It is assumed by many, that vegetarianism is an integral part of yoga practice. This belief is only partially true, for while yoga views vegetarianism as the most beneficial system of nutrition, it does not for an instant insist that all practitioners of yoga become vegetarians. Vegetarianism does find a place in yoga only insofar as it is the preferred nutritional system whereby total body health can be obtained in preparation for the higher forms of yoga. Non- vegetarians are, however, heartily accepted as practitioners of yoga. Yoga advises but does not preach vegetarianism. One of the basic aims of yoga is to tune the body to a high degree of sensitivity and this is more easily achieved by abstaining from meat. Remember, yoga aims to bring about mental peace and tranquillity as well as physical relaxation. This is also more easily obtained if one does not eat meat. Further, meat has a tendency to be a greater repository of toxins and waste products than vegetarian food.
If you are not sure whether you can obtain all your nutritional needs of the body from a vegetarian diet, then you should not become one. But if you study any charts given on this subject you will clearly see that all the body’s requirements – fats and carbohydrates, pro- teins, vitamins and minerals – are obtained in more than adequate quantities in vegetarian foods. If you are still not convinced, then consider the practical experience of vege- tarians. The fact that innumerable people are vegetarians and have been for aeons in many parts of the world as a way of life, shows that vegetarianism does not lead to nutritional deficiency. On the contrary, it leads to wonderful health and a new lease on life.
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