Are Yoga Festivals Evolving into Mindless Meat Fests? ~ Kim Amlong

Via elephant journal
on Jul 11, 2012
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Ahimsa or non-harming, the fundamental keystone of a yoga practice, is being abandoned by modern-day practitioners without any reflection.

Is it apathy, disconnection, laziness or priorities that prevents people from caring?

I am extremely disappointed that yoga teachers that I respect would actually take part in festivals offering meat and fish and every other type of animal secretion. It would be wonderful if all yoga teachers would unify and pledge to not participate in any festival unless it is cruelty-free or at least vegetarian.

Although, the majority of people practicing yoga are not vegetarians, if we feed them meat and fish at a yoga festivals, we will miss the perfect opportunity to inform them of the benefits for themselves, for the planet and for the animals.

In addition, they will miss the opportunity to enjoy incredible vegetarian food. People can survive on a vegetarian diet for a few days, and many would probably be surprised how much they enjoy it.

I posted a petition at Care2.com: “Say No To Meat at Yoga Festivals,” after I read the mission statement of Wanderlust. The organizers of Wanderlust are not aligned with their mission statement. They portray themselves as the most green, sensitive, conscious festival when instead, they are more interested in their pocketbooks.

The research proves that to be the most green, sensitive, conscious festival, it would have to be vegan. I believe the organizers are hypocrites. I even received this comment from a woman who signed my petition:

 “I am a certified Organic Farmer who has a farm 10 minutes from Stratton and I wanted to vend food from my farm, I specialize in Vegan and vegetarian food and I was turned away from them. I was quite upset that they didn’t give preference to local folks and that someone such as myself was shut out, so they could make money from other vendors. I even heard that there was no good food again this year—Shame on them! Their Farm to Plate dinner also consisted of the largest local growers who use so many pestisides in their food, I feel bad for who ever ate at that over priced dinner. The funny thing is I would have been serving Farm to Table all weekend, at affordable prices!”

I was inspired to write this poem for the organizers:

Is Yoga Meat the New Happy Meat?

The inhumanity of our society embraces meat as a necessity; even occluding meat from yoga festivals has become an impossibility.

Disconnected from all pain and suffering and insensitivity, we perpetuate the atrocities afflicting billions of lonely, terrorized, unseen beings living in constant agony.

Ignoring the facts of the scientific community, we continue to hopelessly destroy our health and our environment to the utmost degree.

We want to believe: heart disease, cancer, starving children, animal suffering and global warming are only myths propagated by crazy extremists.

Speciously Green and Conscious mission statements abound, but animal welfare ethics are nowhere to be found.

Hypocrites escape discovery when the masses are not awake, or are too afraid or too lazy to speak up for another’s sake.

The power of money squelches compassion, leaving only cruelty to reign, in a kingdom where everyone feigns awareness and no one is to blame.

Westernized yoga is becoming more a part of the American dream of Capitalism and greed than a sincere intention to help others evolve spiritually.

Do I have to bend and weaken my ideals till they crumble into irreparable pieces of another elusive dream? How can I transform this chimera into reality?

Yoga practice expands our abilities to empathize and connect with all sentient beings, and to profoundly care for and respect the fragile, earth and universe we share.

Yoga provides us with the one and only guiding principle we need in life: Ahimsa or non-harming.

We create the world of heavens or hells in which we live. Every dollar we spend molds our lives and the lives of countless other precious beings.

I beseech you to responsibly tune into the cries and not turn away and shun the possibility of a world where Meat and all the horrendous death and destruction it inflicts no longer exists.

Finally, we will live in a free world where an all-inclusive community of peace and love and mindfulness releases us from our separateness.

I am not trying to force veganism on anyone. I understand and respect everyone’s free will; however, I do feel, at the core of my being, that I must speak up for those innocent victims who cannot speak for themselves. Yoga and meat don’t mix. Yoga is an inclusive philosophy based on ahimsa. Meat and fish are the antithesis of yoga and need to be excluded from all yoga festivals.

