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Jenna Faith, CA

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

JF: In my teens I was prescribed yoga as a remedy for chronic pain and fibromyalgia, but I absolutely hated it! I was required to take yoga as my only gym class throughout high school. I tried yoga in gym class, yoga at the YMCA, yoga at dance studios, but honestly I was so bored by every class. Even worse, I found it physically painful, because I had little conscious awareness of my body, joints, and breath. I kept trying yoga but it only frustrated me more. The entire concept was out of my grasp. Finally a boyfriend broke up with me for not being “enlightened enough,” and I said to myself: this is bullshit. I can figure out this yoga stuff, which led me on a life changing trip. Through much needed self work, I took on a new outlook and approach to life. I was going to be positive and I was going to happy, no matter what. So this time I approached yoga with a bit more self-awareness, and it actually got easier with every practice; soon I was hooked. I found something beyond the physical—I was finding a way to be with myself, to like myself, a way to feel cosmic without being chemically induced. The feeling and experience was totally electric.
YIV: When did you go vegan? Why did you make the decision to do so? 

JF: As a kid who hated meat and lived for the animal kingdom, I knew as soon as I could, I would go veg. In 2010 I became vegetarian while working on organic farms. After the traumatizing first hand view of so-called "ethical" duck slaughter, there was no going back and no way to deny the horror of the meat industry. At first I dabbled in Veganism, but after becoming a dedicated yogi who wanted nothing but to be a spiritual being and live my practice, I knew no matter the initial struggle, Vegan was the only way. After a month of pure Vegan Jivamukti teacher training in 2013, I was officially Vegan and have been ever since!

YIV: Why is do you think yoga is vegan? 
JF: From the yoga sutras we learn that the first limbs of yoga are the yamas, or abstinences. The very first yama listed is Ahimsa or non-harming. Causing pain can be even more harmful than killing. That is why yogis not only abstain from eating dead animals, but also from consuming dairy products, which cause untold harm to the animals and the earth. I have made #animalconsciousness our mission at Jamuna Yoga.
YIV: If you are a teacher, do you ever introduce the concept of ahimsa or veganism to your students? If so, how has it been received?

JF: After deeply contemplating the role of Ahimsa in yoga, I developed a series of classes called Ahimsa Vinyasa. These classes dissolve the barriers between humans, nature and animals as we shapeshift and embody the consciousness of earth, air and sea creatures. With a soundtrack including animal and nature sounds, animal conscious messages, and shocking slaughterhouse recordings like in “Meat is Murder” by the Smiths, the experience of Ahimsa Vinyasa is powerful. I find that students, even if they are not vegan yet, are empowered and inspired by the authenticity of my message and intention.

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

JF: The most important is to be gentle and take it easy on yourself, take it slowly and in steps so as to not get frustrated and totally give up. It’s okay to take two steps forward and one step back. It’s helpful to have a clear intention to return to, whether for the animals, environment, or health. Living and spending time with others who are cooking and eating vegan is extremely helpful. Experiment with vegetables and play in the kitchen. Get a great vegan cookbook like “Karo’s Nutritious and Delicious Cruelty Free Dishes” from @karoveganator 

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

JF: Vegan Potato Salad! Boil organic baby multicolor potatoes til tender but not quite mashable. Peel skin, and cut into pieces with a fork. Mix in Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise, paprika, salt, black pepper, chipotle powder, mustard powder, fresh dill, all to desired taste!

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

The best vegan food in L.A. is at Moby’s Little Pine Restaurant, and the best part is he donates 100% of profits to animal causes. We also love Ahimsa Café in Long Beach!

-Jenna Faith
Instagram: @jamunayogaoc
Facebook: @JamunaYogaOC
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