Yoga and Vegetarianism Help Each Other

Allison Biggar, an author of documentaries about people who got rid of a deadly disease or successfully rehabilitated after such a disease with the help of vegetarian diets, drew the public’s attention to the fact that vegetarianism and yoga complement each other very well and together they have an amazing effect.

The green activist and author of a recently published book of vegetarian recipes (many of which actually help save lives!) highlights the benefits of yoga for vegetarians and more in her latest article. She believes that although many people know that yoga increases flexibility and helps fight stress, not everyone is aware that yoga exercises also reduce cholesterol levels and allow you to lose weight, as well as get rid of unhealthy eating habits and cleanse the body of toxins!

Allison drew the attention of all vegetarians to the fact that deep breathing – which is used in yoga as a stand-alone exercise, and is also required for most other techniques – is extremely effective in “burning” calories. According to medical estimates, properly performed deep yoga breathing burns 140% more calories than exercising on a stationary bike! It is clear that such a technique loses much of its effectiveness if a person consumes junk food and eats meat every day. But for people who generally lead a healthy lifestyle, such an exercise can be very useful.

Another phenomenon that has caught Allison’s attention is that, according to studies, inverted yoga poses lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Inverted poses are not only Sirshasana (“headstand”) or the extremely difficult Vrischikasana (“scorpion pose”), but also all body positions in which the stomach and legs are higher than the heart and head – many of them are not so difficult for execution and are accessible even to beginners. For example, these are such asanas (static postures) of classical yoga as Halasana (“plow pose”), Murdhasana (“standing on the top of the head”), Viparita Karani asana (“inverted pose”), Sarvangasana (“birch tree”), Naman Pranamasana (“prayer posture”) and a number of others.

Many modern yoga masters – who are no longer afraid of losing a significant part of their clients! – openly declare that for a serious yoga practice, a complete rejection of meat and other lethal foods is necessary. For example, one of the most famous yoga teachers in the USA – Sharon Gannon (Jivamukti Yoga School) – even recorded a special video in which she popularly explains why yogis become vegan and how it is motivated from a philosophical point of view. She reminds her followers that the commandment “Ahimsa” (“non-violence”) is the first in the code of moral and ethical rules of yoga (sets of 5 rules “Yama” and “Niyama”).

Ellison, who in her work is clearly interested in the health benefits of various technologies (rather than achieving the yogic goals of awakening the Kundalini energy and Enlightenment, which are key in classical Indian yoga), especially recommends two modern Western styles to her readers. This is, firstly, Bikram Yoga, which involves the practice of basic yoga positions in a room with high air temperature and humidity, and, secondly, Ashtanga Yoga, which combines the practice of complex postures with various types of breathing, including deep diaphragmatic . She also recommends the practice of yoga therapy, popular in the West and already well known in our country (in the post-Soviet space, it is indistinguishable from “ordinary yoga” and often goes under the same brand), which helps to get rid of many diseases, such as depression, asthma, pain in back, arthritis, insomnia and even multiple sclerosis.

Ellison also reminds that when you get carried away with yoga practices and health diets, you should not forget about the “karmic” benefits of both and the ethical component of both yoga and vegetarianism. Actually, this is what Sharon Gannon says in her speech, which can be called another milestone in the history of undoubted cooperation and friendship between vegetarians and yogis, emphasizing that from the standpoint of yoga philosophy, in general, man and animals should be considered as one whole – where is the doubt, to be a vegetarian or not?

For those who doubt whether they can practice yoga, Allison quotes the words of Bikram Chowdhury, owner of the Bikram Yoga chain of yoga rooms: “It’s never too late! You can’t be too old, too bad, or too sick to start yoga from scratch.” Allison stresses that it is quite obvious that when combined with a vegetarian diet, the possibilities of yoga are almost limitless!




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