First, animals are considered sentient beings. Therefore, they are entitled to respect and compassion. They are not to be killed in order to please the palate.
Secondly, yogic practitioners seek to protect and strengthen the body. So meat eating is discouraged for health reasons. This is in keeping with modern scientific research which reveals that a vegetarian diet offers these benefits: better cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, increases life longevity, prevents obesity, reduces cancer risk and more.
Thirdly, a vegetarian diet sustains and supports an expansive spiritual life. Yogic scholar Georg Feuerstein observes: “Vegetarianism is definitely the rule within Hindu Yoga. Behind this dietary preference lies the strong moral conviction that in order to reach enlightenment, we must avoid harming others. Meat eating clearly involves harming.”