariv Lerner… I committed my self to the physical part of this program but I’ve been a wayward steward in the food department… please know my heart is still in it. Its a battle of wills I suppose but I think in time it will work out. Great advice to aspire to… I wish everyone the best.” If you are in the beginning stages of your journey or are about to embark onto your first three day cleanse – approach the yoga of food like any other pose – with compassion and with mindfulness.
Yoga of food recipes
I am including a few of the recipes you can try out. Please feel free to post your own on the UY108 page.