Can you be Paleo and a yogi?
The other day I was reading the comments on another yoga blog post and one of the commenters said that you can’t be a true yoga practicioner if you eat meat. The commenter was particularly radical in his beliefs, but lots of yogis believe that. The idea is that yogis practice ahisma, which means doing no harm. Logically, that means not killing anything. But ahisma also means not doing harm to yourself…and I (as do many CrossFitters) believe most humans need meat to be healthy. Vegetarianism is in stark contrast to the nutrition values we hold dear in the CrossFit community. Most CrossFitters at least work towards eating Paleo-style (more info here), which means lots of lean meat, veggies, fruits and nuts, zero processed foods, zero grains, almost zero sugar and very low amounts of dairy. Eating paleo and vegetarian would be almost impossible.
So, because we believe not eating meat would harm ourselves, do we not deserve yoga? Obviously, the answer is no. That would be like saying that because you sin you don’t deserve Christianity. Yoga, like religion, is for anyone. Everyone can practice yoga on their own terms regardless of their religious beliefs, lifestyle or diet. Yoga isn’t just about the poses. It’s about connecting the body, mind and soul–and you can’t do that if you aren’t nourishing yourself properly.
Unless you are really diligent about only purchasing only locally grown foods, checking out the farms they come from and what is used to produce them…you can never really be sure that what you are eating isn’t causing some sort of harm to someone or something. For example, if you regularly buy pasta at the local grocery store do you know where the grain came from? How much fuel was used to power the machines that harvested it? What happened to the animals that lived on the land we now use to grow wheat? Have you researched who picks the coffee beans you use every morning and if they are paid a living wage? There are so many questions when it comes to what we eat and the practice of ahisma. I think that the only way we can start is do no harm to ourselves. I am a true believer in the old adage that “if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else,” meaning, you have to put your needs first in order to meet your true potential. Thoughts?