Yoga students are confronted with a traditional method of nutrition directly associated with the classical philosophy and with the health practices of Hatha Yoga.
These must be considered and a personal decision made as to whether you will include the natural diet provided in the main by fruits, vegetables, nuts and grain or abstain from meat eating for health reasons, or for philosophic reasons. Usually a decision is necessary, if not immediately, then later, if you seriously wish to study and apply all that the age-old wisdom offers through the Vedic and Yogic teachings.
When first, we are introduced to the yamas/niyamas or the classical ethic stipulations that precede spiritual practice, we read of ahimsa – the yogic ethic of non violence. We are encouraged to contemplate all that is embraced in the practical application of this principle.
In regard to nutrition and the food we eat, however, many come to realise that they would not eat lamb if they had to kill the lamb for food, nor eat veal if they were directly involved in the unsavoury methods of its production. In our system of living, very different from the natural instincts of animals, the responsibility for killing is passed off onto others.
An intelligent reappraisal of the eating of flesh foods illustrates the fact that there are many questionable points to raise regarding the wisdom of our choices. Any new perspective will motivate us to make changes that we believe are right.
Avoiding all the complex health issues, or even the moral issues in explaining to others why we are vegetarian is that we love animals!