Daniella Matalon, NY

YIV: How were you first introduced to yoga? Why have you continued to practice? 

DM: I dabbled in yoga from my first year of college, a class here, a video there. I finally started practicing consistently when I was pregnant with my second child. It completely changed my mood, my health and my relationship to myself. After seeing the amazing changes I decided to keep practicing, and soon after that I immersed myself in a 200 hour teacher training. 

YIV: When did you go vegan? Why did you make the decision to do so? 

DM: I went vegan in 2017. I was studying with Sri Dharma Mittra and he raised my consciousness in regards to Ahimsa. I was vegetarian before that, but as I kept diving deeper into my yoga studies I realized it is not enough.  I saw amazing changes in my skin, as well as my health. I struggled with stomach problems for 15 years and once I became vegan, they were basically gone.

YIV: Why do you think yoga is vegan? 

DM: I think Yoga is the Yamas and Niyamas (ethical rules of conduct) more than just fancy poses. The yamas and Niyamas are what change people from the inside out. The first and foundation for all the Yamas is ahimsa- compassion and non harming. If you are not vegan you are not fully keeping ahimsa

YIV: Do you ever introduce the concept of ahimsa or veganism to your yoga students?

DM: Yes. I honestly think a lot of my students roll their eyes and think I'm just preaching. But it doesn't matter, once you say something enough times it sinks in. It is also worth it for those few students who are receptive. I have had students tell me they want to change their diet, and asking my advice

YIV: What advice would you give to a yoga student who wants to become vegan? 

DM: I would give the same advice one of my teachers Yoshio Hama gave me: "Go slowly, don't try to do it all at once."I would also tell them to not be too hard on themselves, there are days you may fail, just continue and start over the next day.

YIV: Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you would like to share?

DM: Yes! Super Simple: Tahini. Mix tahini and coconut aminos . Then add  a little bit of water. It is the most amazing dip or salad dressing. It is also full of protein and essential nutrients.

YIV: Where do you love to go for vegan food? 

 DM: Juice Press, and now that they're in NY,  Ramen Hood 

-Daniella Matalon
Instagram: @theyoganista
Facebook: @dani.mat.7771

photo credit: Fabio Filippi @fabiofilippi

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