Masochism can never lead to spiritual perfection. The body is actually a most precious property of the self; it enables the self to engage in various devotional activities that can bring about a change in consciousness. A person's external activities affect his consciousness, and his consciousness affects his external activities. Knowing this, a bhakti yogi consciously chooses to engage in particular external activities in order to bring about the desired spiritual happiness and wisdom.
Many people practice tai chi, chi gong, and so on with the aim of keeping their bodies fit for a long time. There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping one’s body fit—indeed, it is one of the aims of yoga—but unfortunately, many such people are trying to run away from the inevitable death of the body. Some mystic yogis strive to keep their bodies alive forever—but that is not possible. Even if one was the greatest yogi and could keep his body alive for thousands of years, that still is not forever.
A person who tries to be a goswami is careful not to engage in those activities that are harmful to his spiritual development. For example, he refrains from taking intoxicants (including all sorts of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and so on); from having illicit sex; from gambling; and from eating meat, fish, and eggs.
~ Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa