Matej Bendik, Dubai

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


MB: I attended my first yoga class kinda accidentally, when I was in Bali doing a freediving course 2 years ago. A part of the course were some basic stretches and breathing techniques which really caught my attention. After the freediving course I tried my first yoga class and it blew my mind. I started to practice by my self to get more flexible because at the time I was doing martial arts quite intensively, but soon I started doing yoga more and more until I stooped doing martial arts almost completely now. I became literally addictive to the benefits yoga brings to my body and mind.


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


MB: I became vegan even before I started with yoga. One evening I watched couple of documentaries, I think it was Cowspiracy, Food Choices and Fork Over Knives, and I decided to go vegan from day to day. I was never even vegetarian before. I wanted to experiment and see the health benefits it would bring me, but at the same time I started to be aware of the negative impact which consuming and using animal products does to our planet and animals. 

Mat Bendik

YIV: Why is do you think yoga is vegan?


MB: I think yoga is not only about the union of our body, mind and soul, but the union of us with the entire universe. By that principle I understand that our goal is to be in union with everything around us, our whole environment, which of course includes every living being. Killing animals for our short term pleasures (taste, fashion, cosmetics, etc.) is not union, it's unnecessary.


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


MB: I would definitely advice to start slowly. Cut everything gradually and definitely do a proper research about basics nutrition, to not have any health issues in the beginning as a result of improper nutrients income. Also to not punish yourself for having "cheat days" in the beginning. It takes time for your body and mind to get used to it and there is no reason for you to punish yourself in your mind. You already did an amazing decision and every small step forward is making this world a better place, so be proud of yourself.


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


MB: Literally everywhere in the world, as I still work as a flight attendant. I love trying every vegan restaurant I come across during my travels.

 -Mat Bendik
Instagram: @matbendik
Facebook: Mat Bendik
YouTube Channel: Mat Bendik

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