Living a yoga oriented life may conjure up for many folks an image of austerity and severe lifestyle restrictions with hours of practice every day.
This is not really accurate. Certainly life in a monastery may be something similar to what is described above, however most of us are not living as monks.
Many yoga schools do call for a vegetarian diet. This is partly since the yoga precepts and philosophy have mainly come through the Indian Hindu religion. The concept and philosophy of Yoga actually pre-dated the Hindu religion having its roots in the Vedas.
The yoga system is a-religious and does not call specifically for vegetarianism. Perhaps balance and nutritional needs is a better way to think forwards. Many do interpret the injunction of 'non-harming, ahimsa, to mean we should not kill and eat animals. In Sacred Spiral we do not consider a blade of grass as a lower life form than a cow, so the idea does not have any meaning. The appalling way animals are treated and slaughtered in today's commerce driven world is a different story altogether.
The very nature of yogic positioning boils down to a state of awareness that calls for self-witnessing in all we do and think and feel.
Our values, beliefs and attitudes will all gradually come into scrutiny. This does not mean we cease to take pleasure in activities or have no further material goals and so on, but rather that we asses our level of attachment, or non-attachment, aparigraha, to these intentions and activities.
The condition of yoga is not separate to the rest of our lives, but rather informs the entirety of our ‘life’.
Considering Diet & Lifestyle is more in the nature of asking ourselves the relevant questions. Is this action or attitude or feeling or thought useful? Does it further my aim of yoga?
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali mentions three grades of students: Mild, Medium and Intense. It is really our call. No genuine spiritual mentor will force a student to do or believe or practice anything whatsoever. For realization and knowledge to be real it has to come from a deep place within us and be borne out in practical experience. Merely doing what you are told to do will not get us anywhere.
Another question to ask is: What is the intention behind this action, thought, feeling, attitude I am enacting right now? Self honesty is needed.
Daily Contemplation and Meditation are very useful when working with questions we have and issues we need to deal with.
Excesses and various kinds of imbalances are not really helpful. These stem from deeper roots, the deep impressions, samskaras, in our sub-conscious minds. The yoga path has many tools to help us understand and deal with ourselves and the clearing of these obstacles from our sub-conscious minds is the real work of Yoga