First, you need to ask yourself why do you want to start yoga. What is your purpose of learning yoga?
Yoga is a universal practice and suitable for everyone. Everyone who is willing to enhance their quality of life can learn and enjoy the benefits of yoga. To be a vegetarian is not a precondition to begin your yoga journey.
Now as I said to you before it is important to know why do you want to learn yoga. If your purpose of yoga merely exercises and stretch your muscles to gain flexibility and tone your muscles then you can continue your yoga training without any further modifications in your present diet. On the other hand, if you really want to improve yourself and wants to experiences subtle changes in your body and mind I will suggest you modify your diet and try to adopt a vegetarian diet.
Now you may have questions in your mind why so? What’s wrong with my current diet? You may have a concern about protein deficiency if you opt for a vegetarian diet? (As you know protein is important for the growth of your body and makes muscles, tendons, organs etc). Many of our yoga students also concern about protein deficiency in their diet if they choose to be vegetarian.
To understand the significance of a vegetarian diet in yoga practice you need to understand how food influences you. You know that food is very important for healthy living. It helps us in gaining good physical well being. Maybe you are unaware of this fact that food also has the subtle effect on our mind and thoughts. We are what we eat. Food has a greater influence on our behavior and emotions. The purity of food is very essential. If your purpose of yoga is to gain purity of mind and thoughts you need to consider the vegetarian diet as your first choice.
If you are concern about protein deficiency I would suggest you Soya bean and its products such as tofu and soya milk, nuts, dairy products, lentils, seeds, cereals etc. They provide high-class protein and balances your diet with the right amount of protein. They provide high-class protein compare to animal protein. Animal protein contains too much uric acid and it needs to be broken down by the liver, some are eliminated, but rest is deposited in the joints causing stiffness and eventually leading to joint pains. Actually, by eating flesh, you consume only a high amount of poor quality protein that is dead or dying and your body does not require that much amount of protein.
As you know one of the purposes of yoga is to the purification of body and mind. So that tranquility of mind and strength of body can be achieved. Based on the various subtle effects of food yoga and Ayurveda grouped food into three categories
Sattvic food:-It is rich in prana (subtle energy) and pure diet for any serious yoga student. It nourishes body and mind and brings tranquility and good health. Yoga recommends Sattvic food which is based on fresh, nutritious food items such as grains, fruits, vegetables etc. It keeps your body healthy, lean and limber as well as peaceful and stable mind.
Rajasic food:-Rajasic foods are spicy, hot; salty and sour. They satisfied the body but destroyed the peace of mind. Too much consumption of Rajasic food will over stimulate the body and brings restless to mind.
Tamasic food:-Good for nothing .destroy mind-body equilibrium .withdraw prana(energy) from your body and brings you in the state of inertia. As a result, your natural power of resistance to diseases is destroyed .and mind filled with dark emotions such as anger greed etc
So it is important to eat wisely.