Yoga is not about sculpting our physical bodies. Yoga is about expanding our consciousness to include all sentient beings, the earth and the universe we share. Yoga is about awareness of how our every thought, every word and every action affects countless others. Yoga is about love, respect and gratitude for the diversity of all life.

I would like to ensure that ahimsa is not abandoned, lost or destroyed by modern-day yoga practitioners. We need to stop making excuses from outdated ideas, mistaking desires for essential needs, and bending philosophy to support our hedonistic lifestyles. Only ahimsa can pull automatons out of the eternal abyss of unconsciousness.

I embrace all that is empowering, loving, and respectful to all sentient beings. I support everyone in maintaining their ideals in a harsh, disconnected world of materialism, narcissism  and superficiality. I invite everyone to create a positive environment of constructive discussion to help everyone open their hearts to compassionately connect with the diversity of all creation.

I pray that we may all be happy, healthy and free…and live in a pristine world of peace and harmony.

However, to materialize this goal, we must wake up to the murder, the resistance, the apathy, and the ignorance of the tenebrous masses and take action.

We are powerful and we can create a beautiful world with every thought and every word, every action and every dollar we spend.

The founders say they are open to ideas to improve their festival; however, I spent eight to 10 hours a day for a month posting everywhere and sending numerous messages before I received a response from Sean Hoess, one of the co-founders of Wanderlust.

Sean stated, “If we can get to a place where even a majority of our consumers are educated enough to forego all meat, then I will happily convert Wanderlust to a vegetarian event.”

Be a force of positive change for the world. Help create the world’s greenest, most consciousness-awakening festival. Ask Wanderlust to go vegetarian today or sign the petition to say no to meat at yoga festivals.

Countless sentient beings will thank you.

Sign the petition here: Thepetitionsite.com

 

 Kim Amlong has a Masters of Physical Therapy degree and practiced physical therapy for five years.  A  devoted practitioner of yoga since 1997, she  completed the Iyengar yoga teacher-training program with Patricia Walden (her primary teacher) and assisted Patricia Walden in her classes for 2 and a half years. Kim has been an avid practitioner of qigong since 1999 and has completed courses in Kripalu and Para yoga giving her a keen interest in energy awareness and its health benefits. Kim served as the Director of Teachers for five years at Karma Yoga Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During that time, she studied with Jesse Winder (owner of Karma Yoga Studio), and acted as a consultant, as he developed his own style of yoga, PhysioYoga.  Kim teaches an eclectic style that emphasizes proper body mechanics, anatomical alignment, safety, breath and body awareness in a relaxed, inspiring  atmosphere. Kim encourages students to question everything and to feel confident in exploring postures  best-suited to their individual needs and goals. She enjoys sharing the transformative benefits of yoga and  qigong with everyone who is interested, and follows a vegan diet for her health, the animals and the planet.

~

Editor: Hayley Samuelson.

 

 

 


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Comments

113 Responses to “Are Yoga Festivals Evolving into Mindless Meat Fests? ~ Kim Amlong”

  1. Bravo Kim.

    Check out our truly green not-for-profit Yoga and Peace conference happening in Harvard, Mass in just a few weeks.
    We have a great speaker, Will Tuttle, Some great Music/Kirtan, an amazing meal planned, oh, and some
    Asana too. We are striving for a zero waste conference. All utensils and plates will be compostable, and
    the veg-meal will be as local as possible.
    http://www.beingthechange.us

    Namaskar,

    john Calabria – Co-founder Being the Change Yoga and Peace festival.

  2. cathywaveyoga says:

    We are powerful.
    We can create change.

    I am saddened because this morning when I was reading the Wanderlust site you reposted continuously your message below peoples' blogs. I felt insulted by the continuous posting.
    Unfair use of internet time and space dilutes your message and offends others.

  3. cathywaveyoga says:

    Yes, my comment is about my perception and experience.. I would be fine if she had posted one comment on a few blogs, but she posted 5 or more on the few I looked at.
    Civil disobedience- you may call it that. Or I call it being over the top with a need/thought/ movement in a way which is unfair, rude, disrespectful and offends in such a way as to want disassociation.

