Book Review: Yoga and Vegetarianism

“Eating a vegetarian diet can contribute more to saving ourselves and the planet than any other single effort.” – Sharon Gannon

I just finish reading Yoga and Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon. I had heard of it after seeing her video about the subject on My Yoga Online. The book made me reconsider veganism and I will do my best to follow an ethical vegetarian diet from now on. When Gannon speaks of Vegetariansm she is referring to veganism.

The book investigates how the yamas, the five ethical restrictions, from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s relate to vegetarianism. I give a very brief resume of some of the chapters below. I highly recommend the book to find out more.

1. Ahimsa, nonharming

maitryadishu balani
Through kindness, strength comes. Yoga Sutra III.24

What we do to others affects us all. Eating a vegetarian diet  causes the least harm to the planet and all creatures.

2. Satya, truthfulness

We are not told the truth about where food comes from. The meat and dairy industry spend millions on advertising. We aren’t told things such as the conditions the animals are kept in and the impact that factory farms have on the environment. By eating meat, dairy and eggs we support the industry. It’s like supporting a hit man but we lie to ourselves thinking it’s ok as long we aren’t the ones doing the killing.

3. Asteya, Nonstealing

Simple… To kill and eat animals is to steal their lives from them.

Before you eat something, put it to the “SOS” test devised by Ingrid Newkirk. “Was anyone Slaughtered Or Stolen from to provide this food for me?” if the answer is “yes,” then don’t eat it.

4. Brahmacharya, To respect the creative power of sex

Animals on factory farms do not have normal sexual relationships with other animals. Most never even see a member of the opposite sex. All the animals born in factory farms were artificially inseminated. The mothers are forced to become pregnant over and over again until they are no longer fertile and then get slaughtered and eaten.

5. Aparigraha, Greed, Excess and Poverty

No other animal besides humans would destroy a whole forest or cause the extinction of species while imagining that it has no negative effect upon them or the lives of their future children.

If you visit you can see the number of animals killed in the world every second. It’s hard to know how many sea creatures are killed because they are are not counted as individuals but by tonnage.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Sharon says “Inaction is not an option for the yogi.” My hope is that you are now more aware of how your diet impacts our world and that you will practice the SOS test more often or better yet, always.

3 Replies to “Book Review: Yoga and Vegetarianism”

  1. Matthew Wilcox

    With regards to your first point, it seems that a vegan diet may not be the most eco-friendly option:
    That does not, of course, invalidate your other points. Personally, I eat Beking’s eggs, which are probably the most ethical choice available to me, short of raising my own hens.
    That’s a moral dilemma of its own … should I support a local business which is trying to do the most ethical thing, or should I avoid purchasing the problematic product entirely?

    • tania Post author

      I was eating eggs until last week. Glad the blog made you think. Sharon says a small farm is just a smaller version of the factory farms. The animals are still slaves. I know it’s a touchy subject. My intention is simply to bring more awareness to how our choices have an impact on ourselves and the environment.

  2. Sara

    Great book review, thanks for sharing!

    I am so happy when I read local blogs that share the same interest because I know I am not the only one out there! It’s especially hard sometimes to just eat when you are out at a restaurant or a pub with friends, because vegetarian options are not always found on the menu. Even tougher, gluten-free vegetarian meals!

    The main reason I became a vegetarian was because of point #2 Satya. Back in 2010, after I read The Kind Diet, that just did for me. I stopped eating meat all together and never craved it since. Another good read is The China Study. It’s amazing how much more you love food and how much better you feel when you begin and maintain a vegetarian lifestyle 🙂

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