When I think about yoga and Veganism, the lines become quite blurry where one philosophy ends and the next begins. My studies and experience have taught me that it is not a coincidence that ahimsa is the first of the Yamas within Patanjali’s path to enlightenment. It is home base, square one, the absolute necessary precondition to finding true peace within one’s self. If a being cannot live in a state of non-harming, that being will never be truly liberated.
Yoga is a magical method of unification. Unification of mind, body and spirit. Unification of the “I” to the community, and of course the “I” to the other. Those beings who have been classified as “animals” in the current cultural understanding are considered “other”, and of course yoga unifies us with the other. Recognizing that we are all one, veganism is the unquestionable truth of yoga.
Veganism is simply the embodiment of these basic yogic tenets. To follow the path of least harm, to be mindful of the consequences of your actions, to treat others (all others) with the same dignity and respect that you wish for yourself.
The magic of yoga happens over time, with dedication, interest and pure focus. The lessons are unveiled to the student as the student is ready, and on the student’s terms. Veganism works the same way. You slowly start to open your circle of compassion. First to yourself, then to others who are obviously similar. It takes a lot of self-work and self-love to be able to widen that circle of compassion to others whose similarities are not as obvious. Yoga is a journey into one’s heart and true nature, as is Veganism.
As I look at the world today, with constant news of climate disaster, cruelty in every form, suffering in unimaginable proportions I know that we have lost our way. We have followed a path that has lead to the destruction of our home, the killing of endless billions of animals in the name of industry, constant violence against our own brothers and sisters in the name of nationalism or religion.
We are magical beings who will find our way back, and the rise of Veganism is proof. 2019 was widely recognized as “The Year of the Vegan” and based on my anecdotal experience I tend to agree. The global conversation is shifting.
Yoga is a 6,000+ year old philosophy that has morphed and changed through the ages to guide us back center - I see the rise of Veganism today as yoga’s latest (and maybe greatest) morph. It is preaching the all important first tenet of yoga - non-violence. It is highlighting the destruction we have caused and giving us a clear path on how to fix our mess.
I practice my yoga every day, whether it be yoga asana, meditation, karma yoga, Veganism, vegan activism, or just straight up compassion for those who are not vegan yet. I truly believe that this practice gives me strength, and changes the world in a better way.
— Danielle Lowy