    I am stating my opinion about her choice to spam. It's rude, out of place and sets up more division rather than opening doors for cooperation, listening and sharing. As do personal attacks.

  4. Kayleigh says:

    Here’s the only vegan yoga conference I’m aware of… http://www.worldpeaceinc.com/

  5. mindfuladoptees says:

    I am more than thrilled to sign Kim's petition!!!!!!!! I think Kim is a hero for courageously starting the petition and for expressing so much of her compassion, despite Wanderlust's denial and Sean's outright irrational response. I'll reiterate what he stated, “If we can get to a place where even a majority of our consumers are educated enough to forego all meat, then I will happily convert Wanderlust to a vegetarian event.” I'm confused by his response because I was under the impression that the larger yoga providers, such as the founders of Wanderlust, are the ones to educate practitioners about the many harmful, unethical, and disgusting reasons not to eat meat? Not the other way around. Huh?

    Lastly, it's rather disgusting that the picture I just stumbled upon with hundreds of pigs=food with a face, housed in a large, windowless room, each in their own gestation crates, largely resembles the picture Kim posted of a large group of people doing yoga=Wanderlust consumers. Unfortunately, I can't find the link to the pic right now.

  6. Emily says:

    As a person who is considering a change to vegetarianism, I was extremely put off by this piece. It is mercilessly judgmental of others' choices and to call people whom you don't even know lazy and careless is in itself both of those things. Why not take your zeal and try to organize a vegan festival of your own, instead of cruelly imposing your views on those who may not be ready to hear them? That would be a progressive action.

  7. kim says:

    Your opportunity to decrease cancer and heart disease, and to end animal suffering, global warming and world famine is only a click away. Please help to create a better world for all of us now before it is too late. Please take a minute to sign the petition or to write Wanderlust directly. Every signature or comment is crucial to everyone’s future.

  8. kim amlong says:

    “Every Morsel of Meat we Eat is Slapping the Tear-stained Face of a Hungry Child.” Philip Wollen: Watch This 10 Minute speech and Ask Wanderlust to Take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCe4qEexjc&fe

  9. GymTanLecture says:

    Do the yoga festivals in question really serve every kind of animal secretion? I think that in itself would prevent a lot of attendance. Obviously the author is trying to denigrate dairy products, which I get, but her sweeping generalization is as bad as the things the meat industry says about vegans.

    Let's not kid ourselves here. Wánderlüst and the other festivals out there are about the bottom line. If they weren't, they'd be free, and would be 100% volunteer-run. I love the idea, but frankly people are making money hand over fist off of us. It's probably important to keep that fact in sight before our feet leave the ground.

  10. I signed the petition. I agree with the writer. Surely it is acceptable to create an alignment of conscious eating with conscious movement and conscious thought toward the vague goal of an enlightened society or at least one that is being asked to be aware as the requiste to participating in something called yoga.

    I have never been to a yoga festival. The idea does not appeal to me. But if I chose to go to a festival or conference where I was asked to eat or drink what my hosts thought was an honorable and kind offering in agreeance with the program I would either sign on wholeheartedly or not go. Or pack my own lunch.

  11. Diana says:

    Amen!!!!

  12. clare says:

    thank you for giving a voice to.the voiceless. the wonderful thing abojt practicing ahimsa in this regard is that by imprisoning, killing, and eating animals we are also not harming the animals,the planet, and our bodies and souls. 8it is thw opposite of a vicious ckrlcle,as my sister said last night, it is a benign circle.thank you for your defense of animals.w

  13. clare says:

    sorry,not imprisoning killing…danger phone!

  14. Chris says:

    I feel like this article is incredibly hypocritical. On one hand, it's stated that it is not your intention to impose your beliefs on others, but on the other it's create this inclusive niche of what yoga is to you, and only you.
    What yoga is, is what it is to those who practice. If event organizers want to have meat at their yoga events, it's not because they're lazy, or whatever insensitive notion you have used to judge them, it's because that's the yoga which they believe and practice.
    You stand on no moral ground or footing to legitimately hold this argument, and I will not respond to a strawman argument about the morality of vegetarianism, as my issue is the hypocritical nature of your judgemental attitude. Yoga is not yours. The spirit and idea of yoga is not owned, and is not unified. You and your morality have no domain over it, and dogmantic views like this anger me, as it's completely against why I practice and love yoga.

