Valentine Eva Donia, Switzerland

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

VED: I discovered yoga through reading about Buddhism and Hinduism first. It came at a time in my life where I was questioning a lot of things, a lot of beliefs too. I came to the physical practice of asanas a few months later, as I was spending some time in Berlin and then in Asia where I started to really understand the practice. I kept practicing since then (2014).

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

VED: I went vegan in early 2015, after already having switched to a vegetarian diet in 2013. My decision to abstain from eating animals and then all other animal products have always been ethical, meaning for animals rights. The positive effects on the environment were also of course highly motivating.

YIV: Why is do you think yoga is vegan? 

VED: If we think about the Yamas and especially of the concept of Ahimsa, it seems very clear to me that yoga is about doing our best to not harm not only ourselves and other human beings, but also all living sentient beings there is. Why would we ever exclude animals here?

YIV: As a teacher, do you ever introduce the concept of ahimsa or veganism to your students? If so, how has it been received?

VED: Yes, I have led some workshops, retreats and events about ahimsa/veganism. It's a tough topic to bring up to light because it triggers a lot of things in people. I feel like when it is presented through vibrant delicious foods though, things go easier ;)

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

VED: Think about the cruelty and the victims and everything becomes easy, like second nature. With time, we learn to not see animal products as food anymore. It's just not an option to us anymore. It's not food, it's cruelty disguised as such, not only towards the animals but ultimately also towards ourselves and the planet.

—Valentine Eva Donia

Instagram: @malerindeskosmos

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