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Teaching Hatha Yoga: Should a Yoga Teacher be a Vegetarian?

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
There are many beliefs and myths about what one should do to become a Yoga teacher. Some Yoga teacher organizations do make official statements in regard to Yoga teacher ethics; and diet is included, sometimes.

However, if you teach Yoga, should you be a vegan? Are dairy foods and eggs okay? What about goats, chicken, or fish? Yes, some Yoga teachers do eat goat, but not beef. Some people still claim that fish feel no pain, but I never heard that from a Yogi. Are you confused? What is right and what is wrong?

Firstly, let's step back a second. What you were taught about your religion and diet should be followed. This is for your spiritual health. You will feel more at ease, and you can live with it. Maybe Yoga teachers, and the world, could be a little more conscious of meat consumption and its consequences.

Due to the cultures people are raised in, they are used to the taste of a particular meat. An example of this is the global beef consumption. The Japanese had been used to eating whale meat. There are cultures that have acquired the taste of dogs and cats. Luckily, cannibalism has been outlawed worldwide.

Most of us are in agreement that our forests should be preserved. The forests serve as a filtering system for all of the fossil fuels we expel into the atmosphere.

Global warming may not be the only problem, if the last human on earth is gasping for oxygen. Removing any more forests, to make room for cattle to graze, is a slow form of global suicide. This only makes environmental sense.

Health problems, due to meat consumption, will require a book. If a person consumes any kind of meat, it should be in moderation. Obviously, there are better choices to eat than others, when considering cholesterol, cancer, and parasites.

Most of us have heard of Mad Cow, salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter. With fish consumption, mercury is always a factor. Fish is an excellent source of Omega-3 fats, but consumption should be limited when you consider mercury. Pregnant women should get a professional opinion about any fish consumption.

For the record, flax seed oil is also a good source of Omega-3 fats. Therefore, we do not have to eat fish for Omega-3 fats. When you eat meat, you are always gambling that nothing will happen. This is life - and life is a gamble - however, let me approach one last point.

Is eating any kind of an animal humane - when we do not have to eat them? Does any one of us really think that animals feel no pain? In the past, I have heard people state than animals have no soul. Throughout history, some people made the same claims about slaves. Will our opinions of animals evolve over time?

In summary, Yoga instructors are teaching an holistic method of health for maintenance of mind, body, and spirit. When you teach Yoga, awareness is instilled within you and your students.

At the very least, global meat consumption should be cut back. This is in the best interest of human survival, and all life on this earth. Yoga teachers should be examples of holistic health and high moral standards.

Copyright 2006 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who want to be a teacher.

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