Yoga and veganism share a relationship of compassion, hence why they make such a great pair. In our society today, yoga can often conjure images of sleek and slender men and women contorting themselves like pretzels into complex poses. While such photos can be found plastered all over social media sites, it is easy to forget that the most essential quality of yoga is simply the breath and lifestyle.
Through the inhalations and exhalations that serve as a gentle cadence to a yoga practice, the mind’s focus becomes the position of the physical body rather than the thoughts of the mind. During yoga, loud daily thoughts that usually populate the forefront of the mind become a receding buzz and the individual is instead able to focus more energy on what is happening at the present moment. The awareness yoga is able to bring to the body and the calm associated with it is arguably what keeps yogis and yoginis of all skill levels returning to their mats, even when fancy poses are not possible.
While some people see yoga as being solely a physical practice, the most serious yoga practitioners extend yoga philosophy off of their mat and into their everyday lives. This idea relates to what is called the “8 limbed path” of yoga, which involves eight guidelines to follow in life in order to attain enlightenment. The first limb is called the “yamas” and can be defined as restraint in action. The yamas branch off into different categorizes, but the first one is called Ahimsa which means nonviolence. Ahimsa is meant to be interpreted as extending nonviolent action towards anyone or anything with which an individual interacts, and a significant part of this interaction involves living a vegan lifestyle.
The Connection Between Yoga and Veganism
Yoga and veganism have a relationship within this idea of nonviolence, and although it’s still disputed whether or not a truly dedicated yogi must adopt the vegan lifestyle, it’s pretty difficult to deny its relevance within the context of Ahimsa. When practiced, both yoga and veganism generate an awareness that involves focused, positive and optimistic energy that is contagious in quality.
Both are disciplines of a similar nature, and if you a vegan but not a yogi, yoga can offer great benefits to your already purposeful lifestyle. Yoga coupled with veganism brings awareness to not only what you are eating, but also how your physical body relates to the informed choices you are making.
For more on yoga and veganism, check out this video from the founder of Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon Gannon.