Over the centuries, the great masters of Yoga have agreed on almost all matters related to healthy living. One of them is eating. Being human, there are a few things that they have not agreed upon.
Then again seldom has this been on diet; that includes the question of vegetarianism and the amount to be eaten. Vegetarianism is one of the principles inherent in the teachings of all Yoga masters.
Essentially, vegetarianism is recommended because through their own experience, the Yoga masters discovered that meat stimulates, or rather irritates, the human system. They point out that meat-eating nations are among the most aggressive. Conversely, those seeking to explore the deepest levels of their own natures and minds should avoid too much psychophysical stimulation. This is a lot like trying to look into a pool; it is so much easier if the wind does not cause ripples that disturb the surface. The depths are always present, undisturbed by ripples, that cannot he seen unless the surface is as clear as a mirror.
The second argument in favour of vegetarianism is that Yoga practices are designed to cleanse the system, and gradually take one's being to a peak of efficiency and sensitivity. Once more, making a comparison with the pool, even if we were to manage to calm the surface, we would not be able to see into the depths, if mud and dirt were suspended in the water. Yoga states that even in a healthy human body, a lot of cleansing has to be done if the person is to realize any great degree of their innate possibilities. By eating meat we take into our bodies many of the toxins and waste products of the dead animals.
The third reason is that Yogis have come to realize their oneness with all creation. Hence they prefer not to take the lives of sentient creatures for food. It is not possible for a sensitive human being to look into the eyes of a bird or animal and not see a kinship with themselves.
Contemporary vegetarianism is largely based on the third reason, besides health considerations. There are also a number of appealing findings on the healing of wounds after operations. Oftentimes, when operation wounds proved difficult or slow to heal, a strict vegetarian diet was able to bring about remarkable changes. So vegetarianism, old or new, is not without its physical benefits. Whether you practise Yoga for physical or spiritual goals, vegetarianism is desirable, though not mandatory.