YIV: How were you first introduced to yoga? Why have you continued to practice?
VVV: I actually began doing yoga on video in my living room. It was so hard for me, but I was determined to do it. It was like nothing else I had ever done before. It challenged me without crushing me, my body felt great. 20 years later, teaching now, my practice is so much more than just for fitness, it keeps me sane and out of pain. It also gives me a platform and a voice to speak about things that I'm passionate about like veganism.
YIV: When did you go vegan? Why did you make the decision to do so?
VVV: I’ve been an animal lover , well always. Just like most of the population, I grew up eating meat, I didn't make the connection that an animal needed to die for my burger. Once I got into college , I had more information on what the truth really was and I started to make the change then. I was vegetarian from 18, been vegan for the last 10 years or so.
YIV: Why do you think yoga is vegan?
VVV: Unfortunately I don't think it is, but it should be. Not all yogis actually follow ahimsa. Sad but true. They post pictures of their meals that contain animal products and it makes me very sad and honestly a little angry. How can you subscribe and teach non violence and universal love while at the same time promoting and engaging in the death of innocent animals. It’s pure hypocrisy. How can promoting peace include killing helpless beings?
YIV: Do you ever introduce the concept of ahimsa or veganism to your students? If so, how has it been received?
VVV: Yes I have. And for the most part my students are very receptive and a handful have ultimately made the decision to go vegan which is amazing. I tend to follow the tenant of "speak quietly and carry a big stick". I lead by example rather than get angry and aggressive. They see a healthy happy person living a vegan lifestyle and it makes them at the very least question things.
YIV: What advice would you give to a yoga student who wants to become vegan?
VVV: Watch Earthings. That’s always the first thing. After that we have a conversation about food substitutions. After watching that they are usually very receptive.
YIV: Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you would like to share? If it's not your own, please credit the author.
VVV: I do. I make a killer vegan lasagne. I basically just substitute out Day cheese, Beyond Meat Crumbles, and I make the ricotta from tofu.. its amazing. Very easy, omnivores don’t event know the difference !!!
YIV: Where do you love to go for vegan food?