Guest Post: Yamas Applied to Eating

Editor’s note: We’re happy to share another insightful guest post from Melina Meza, author of the Art of Sequencing.

There are numerous opportunities for the Yamas to support your current wellness and nutritional aspirations. The Yamas create a wheel of ethics that includes kindness, honesty, refraining from stealing, moderation, and non-hoarding. Following these five principles will help ensure that your life is filled with healthy relationships, including the one with yourself, others, and the natural world around you.

The Yamas prepare you to see that how you treat the outer world reflects how you treat your inner world. It is through conscious application of the Yamas that you will learn to see that compassion is your birthright, trust begins with yourself, healthy boundaries make healthy relationships, and balance is not as bad as it sounds. They allow you to work with what gifts you have been given rather than what you perceive you are missing.

Although the Yamas are all interrelated and work together, if one stands out more than the others, consider spending some time deepening your relationship with that one principle. Applying the Yamas to your diet, yoga practice, and wellness lifestyle activities can be very rewarding and effective.

  • Ahimsa – Non-violence, reducing harm in thoughts, actions, and speech

Application: Enjoying a vegetarian diet; having your food be raised organically and in a cruelty-free manner as well as locally produced; prayer; mindfulness

  • Satya – Truth, honesty

Application: Asking the questions like: “Am I hungry or bored” or “Am I eating to distract myself” or “Is this good for me?”

  • Asteya – Non-stealing

Application: Not taking the food from another’s plate; eating enough each day to avoid robbing the body of nutrients

  • Brahmacharya– Appropriate use of one’s vital energy

Application: Moderation; understanding the impact of eating too much or too little food

  • Aparigraha – Non-possessiveness

Application: Learning to say “no” at a buffet line; ceasing eating when you no longer have hunger


Melina Meza, BS Nutrition, 500-RYT

Melina has been exploring the art and science of yoga and nutrition for over 16 years. She combines her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, whole foods nutrition, and healthy lifestyle promotion into a unique style called Seasonal Vinyasa.

What is Seasonal Vinyasa – Yoga for the Seasons?

Seasonal Vinyasa describes an artistic style of sequencing asana and seasonal daily rituals. The main inspiration for Seasonal Vinyasa comes from the Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda traditions, two complementary sciences that promote health in body, mind, and spirit. While inspiring the self-knowledge to adjust your day-to-day choices and align with what is occurring outside in nature, Seasonal Vinyasa emphasizes the teachings of the yogis—that there is no separation between humans and nature.

Art of Sequencing – Volume Two

Art of Sequencing – Volume Two includes over 450 new asana photos, twenty four unique asana sequences for beginners, intermediate, or advanced students, a brief overview of yoga history, the stages of life, and a full section devoted to Seasonal Vinyasa classes and Ayurvedic routines.



  1. Great eating concepts that roll over from yoga! Although, I don’t really understand the not taking food from another’s plate concept – more like only eating what you need and providing food for those who don’t have it is what I would think.

  2. Wonderful post. It reminds me of similar advice from the early desert fathers of eastern Christianity (I’m Eastern Orthodox). Eat only until you are not hungry, treat the body as a temple, eat with thankfulness and gratitude. Monks are vegetarian and even lay people fast half the year with a vegan diet (I do eat meat and dairy during non-fasting times, though it must be grass-fed and humanely raised). I have not always eaten this way, but I now understand the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of this approach.

  3. Yes this is great insight. Honestly I have never heard of “yamas” eating but the information is very similar with many of the newly understood ways of eating especially for living the yoga life style. As a yoga teacher I always like to pass along to my students all forms of healthy lifestyle habits and this is great. I’d like to share this on my blog

  4. I love the fact that you relate eating organic and ethically raised food with ahimsa, rather than just mentioning a vegetarian diet as many do. I once had a yoga teacher who explained ahimsa as being personal to the individual by saying that killing a fish would not be ahimsa since it was taking a life, but for a fisherman it would be ahimsa since it would harm his family if he did not catch fish!

    Great blog BTW l)

  5. One of the most attractive qualities of the yogic lifestyle is that these guidelines apply to whatever struggle we face, whether it be with food, alcohol, or some other challenge. I am so thankful that you have taken the time to simplify the concept of the yamas for the benefit of others.

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