What Yogis Eat: Choices That Make A Difference
Eat like a yogi. I don’t want to put anyone in a box and say “You are _______ therefore you need to eat this ________. That would be like saying there’s only one way to practice yoga, there are no modifications, which is just silly! Yoga isn’t about coloring in the lines or putting oneself in a box, it’s actually the opposite. To promote thinking more abstractly through creativity and finding your own way, making the path yours. Customized to fit you. There is no right or wrong. I don’t believe this yogic lifestyle was ever intended to put people in a box and label them as “yogis.” We are all unique beings which calls for making choices that will fit our needs in the moment. Yoga is simply a catalyst to drop into our inner voice and live in harmonious balance with ourselves and others.
With that said, some of us drink tea, coffee, wine and others eat meat, vegetables, fruit or even live off air without food and water (airiterians are a real thing). Certain foods may provide what we need in that moment, however with this food series “What Yogis Eat,” my intention is simple. I want you, the reader, to start thinking about food choices because in reality, it has an impact on not only us, but the environment too. In this series I will also be providing easy options for yogis on a budget that are interested in eating plant-based meals and snacks.
As yogis we have choices to look at all areas of our life and start to integrate the philosophy of yoga into daily decision-making. I’d also like to address, that there are people out there that do yoga for exercise, to sweat, get a good stretch in and that is beautiful too. However, yoga is a lifestyle if you want it to be. Yes there are people that think yoga is simply an exercise or designed for folks that are already flexible, neither are true. The physical practice is called yoga asana in sanskrit this term means a comfortable seat. Asana is the third branch of The Eight Limb Path. Yoga is actually much more than moving the body for exercise. If this is to new you, that’s ok, stick with me. Yoga isn’t about how deep you can go in a pose, although this is a common misperception. I hear people constantly say “yoga isn’t for me” or “I am not flexible enough to do yoga.” I’m here to veto those statements because yoga is for everyone. If the asana doesn’t interest you, that’s ok too because there’s other yogic practices (and a variety of asana styles) that may be a better fit.
It can feel intimidating not having much flexibility, balance or strength and that’s why more people need it. Yes, I am biased. Sure, I have been practicing for years but I can assure you that yoga is not just for bendy people which is a common thought. Yoga is systematic practice that’s been designed to teach people how to live. It’s about staying open, receptive, trying new things through mindful observation to enhance our overall well-being. Part of the intention behind yoga is self study, discovering our purpose, and living mindfully. This “work” of taking responsibility for our decisions has the power to raise our vibration and awareness.
Mother Teresa said it best, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But that ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Sometimes it seems like the little things aren’t that big of a deal but they kinda are. Another great quote that I love, is “Be the change you want to see in the world” (Ghandi). Sidenote, all these brilliant minds that spark shift in consciousness were yogis whether they were aware of it or not! Step back for a moment, you may not be Jesus or Lord Krishna, but you matter and your choices do too. Just think if everyone supported local farmers, meditated most days, went to yoga, carpooled, recycled, treated water as a precious resource, smiled at strangers in the grocery store, the list goes on when it boils down to how to making this world a better place. I genuinely believe that these small choices can create big change on a micro and macro level.
With all that said, our daily habits of what we do, what we eat, how we show up can impact our health. If we eat fast food everyday this will influence our brain function, energy level, sleep, digestion, overall moral and motivation. So, why not use food as medicine? I have noticed in my own body that when I make healthy food choices, I’m simply a more pleasant (along with experiencing the list of perks above), compassionate, thoughtful human being. Which ties in perfectly to the term ahimsa, one of the yamas in the Sutras.
Before diving much deeper, I want us to take a few steps back in history. Stay tuned for more on ahimsa and how we can integrate compassionate, nonviolent practices into our food choices.
Jenna’s relationship with yoga started in 2000, and little did she know that it would have such a positive impact on her life. Soon after diving into the world of yoga, Jenna realized that this practice wasn't just physical but that it also broadened her emotional and spiritual awareness.
She started teaching yoga in 2008 and has studied several different styles including hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative, and anusara. Jenna's love for yoga practice spurred her passion for holistic health and wellness and inspired her to study holistic nutrition. She now shares her knowledge of yoga and healthy living both on and off the mat in her classes, online cleanse programs, workshops and retreats.
Jenna recognizes that yoga has powerful, therapeutic effects on the body and mind which can impact how we feel on a daily basis and how we show up in life. She believes that integrating the lessons learned on the mat into everyday life is the true medicine of this practice.
Jenna graduated from the 300 HR at the Yoga Forest in November 2017. She is on the Kula Path and recently apprenticed at the 200 HR in Costa Rica in March.
To find out more about Jenna's approach to holistic health, yoga, and plant-based living, check out her website jennacarpenter.org