Once in our yogi life we will encounter this question: What the heck is the yoga lifestyle anyway?! Well, it’s not that black and white as we will all have our different lifestyles already.
But let’s talk about some questions that my students frequently asked me. If you have more questions after reading this article, don’t be a stranger and leave a comment down below!
FAQ About the Yoga Lifestyle
Can I still drink alcohol?
This one has probably been the most asked question. And I still see people talking about this one.
Can I still drink a beer?!
Well, yes, it is possible to drink a beer.
That’s the short version of it, but if you’ve read some other articles you know we don’t take the short answer for granted!
It’s a bit similar to many religions. You have the holy scriptures that tell you how to live and which rules to follow. However, there is always room for interpretation.
Here it says that we need to be as pure as possible. Meaning that we have to stay away from all the temptation that is not good for our body.
Easier said than done of course, and we can stretch this as well.
So, in a way, it does mean that you can’t drink any alcohol. But as in many religions, there is no rule that will tell you that it’s absolutely prohibited. It’s merely how you interpret things and how you’d like to live your life.
I do have to mention that going on a bender isn’t oftenly done by yogis. This more because we know how it feels what it’s like if you are on the mat with a massive hangover.
In this way it’s actually really nice and gradual how yoga changes your life. At a certain point you’ll become more aware of what is good and what isn’t for your body.
This means that over time you’ll actually will feel what nice goodies can do for you and what effect other ‘negative’ pleasures have.
I actually always tell my students that they’ve got to give it a go. Step onto your mat with a hangover and see how it feels. You’ll probably quickly feel that it isn’t all that great… nor worth it.
Do I Have To Go Vegan Now?
You really don’t have to. You can if you want to, and if your friends are true yogis they won’t judge you if you aren’t.
I’ll begin this one with my own experience. After my Yoga Teacher Training I decided to go all the way vegetarian. So, no more fish nor meat. Vegan was a bit too much for me.
After 6 years, I started to feel the need to eat fish again. For a while I was in a bit of a struggle with myself. I felt that as a yogi, you shouldn’t eat animals at all!
My body kept craving fish and I was sure it wasn’t my mind. I did some blood analysis’ and found out that I was low in certain vitamins. Upon which the doctor advised me to eat fish or meat again.
I started eating fish again and I found out that relying on your body is much more important than to blend in with your fellow yogis.
That said, we do have to look at Ahimsa here. This term means ‘non-violent’ and it’s one of the yamas.
Within this one we can also think about what harm we are doing to other creatures. And we can see that a vegetarian lifestyle might be more appropriate when it comes down to ahimsa.
However, as I mentioned before, if your body is really craving something, it often means that it’s also in need of something.
That said, I even had a meditation teacher that always said that the human body was made to eat meat or fish. Our digestive system (including our teeth) have been developed in such a way that we should eat meat or fish.
As you can see, not that clear of an answer ;). You should fill it in how you want to live and what you feel good with.
Isn’t Yoga Just Stretching The Body?
Yes, it can be, if you do it with no awareness at all.
The difference between these two is the intention. You do your stretching exercises with the purpose of preventing injuries during your entire workout.
This while you do yoga consciously. Meaning that you’re going to focus on breathing and being completely mindful.
And yes, this means that if you are stretching with being mindful about it, that you are actually also doing a little bit of yoga ;).
Another aspect of yoga is that it’s not just doing the asanas. There is also the meditation, in the beginning, to focus on your breathing and there is the savasana, in the end, to let your whole practice sink in, and to let meditation come to you.
About the latter we will talk again in a different article.
Do I Have To Meditate To Do Yoga?
Well, yes and no.
The thing here is that within every yoga practice there should be a tiny bit of meditation incorporated as well. Or at least some mindful-exercises.
If you don’t do this part, you can just call your yoga practice a stretching workout.
That said, you don’t have to meditate besides your yoga practice if you don’t want to. This because your yoga practice should already incorporate some meditation as well.
The same with Savasana. This is the most important asana at the end of every yoga practice. YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER SKIP SAVASANA. Same reason, if you don’t do it, you can better call it a work-out.
Savasana is so important because this is the moment you’ve been working toward within your yoga practice.
With all the mindful stretching that you’ve done for about an hour or longer, you’ve prepared your body and mind for stillness.
And if you want it or not, this is what meditation is about. So, Savasana is actually based on the principles of meditation.