  15. kat says:

    I applaud Kim for taking a stand on this issue. I believe eliminating animal products from the diet opens us up to higher consciousness and enlightenment, and certainly, at the very least, a more ethical and moral lifestyle. Farmed animals and the waste they produce are polluting the planet, contributing to climate change, and widespread world starvation. Consuming animals causes health problems and disease. Finally, by choosing to not eat animals, we are choosing to abstain from harming others, from causing suffering, and from killing. Every burger, grilled chicken sandwich, scrambled egg with bacon breakfast, or chocolate ice-cream cone comes into existence because those who eat these food items are willing to turn a blind eye to cruelty. Yoga or no yoga, a diet that is based on others suffering is just plain wrong. If you don't know what I am referring to, please watch 'Gary Yourofsky's Greatest Speech' on You Tube in it's entirety. It opened my eyes to the change in diet I now adhere to.

  16. Philip says:

    Thank you Kim. By the way the Tadasana yoga and music festival in Santa Monica had no dead animals served it was totally vegan. Thank you for writing this.

  17. […] and white lady. She coined the phrase “Shanti Shanti My Ass” as a sideways teaching aid for yogis who eat meat. We keep meaning to make bumper stickers. I love and admire her convictions, even while seeking out […]

  18. Shelly Prosko says:

    I recommend reading “The Yoga of Eating” by Charles Eistenstein. He does not preach what one should or shouldn’t eat or a specific diet or anything like that, rather he speaks more about the spirituality, ethics, and philosophy of eating..and, well, what the YOGA of eating really means.

    Remember, we are KILLING living beings for nourishment even when we are VEGAN. Plant based foods were once living and we sacrifice their lives to nourish our bodies.

    He talks about how, as humans, we don’t respect death…even our own death. And how each being has a role in this world. So, if the tomato plant that you are growing is ultimately for you to eat, the plant has to accept that that is its fate..and WE must HONOUR and respect the plant’s life, and then when we kill it to nourish ourselves, we thank it deeply for serving its purpose.

    In turn, we also need to respect our own death…by accepting it and embracing it fully when our time comes.

    Most people, including vegans, don’t even realize how their food is being gathered, prepared, and distributed.

    I feel (just my humble opinion) it’s not about focusing all of our time/energy/efforts on serving “meatless” dishes–it’s much much more than that. It’s about how ethically it’s been grown, raised, gathered, harvested, sacrificed, and distributed. This is important for all vegan products as well as animal products.

    And if we authentically honour, with sincere gratitude, each and every plant and animal for our nourishment, perhaps we can still honour ahimsa and eat once living plants and animals ethically and in a non-harming way?

    I highly recommend adding the book to your library….it really made me think differently :)

    How about we sign a petition for the world, including yoga conferences, to serve only ethical food?!!

    Namaste and love to all

  19. M Lori says:

    May all beings everywhere be happy & free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all. http://www.worldpeaceinc.com/home/jubilee.html

  20. Laura says:

    Kim, thank you for bring this major issue to light! As a Vegan and a yoga practicner who attended a class and practiced next to a woman with UGG boots. After the class I just asked her polietly if she knew how those boots come to be…she had to tell me that they were a 'gift' and that no, she didn't. Even after explaining the horrific reality of them she got devensive and left. Yoga festivals ESPECIALLY need to be cognisant of what a mixed up message allowing meat vendors/sponsors to an event that teaches about kindness, compassion, harmony. Murdered animal products are the exact opposite of the teaches. I sincerely hope that the event organizer himself sees the hypocrisy of certain aspects of the Wanderlust festival and encourages VEGAN vendors. After all, we have all the very same enjoyable products without the pain and suffering or cholesterol and trans fats for that matter. Tell him personally that my partner and I, along with the Vegan Activists of London would love to 'vend' some tasty treats there and I know a community full of Vegan owned bakery's, restaurants and sustainable companies that I'm sure would vend too…seriously, I think we have something big in front of us…POWERFUL MESSAGE…impactful. Thank you Kim for all that you do, and inspire. And just on a note to previous comments…MURDER IS MURDER…There is NO SUCH THING as ethically grown and killed, there is no dividing line between family owned local and factory farmed, none from the compassionate stand point that yoga attains.

