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Vegetarianism and Yoga

The practice of yoga and meditation involves a specific yogic diet. This helps by controlling the body temperature and balancing glandular secretions, giving elasticity to the ligaments and the capacity to both concentrate and relax. Yogic teachings indicate that a vegetarian diet is ideally suited to achieve the best results of these practices.

Leaving aside for a moment all valid ethical, health and social considerations regarding abstaining from eating meat, let's focus on how yogic philosophy classifies foods according to how well they favour optimal physical and psychic health for the practice of spiritual development.

Food is classified into three different categories:
1. Sentient: food which is good for the body and the mind.
2. Mutative: food which may be good or neutral for the body or the mind.
3. Static: food which is bad for the body and mind.

According to these categories, static foods are to be avoided, mutative foods are to be consumed in moderation, and obviously, sentient foods may be eaten freely.

Food Table:

Sentient: Fruit, legumes, most vegetables, cereals, milk products, mild herbs and spices.

Mutative: Coffee, cocoa, tea, allopathic medicines prescribed by a doctor, hot spices, carbonated drinks.

Static: Meat (red and white), and its by-products, fish and other seafood, eggs, garlic, onions, mushrooms, red lentils, alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, drugs, and medicines without a doctor's prescription.

- This is a basic table for your information; however there can be many factors to take into consideration.
- Factors such as climate or methods of conserving food can alter the classification of the food negatively or positively.

This classification of food has been a part of the yogic tradition for thousands of years, particularly that of the Vedic and Tantric traditions. In the Ananda Marga system, no food has been removed from its original classification; however, some foods have been added, according to the needs of our time.

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