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"To see things in the seeds, that is genius."

- Lao-Tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher

Yoga and Veganism

By Sharda ten Hove on 24 April 2014

I read more and more about yogis revealing their love for meat and/or dairy which indicates to me the superficial realms where yoga is being led to.

The reasons for the “going back to eating meat”  yoga practitioners is that they feel their body needs meat and that it’s okay to be that kind of yogi.
I also read that Ahimsa (an often used Sanskrit term in yoga meaning respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others) implies not only not harming others but this includes also not harming yourself and if you feel your body really needs meat or milk then it would be harmful to yourself not to listen.

That’s it. No “where does meat come from” or “is the milk I drink given freely by the cow”? These kind of messages coming from yogi’s astonish me.

study of asanaWhen practising yoga without attachment to how you look but simply allowing the energy which is being released during asana practice, to travel through your whole system, something happens. You slowly start to reconnect with something within and that something, that awareness makes you a more compassionate person. You start to look through the clouds of ignorance and start seeing things as they are. This is not always a pretty picture but this is where change can occur. You can change your behavior, the way you think and the way you interact with others including animals.

When you know what hell animals have to go through to become that piece of meat or to produce the glass of milk that your body needs so enormously, you have to be disconnected from your own energy to be able to pretend to not know and continue consuming the way you do.
When yoga practitioners make these kinds of statements they are not thinking about the message they are sending out.
I am not saying that all yoga practitioners should be vegan but at least don’t talk about meat or dairy as if they were nothing more than products. They are animals who had to suffer severely, calves that have been brutally torn away from their mothers. The mothers actually scream when this happens. The milk that was supposed to be for these calves is taken from them and served to us consumers together with all the hormones and antibiotics in it which cows get vaccinated with because of their filthy and contaminated environment.

small cow in factory farm
A second huge reason why a vegan lifestyle is a compassionate lifestyle is because of the greenhouse gases that meat production emits. Greenhouse gases trap solar energy, thereby warming the earth’s surface. Were we at first only thinking about pollution because of cars, its our diet that is now contaminating our planet. Producing half a pound of hamburger for someone’s lunch, releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles!

At least (yoga) people, try to live more consciously and think twice before posting messages about how cool it is to be a meat and dairy kind of yogi because people actually listen. If you want to eat meat, buy meat from a local farm where animals have had a life before being killed and be sure that they are killed in an ethical way. Rather than taking someone’s word on that, go and visit a farm. And please eat less meat, considering all of the above you are doing everyone a favor including yourself!

I would also recommend to people who are practising yoga, to include meditation which makes a yoga practice complete. Yoga prepares our body for meditation and through meditation we find self knowledge and peace.

meditation according to deepak chopra

For more information about veganism and related subjects check out the following sites and video’s:
Paul mcCartney’s view on vegetarianism
Talk by Peter Simmons, professor of Bioethics

About the author

Sharda ten Hove

Founder, Ethical Vegan, Yogi, Social Activist

Sharda was born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Descended from an Indian mother and Dutch father, she received a multi-cultural upbringing during which she gained a broad perspective on life.…  Read full bio