My friend Leah is awesome for sending me this article from the New York Times about the increasing inclusion of food in yoga practice.

Could you dig eating a three-course meal on your steamy yoga mat (otherwise known as the live active yoga culture mat)? I don’t know about you, but I’m usually one of the first people rolling that thing up, in a hurry to get myself to a shower! But I’ll come right out and say it—I am not one of those folks who really gets into the chanting and the om-ing and the moaning on the exhale. I like to get back out into the real world before the endorphins wear off. And anyway, I usually have someplace else to be.

If I had a bunch of friends at my studio it might be different, but it’s unlikely I’d even have time to stick around. However, the yogis at Exhale Spa‘s Friday event, seemed pretty comfy sitting cross-legged on the floor after class for some pasta, wine and chocolate.

This is, perhaps, my favorite part of the whole piece:

“It’s a little weird to sit on a sweaty yoga mat and eat soup,” said one woman, not pausing as she spooned up a smooth, cinnamon-spiked butternut squash purée from a bamboo bowl. “But people are used to doing some weird things in yoga class.”

Joy Pierson, the chef at the nearby Candle Café, a vegan restaurant that supplied the meal, sat cross-legged at the front of the room, encouraging everyone to breathe in slowly. “Ssssmell the squassshhhh waaaafting through the air,” she intoned.

Oh wow.

In addition to exploring the controversy of food in yoga, the article also goes into the “yogier than thou” attitude which often fuels food-based judgments. “In yoga and foodie circles alike,” writes author Julia Moskin, “contemplating the awesome significance of every bite taken — its flavors, its implications, its history — often seems to lead to moral judgments about others.”

It’s a cliche for a reason: a lot of yogies are vegetarians. That’s one of the first things many teachers advise. However, many believe that you don’t have to be a vegetarian to practice yoga.

So where to draw the line? I feel like it’s a decision you have to make for yourself. While I can get on board with the notion of showing compassion towards all beings by abstaining from eating meat, I think it’s very easy to take a restrictive diet too far, and that a lot of people do. However, enjoying food can—and should—be just as important as eating what you need to live. If pork is what does it for someone, it it really fair to make them feel alienated?

Still, Moskin begs the question: Can bacon be yoga?

I don’t know, but I think the answer lies within one’s personal philosophy of what yoga means to them and its function in their life. I can’t help but sound like my mother, who is a hypnotherapist, when I say, “To each their own,” but I honestly believe that. I guess it’s true, what my mom says: “The crystal does not fall far from the family cluster.”

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