Ask anyone else and you’ll get a different set of answers. This is just one perspective (mine!).
What is yoga?
Great question! Impossible answer. Asking “what is yoga?” is like asking “what is life?”
To begin with, there are different systems of yoga. One of the most common is Raja yoga, which identifies eight aspects or “limbs” of yoga. These eight limbs include restraints (yamas) and observances (niyamas), asanas (the postures we typically think of as doing yoga), breath control (pranayama), different states of meditation, and union with the divine.
My personal understanding of the word yoga is that it means “to yoke,” or more commonly, “union.” In a yoga class, this could refer to the linking of movement and breath, the connection between our internal and external worlds, the relationship between body, mind and spirit, or the union between human beings and the force that created us. I believe that yoga also refers to the recognition that we are all interconnected and united in our shared human experience.
When you hold these ideas within your heart and mind, and respond to life accordingly, I believe you are “doing” yoga.
What is a yogi?
A yogi, by my definition, is a person who has done yoga, wants to do yoga, is doing yoga, or is thinking about doing yoga someday.
There is no quiz or certification to become a yogi. No one is ever going to see you carrying a yoga mat and ask you to prove that you’re a yogi. I don’t even think there is such a thing as being good at yoga. Sure, there are more or less advanced practices. But the point of studying yoga is to engage with the process of personal evolution and integrate the resulting awareness of our interconnectedness: I am you and you are me. Then, live accordingly. This is how I see it, anyway.
What do you mean by “yoga practice”?
Your yoga practice is uniquely yours. How do you engage in yogic study? Which techniques are most relevant to you right now? What are your favorite postures? In what areas of your life do you feel most challenged? Where is your growing edge?
The answers to these questions (and so many others!) are what I mean when I refer to your yoga practice.
Personally, my recent practice has included studying with a new (to me) teacher, more consistent asana practice, awareness of wanting to meditate more often (sometimes I actually even do it), listening to what I need in each moment (when I remember to ask myself), speaking my truth, holding my boundaries, and noticing what is without needing to change it.
As you may have noticed—most of my yoga practice isn’t even on a yoga mat! And much of it happens inside my sweet little head. (Actually, I wear a 7¾ hat size—my head is huge. But this is not the point.)
What do you mean by modern yoga?
I don’t have time to meditate in a cave for forty days straight…do you? We don’t live in the age of Patanjali (Google it). The demands of life were different when there was no running water, refrigeration, or Internets.
Absolutely, there is an essence of yoga—a discipline, a calling, an order—that we benefit by observing as much today as yogis ever have. I’m not remotely saying that modern yoga should be reduced to a tight booty, green juice and asana practice at the local yoga franchise.
What I am saying, is that if yoga is going to mean something to our lives, our practice has to conform to our lifestyle—at least until our lifestyle starts to conform to our practice. (Maybe that’s the goal?)
Do I have to eat only organic food?
No, you can eat Twinkies if you want. But how do you feel when you eat Twinkies?
The point of Eat Like a Yogi is to provide suggestions for how to eat in a way that will help you feel your best, serve the earth, and maintain respect for all creatures. Organic food has more nutrients, fewer chemicals and pesticides that can make you sick, and it’s waaay better for the planet than conventional farming. Knowing this, I feel better when I buy organic food…or cotton balls or beauty products or clothing, for that matter.
If the cost of buying organics over conventional produce is a concern, maybe narrow your focus to the fruits and vegetables that you do not peel (since you’ll be eating the skin and thus anything on the skin). This would include tomatoes, berries, grapes, root veggies, stone fruit, apples and pears.
Do I have to be vegetarian or vegan to be a real yogi?
No. By now you know that my definitions are very liberal. The reason they are liberal is because I believe that we are all at different places on the path of waking up to our true nature (love) and the purpose of our existence (love). I do not believe that a lack of awareness or heart-understanding should mean someone is excluded from the very thing that will lead to their awakening (yoga). This is an equal opportunity enterprise.
Are you a trained chef?
No, but I am a trained intuitive, and my intuition is most definitely the most important skill I have when it comes to cooking.
We can all learn about cooking and techniques by watching videos on YouTube. What’s more difficult is to learn to listen to your food, to feel your way into a recipe and discern what else it needs to be just right. We can all learn these things—we just have to get quiet and tune in. This is my specialty.
How long do I have to wait after eating before I can do yoga?
It depends on your constitution. The point of an empty stomach is that your energy is available for movement and concentration instead of digestion. I usually drink a protein smoothie about an hour before yoga and it doesn’t bother me or make me feel like I’m going to barf. If you’re going to eat, just keep it light and you should be fine.
I noticed none of your recipes include meat. Can I add some meat?
For ethical, environmental, and health reasons, I don’t like to eat meat (or dairy or eggs). If meat is still a part of your diet, consider using the recipes here as the main feature of your meal, and make the meat a side dish or even just the garnish.
Why don’t you list the calorie count of the food?
Between the ages of 16 and 20 or so, I could tell you how many calories were in damn near every food I ate, and it wasn’t fun. In fact, it felt like punishment.
What is fun—for me—is:
- using food as a way to love and nourish myself
- discerning what I need nutritionally to feel aligned and connected
- savoring the sensuousness of food
- allowing myself the pleasure of feeling truly satisfied by a nutritious meal.
Do I have to do yoga to Eat Like a Yogi?
No! These recipes are for everyone. Most of them exclude the seven most common allergens, so this is a great site for people who are managing food allergies. These recipes are also great for Meatless Mondays, expanding your vegetable horizons, cleansing from the Standard American Diet, Paleo side dishes, and trying new types of grains and beans.