by Ella Boekeman | September 28, 2017 5:51 pm
Patanjali, otherwise known as the ‘Father’ of Modern Yoga first brought the notion of Ahimsa to light in his Yoga sutras. Written over 1,700 years ago the sutras are widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga. Within the sutras, Yamas are ethical rules or basic guidelines to live by, and the first and most famous of these is Ahimsa, or non-violence. For yogis, the word Ahimsa applies to our relationships with other people, with ourselves, and with all sentient beings and with the earth. Ahimsa is at the core of the vegan argument for many, as it argues that yogis should strive to have the least possible impact on their environment.
For those who study yoga seriously, and as more than a form of exercise – adopting a lifestyle and commitment to live in a cleaner, more conscious fashion inevitably means we need to reevaluate the impact we have on others and our environment.
Veganism applies Ahimsa in multiple ways, firstly by adopting a vegan lifestyle we are reducing the number of animals that are dying at any given moment. Without a doubt this is the most obvious way we can reduce the needless suffering of millions of beings and practice non-violence towards them. The fact that there is a holocaust of animals dying every hour in the US alone to feed our unnecessary addiction should be enough to spur many into action, without taking into account the abominable way most of these animals are treated.
Secondly, we can practice Ahimsa towards the earth by reducing our impact on the planet. For those that have watched Cowspiracy and are aware of environmental issues, it can be a bitter burger to swallow when confronted with the facts. We have been taught to have shorter showers and turn off the taps when cleaning our teeth, but with the production of one hamburger equal to 32 showers it feels like we’ve been duped. If everyone were to become a vegetarian, or vegan, there would be plenty of food and protein for everyone. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.”
Thirdly, by adopting a healthy vegan diet (not one laden with sugary, processed foods) we are showing Ahimsa towards ourselves. It’s no coincidence that when we feel low, depressed or sad we often reach for junk foods, therefore continuing a circle of negative feelings and unhealthy foods, which go hand in hand. When we sustain ourselves with fresh, green foods, that have come about with no suffering to another living being we are filling ourselves with the best possible nourishment and giving our bodies the fuel they deserve.
The Bali Vegan Festival will be held in Ubud, Bali from October 6th-8th and will celebrate the notion of Ahimsa, aiming to educate, inspire and teach us all how we can practice non-violence in our daily lives. While for some people giving up meat is too much of a leap, the festival will be accessible to everyone, vegan and vegan-curious.
Just some of the highlights from the weekend include daily yoga and Qi Gong, talks from renowned vegans including the Cowspiracy/What The Health filmmaker Kip Andersen, James Aspey and Head of the Indonesian Vegetarian Society Dr. Susianto Tseng, cooking classes, life coaching workshops, comedy, film screenings, and much more. A perfect day out for families numerous kid’s activities are planning to keep the youngsters busy.
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