  21. Laura says:

    Oh and btw…I read a few comments from narcissistic meat eaters. Folks, the reality is you're taking issue with the wrong point entirely. Kim is simply writing the truth about animals, their torment, their horrors and how it should not be apart of any yoga festival, period. The fact that you are 'offended' or 'put off' by Kim's comments of seeming 'dogma' and 'judgement' is immature, insensitive and down right SELFISH. But guess what, I used to be just like you too…I was a meat eater, just like most Vegans. I used to argue with others who 'attacked' my way of eating. I see now they were just trying to connect me with reality, suffering, compassion and one-ness. I see now too that Yoga itself embodies everything about these messages. They cannot be intertwined. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have 'the right' to dine on animals while practicing 'harmoniously' with nature. There is a big black line that runs down your argument, it's tough to get close too, but it's an easy one to jump over…it's called Veganism. The lifestyle in which you will cause the LEAST amount of harm on your bodies, the animals, our planet. Stop being angry with 'people like us'…you should be angry with yourselves for not being fucking pissed off at what's happening to us, the world and it's animals.

  22. kim amlong says:

    Please have the courage to face the cruelty and suffering we perpetuate everyday with every dollar we spend by watching this informative video. Then, ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the menu today! http://www.documentarywire.com/earthlings

  23. glenn62 says:

    Thank you for this great article! Yes, one wonders how those who want to become enlightened would suddenly divert from the road of enlightenment by choosing to consume flesh, many times fully knowing what the implications are of using flesh and animal products. Is enlightenment then at all important to them, or is it simply a vehicle to earn money or fame?

  24. Lauren says:

    "We must BE the change that we want to see in the world" -Gandhi
    Some people who get offended by another person rightfully printing their viewpoint will feel the need to be up in arms with an idea that they are not ready to hear. The best way to help increase morality is actually by our ACTIONS. The way that we conduct ourselves in our lives is the best way to teach and inspire others, good or bad. Kim's petition is for businesses and events to have the courage to set an example to anyone who attends to start taking animals' lives into consideration. I am sure that 95% of the attendees would not even ask about the vegan or vegetarian meal selections if they were the only option. I am also fairly certain that many people would actually go home and rethink their diets, however small the change. For many, they have never been exposed to vegetarianism, have re-conceived ideas of what it is, and lack the education necessary to even consider it. These Yoga events are about education and exposure to new ideas and BEING the change we want to see in the world.

  25. kconnorsd says:

    While as a non-meat eater I appreciate the honesty and passion behind the article and petition – which I would happily sign – I at times…… as in, lots of times….. feel like the first rule of vegetarianism/veganism should be the same as the first rule of Fight Club – we don't talk about it. CLEARLY the result is this: those who are not ready to convert to a non-animal product way of life get defensive, and are turned off further by the notion because someone is forcing it down their throats. Just like you discovered at some point SOMETHING that turned you towards this lifestyle, let others do the same, in their own time, and the change can happen out of desire and not force. Just like if a Christian were to write an article saying that as far as they have always known and believed, the way to peace is through Jesus Christ, you are writing to a split crowd, and those who don't want to hear it won't, and will be offended that you are telling them their way of life is wrong. That Christian…. on this website….. would have a new one torn them, respectfully with plenty of "om shanti namaste"s to finish them off. Don't be so surprised you've received such mixed reactions – compassion and patience can extend towards fellow man as well.

    For the record, too, I get what you're saying: Wanderlust and associated yoga festivals are hypocrites. I agree 1,000%. What THEY'RE saying (the commenters, not Wanderlust), is that your article – at times harshly – insinuates that they are not as good of people as those practicing a vegan lifestyle. Devils advocate here, just presenting both sides impartially.

