Do I need to be a vegan yogi?

A lot of yoga teachers or students I meet are predominantly vegetarian or vegan, and practice what they eat as mindfully as how they practice on a yoga mat.

But do you need to stop eating meat to become an enlightened yogi?

Yes and no.

I became a vegan at the beginning of 2016, after sifting my way through vegetarianism for the 18 months prior. Going vegan made sense to me. It aligned with a lot of my values, and the more I learned about the industry I couldn’t ignore it. It also helped that one of the ‘limbs’ of yoga, was to do with creating less harm.

You may have heard of ‘ahimsa’? You may also hear your yoga teacher refer to practising ‘non-violence’ in class, and off the mat. This is where the seed of veganism can grow in most yogis…

Ahimsa means “respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others”. Living things = animals. Avoiding harm to animals through what you consume, wear and use are ways to pratice ahimsa off the mat.

But what about ahimsa on the mat? Surely that doesn’t have to be about saving animals too?

In my personal practice, if I am aiming to practice ahimsa, it’s usually to do with compassion towards myself and others. Remember it’s respect for all living things, yourself included.

So what are some ways to incorporate ahimsa into your life?

  1. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself the gift of going to yoga and taking time to work on yourself mentally and physically.
  2. Reduce the amount of animal products in your life. Try Meat Free Monday.
  3. Dedicate your practice to someone or something to spread peace and kindness.
  4. Read more about ahimsa and veganism at jivamuktiyoga.com.
  5. Think kinds thoughts, speak kind words, make kind actions.

“If we find peace in ourselves, we add one more person to the world who is peaceful and loving. Over time, each person’s peace will radiate and we will find a world of peace”