Although you don’t have to become a vegan to practice Yoga, as well as the many health benefits, there is also a principle in Yoga philosophy that encourages not consuming animal products for ethical reasons.
The practice of Yoga is much more than the physical asana classes that are popular in Western society. According to Patanjali’s eight-fold path, the limbs of Yoga are Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadi.
The reason many Yogi’s choose to not eat animal products comes from the first of these limbs. The Yamas outline the moral, ethical and social guidelines for practicing yoga.
The five Yamas of Yoga are:
Ahimsa – Non-violence. Not harming any living creature, emotionally, physically or mentally, including the self.
Satya – Truthfulness, in speech and thought to oneself and to others.
Asteya – Non-stealing. Not committing physical theft or condoning actions of stealing in body, mind or words.
Brahmacharya – Abstinence. Self-restraint and using your energy wisely.
Aparigraha – Non-attachment. Not holding onto physical or emotional objects, outcomes or perceptions.
Of these Yamas, Ahimsa, or non-harming is the ethical reason behind many plant-based Yogi’s. As well as being kind to others and ourselves, this is often interpreted as extending to all living beings and therefore can affect our food choices.
If we consume meat and animal products we are inadvertently causing harm to another creature, so to follow Ahimsa, many yogis opt for a plant based diet.
Despite the numerous documented health benefits, in Western culture, a vegan lifestyle can be perceived as challenging to obtain and many people talk themselves out of trying before even considering how to adopt new habits.
Here are some easy switches and simple recipes for an Ahimsa diet.
– Switch from cow’s milk to nut milk
– Coconut yogurt and ice cream instead of dairy
– Meat & cheese substitutes such as tempeh, quorn or cashew cheese
– Use coconut oil, olive oil or hummus instead of butter
The most important way to maintain a vegan diet is to be prepared when dining out and to prep your meals so you have something quick on hand when you get hungry.
Here are some very simple and quick plant-based recipes:
Zucchini pasta – Ingredients
- 2 zucchinis – spiraled or sliced into thin spaghetti noodles
- ½ brown onion
- a teaspoon or 1 clove crushed garlic
- 12 halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pitted olives
- 1 cup baby spinach
- a drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- parsley and basil
Dice and sauté onion and garlic in a medium fry pan until soft.
Add zucchini spirals, tomatoes, and olives, add a drizzle of olive oil stir through over low heat for 5 minutes or until zucchini is soft.
Add spinach and basil and stir through for 2 minutes.
Take off heat and serve with salt & pepper and parsley.
- 1 medium banana
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup almond or soy milk
- teaspoon cinnamon
- coconut oil
Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat
Combine all ingredients in a blender
Pour into the pan at desired pancake size
Cook for 2 minutes or until lightly browned and flip and cook the other side
Serve with fresh fruit and coconut yogurt if desired