  26. christamarxmcniff says:

    Judge, judge, judge Judy judge

  27. I am so glad that you have addressed this problem Kim. You have written a very good article and a beautiful and truthfull poem. Yoga is not just about asanas and meditation. This is only one part of yoga and what use is that if the person practicing is still eating meat. Yoga is about unity. How can a person become one with the all and open their hearts if they are contributing to the pain and suffering of others just for the sake of a taste in the mouth? I was just also reading part of the last comments by kconnorsd above. I do not think it harsh to suggest that people living a vegan lifestyle are higer on the spiritual ladder than those who do not. I was not always a vegetarian or a vegan but I believe now that I live a vegan lifestyle I am a better person than I was before I made that move. I feel lighter knowing that I am doing my very best to avoid pain and suffering. I believe beyond a doubt that Ahimsa/ veganism is THE MOST IMPORTANT MOVEMENT ON THE PLANET BEYOND ANY DOUBT! I also believe that when a person reaches a certain stage in their spiritual evolution they simply move away from eating meat. It is not a sacrifice at all! The people who have not reached that stage need to be guided and educated so that they understand that meat equals suffering. A yoga festival is the perfect place to provide such an education and it is bringing yoga down by not doing so.

  28. pavrushpa khan says:

    I love animals

  29. […] Are Yoga Festivals Evolving into Mindless Meat Fests? ~ Kim Amlong […]

  30. doug says:

    thank you kim for pushing this issue – ive not attended any of these massive yoga parties, but your posts have made me wonder what it would be like to do asana with the smell of roasting meat wafting through the air… fairly disgusting … i wonder, do they serve massive sugar drinks to wash down that helping of saturated fat?

  31. aleta says:

    anyone running a yoga event who views their attendees as consumers needs to be shut down…great that you are sharing this really important info we need to work together & uphold the teachings xox

  32. kim amlong says:

    If you want to hear about my personal journey and How I Tore off the Chains and Broke Free from the Reign of Pain! see: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/from-rocky

  33. Kevin says:

    I feel that Kim has posted an impassioned and sincere plea for a personal vision of yoga that is near and dear to her heart, and for that I bow to her.

    I also agree with the poster who said that yoga belongs to everyone, not just vegans and vegetarians, and I agree with the posters who said that harsh judgement of others who eat animal products is a form of harm and is also counterproductive to the goal of converting their eating habits.

    As a newcomer to Elephant Journal I have to say – this is a tough place for those who don't hold the party line! But I guess it depends on what you want Elephant Journal to be. It this a place for the holders of a very specific set of beliefs to support each other and to defend each other from the threat of all contrary experiences, opinions, ideas and facts? Or do you want to create a forum where a variety of perspectives and experiences can be honored and thoughtfully, compassionately, intelligently explored, even when it is uncomfortable to do so – even when one's cherished beliefs are challenged, when one's righteousness becomes activated?

    There has been a great deal of religious "conversion by sword" in human history, and the sword can take the form of word as well as steel. Strident belief always feels like reasoned and correct belief to one who claims / assumes that they possess the whole of the truth. Yogic fundamentalism is as possible – and as counterproductive – as Christian or Muslim fundamentalism.

    I am one of many people I know who was once a fervent and well-meaning vegetarian who actually discovered, to my surprise and dismay, that I needed a small amount of animal protein in my diet in order to keep from becoming ill. There really was no choice in the matter, unless I wanted to continue to experience a precipitous decline in my health. Yet even with this threat of severe illness I was not able to come to peace with being a non-vegetarian until I read the autobiography of the Dalai Lama, who converted to vegetarianism upon his arrival to India but came to find that his health was utterly dependent on the consumption of a small amount of meat in his diet.

