After deciding to go vegan 5 months ago, I’ve gone through a lot of information.
It’s like opening the floodgates (thanks to Facebook showing me more of what I look at). First, I wanted to make sure that I had all the dietary and nutritional information so that I was getting all my body needed. Next I watched documentaries about the meat and dairy industry which both upset and horrified me. Of course documentaries can be over the top so I dug further, reading articles and journals online. Yep – still horrified.
However the latest article/information to hit my feed really interested me. It was a link between the Yoga Sutras (Yoga Philosophy) and Veganism.
What are the Yoga Sutras?
“The Yoga Sutras is recognised as the first complete presentation of the practical and spiritual aspects of yoga. It consists of 196 threads or commentaries which bring together all the various strands and thoughts about yoga philosophy in one main literary source. These threads cover all aspect of life, from giving guidelines on how to live a healthy life right through to thoughts on how you can reach the ultimate goal of yoga – self realization.”
– (extracted from veganconsultant.com)
What’s the connection to Veganism?
In the Yoga Sutras, there are 8 steps. The first is called Yamas (which means restraints or ethical disciplines). The Yamas is split into 5 sections.
The first of those is Ahimsa which (in brief) is the Compassion and non-violence towards all beings, including animals.
Interesting how the first principle to Yoga Philosophy is this? Way before you’ve even done a sun salutation? It’s interesting to think that (according to these principles) before you’re even beginning to “practice” yoga, you should have a compassionate, loving nature towards all beings.
I don’t mean this to come across as ‘judgey’ to meat eaters that practice yoga, I hold no judgement for anyone choosing to live the way they want. But it’s clear that by choosing a vegan diet you aren’t supporting violence towards animals. The other 7 principles of the Yoga Sutras can be aligned with a Vegan diet as well (I’d recommend reading this book by Sharon Gannon for more on this).
It’s amazing that the Yoga Sutras where compiled before 400 CE (common era – I’m still used to AD!) and yoga itself dates back over 5,000 years! There is so much wisdom in these ancient teachings and practices that we could all do with following now.
In my opinion, veganism, combined with Yoga leads to a path of greater peace and compassion. I actually think too that it cleanses your soul of Karma, because you have this new awareness for the well being of animals.
As a little addition, a yoga instructor local to us in Essex stated that:
“Veganism is frequently practiced in yogic tradition as it is said that those whose diets are free of death can reach deeper states of meditation and awareness. It also helps balance and strengthen the body as well as calming the mind.”
I couldn’t agree more.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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