Valeria Orozco, NY

My road to veganism wasn't exactly conventional.  When I was 16 years old I became very sick and was hospitalized, I almost died and that gave me a different perspective on life. During this time,Valeria Orozco Yoga Is Vegan Pigeon Pose  I was in search of a deeper understanding of life and ultimately healing. After a near brush of death, I returned home to my city of Guadalajara, Mexico. I began asking the age old question “What’s the meaning of life?” “Why are we here?”. During this self examination,  I discovered a course through my mother who has always been my teacher and was introduced to pranayama.  The instructor taught us ancient breathing techniques and philosophies.  One day after class, I asked the professor more questions about her teachings.  She suggested I attend Sant Mat and Shabbat yoga with her.  I was still a young teenaged girl so I had to get permission to join class, which thankfully I was given.  This is where my journey into the Yogi lifestyle began.  

The common thread of Shabbat yoga was the idea of being compassionate to all living things; not only humans but all beings. I immediately became vegetarian, along with my parents, which at the time, wasn’t a very “popular” lifestyle. This philosophy opened my mind to seeing all beings as equal and consequently changed my eating habits. As a result, the switch to a mostly plant-based diet significantly improved my health and I began to heal faster. I studied Kriya Yoga and realized how it also speaks about compassion. Like all processes, my journey into vegetarianism was evolving.  I was still eating dairy and eggs because, at the time, I didn’t think it was affecting or harming the animals.  That all changed when what was supposed to be a brief stop over in New York City en route to India, turned into meeting my Guru Sri Dharma Mitra.  

Valeria Orozco Yoga Is Vegan MeditationI was passing through a very difficult time and looking for answers. As soon as I met Dharma, my life changed drastically.  I decided to stay in New York City and learn his teachings at the Dharma Yoga Center.  His main tenet is the same now as it was then, which is compassion.  Dharma, of course, teaches the eight limbs of yoga while emphasizing the Yamas and Niyamas, especially ahimsa (non-violence). He always teaches by example and it wasn't until then that I realized that if my reason for becoming vegetarian was to not endanger the animals, I was still contributing to the harmfulness by consuming dairy and eggs. I was relating my eating habits to it’s dreadful repercussions. I became vegan because I found out about the cruelty of the milk and egg industry. In reality , it wasn't about health as much as finally realizing how unethical the food industry can be. I don't think its fair that any being should suffer as a result of my cravings ( I really used to love cheese). I am also a dietitian and because of that I know that as a vegan you can have a nutritious and healthy diet. I can name many other benefits of being vegan, but I think the most important one for me is the fact that I will not contribute to the suffering and pain of any being. Yoga has been a blessing in my life.  Finding my Guru and being able to learn, as well as heal, has opened my eyes to the greatness of life in itself. I've been so fortunate to have found Dharma and become an instructor at Dharma center working along side amazing and beautiful people.  “Feeling grateful for the opportunity to exist” as Dharma says But this privilege is not only ours, its of every living being, as well as the right of love and being loved. Compassion is not only about what you eat, but seeing yourself in others. Not judging. Just Love. 

Instagram: @valeria.orozcom
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