Ask the expert – What type of diet is most complimentary for a good yoga routine?
Our Yoga Expert, Zoelle Horowitz, is a medical doctor and experienced yogi. She shares her answer with Women4Adventure.
I am a firm believer that your diet is the cornerstone of good health and see food as a form of self-medication. Yoga is ‘the divine union of the two minds’ through the practice of asanas. A yoga lifestyle demands strength, endurance and concentration, which is synonymous with optimal physiological functioning. Your fire needs GOOD fuel.
There are no absolutes regarding the origins of yoga and there are therefore no absolutes regarding the diet of yogis. The historical scriptures do however suggest a way of being, which subsequently influences our thoughts about our food.
Meat Versus Veggie
Originally, Hindus lived off the land and ate meat. Eventually they were influenced by Buddhism, the original vegetarianism catalyst. An Indian king (Asoka) was one of the first kings in history to abjure war and meat eating all together. He catalysed the movement that is still a part of millions of Hindus’ lives today.
An important ethical principle practiced by yogis is ahimsa (non-violence). This encapsulates being sensitive to harm done to any living being. A true yogi, will gravitate towards vegetarianism because of their compassion for life.
The meat industry also has massive implications on our environment. It is one of the leading causes of global warming. Yogis have respect for all of existence and therefore would advocate less harm being done to our planet.
It seems less violent to me to allow an animal to live a relatively autonomous, stress-free existence before it is humanely slaughtered versus stock-fed, battery farmed animals. I am suspicious of hormones and antibiotics that are a staple of mass production farms. I worry about the implication of this on our bodies as consumers and that is another reason why I avoid eating meat.
Listen to your Body
I advocate the best diet suited to YOU. If you feel that you require meat, then I would ask you to consider the amount consumed and the origin of the meat. I eat meat on special occasions and try to be sure of the source.
Find your Balance
Moderation is key. Yoga focuses on balance from so many angles (while being in so many angles!). Too much or too little of anything will off-set your internal balance. Consuming just a little bit of sugar while leading an active lifestyle will taste sweet, the point is not to overdo it.
Food for Thought
Yoga is about the self. We are all very different. Nutritional experts are worth consulting and are advocating personalised diets that are based on your body-type, genetics and daily requirements (not everyone is allergic to gluten!). A consistent recommendation is too maintain a diverse diet, rich in herbs, fruits
, legumes and grains.
A good yoga routine requires optimal health so it is wise to be aware of ingesting unnecessary toxins: drugs (recreational and pharmaceutical), alcohol, nicotine, non-organic produce, preservatives and pre-packaged foods. Doing yoga requires deepening your understanding of yourself and your body. Use the practice to understand how different types of food make you feel. Experiment until you find a diet that sits well with your conscience and happily in your belly.