    Some here are claiming that anyone who chooses to eat meat is a person of low morals, incapable of reaching higher states of consciousness, that the doors of clear perception and compassion are barred from their entry – that these doors are closed by fact and by moral law – but isn't this like saying that the gates of heaven are closed to all who do not accept Jesus as their personal savior? Isn't this like saying that the Dalai Lama is an unenlightened, selfish person of flimsy character who is merely posing as a spiritual person, simply because he needs meat in his diet in order to live?

    Righteous belief is easy and it feels empowering in a quick, sugar-fix kind of way. True, deep listening to the experiences and needs and struggles of our fellow humans is much more challenging. Isn't this quality of deep listening possibly a form of spiritual yoga in itself?

  34. […] I feel this is extremely important because Wanderlust is a hugely popular and growing festival that could positively influence countless people to help create a better world for all of us. (Please see my previous article: “Are Yoga Festivals Turning into Mindless Meat Fests?“) […]

  35. Will Space says:

    I thought it was about sex.. Like festivals with names with Wander and Lust – I stole that. Burning Man gets divided about everything. It really has to be seen to be believed and it's a great environment..
    My mom sold the Buddhist Monks the place where they build their monastery here in MPLS. She got to drive around with the one monk who fled Tibet with the Dali Lama and I guess it's an honor to even be touched by him. They drove around joked – other monks were there too. When they had lunch they told her her Dharma (how you walk your path) is better than theirs. They knew it but I'm guess they kept in eating meat with their tradition out of respect for their heritage. Maybe we could follow them and respect meat eaters in our own country?

  36. VIC says:

    The World Peace & Yoga Jubilee (http://www.worldpeaceinc.com/home/jubilee.html or http://www.worldpeaceyoga.com) offers an all-vegan yoga festival!

  37. MaryAnn says:

    Yoga and kirtan festivals should lead the way and serve only vegetarian and ideally local food regardless of what their attendees eat at home. The Boston Yoga and Chant Fest is doing exactly that – Indian vegetarian and regular vegan food is served by local vendors. http://www.BostonYogaAndChantFest.com

  38. As a yoga teacher, I am often asked if i am a vegetarian. It is often assumed that if you are fully living the yogic lifestyle you must be a vegetarian. I am a yogi who chooses to eat meat, and my choice to not be vegan is every bit as legitimate of a decision as your choice to be vegan. It is extremely important to me that I remaining conscientious, informed and educated with regards to what I am feeding my family, the sources of all of the foods we eat, and the treatment of the animals and land that contribute to our diet. Purchasing fruits, vegetables and meats from responsible sources, such as small family farms and those dedicated to likeminded values is always a part of my decision process. These issues are just as important to me as are the related ethical and moral issues are to vegans such as yourself.

    As a practicing yogi, I am deeply offended by those who claim I am not practicing Ahimsa simply because I have not made a choice to be vegan. In addition to reading your article, I have read many others on similar subjects written by vegans. Unfortunately, there is a common misunderstanding and distortion of the essence of Ahimsa, often to bolster promotion of a vegan lifestyle. Ahimsa does not mean "non-killing"; it means "non-violence" and there is a significant difference. Animals may be used in an ethical, non-violent manner for the purpose of providing food. In today's world, it is widely accepted that you can eat meat and still practice Ahimsa.

    On the other hand, electing to be vegan does not guarantee someone is living a life of non-violence. While vegans and vegetarians may not be eating meat, that in and of itself does not necessarily mean they are truly practicing Ahimsa. The practicing of Ahimsa is not exclusive to not eating animal products. While Ghandi is often misquoted as making statements about the life of a lamb being equal to a human to support extremist vegan viewpoints, what Ghandi did in fact state was, "Ahimsa does not simply mean non-killing. Ahimsa means causing pain to or killing any life out of anger or for a selfish purpose or with the intention of injuring it. Refraining from so doing is Ahimsa." Not eating meat does not necessarily mean a vegan is not violent or harmful with their thoughts, words or actions. The inability to accept the choices made by others, is both judgmental and disrespectful. Showing contempt for these choices of others by denouncing and vilifying them is clearly harmful and not true to the meaning of Ahimsa.

    Without living in complete isolation, it is impossible to be a functioning member of society without accepting that life in our civilization is made possible by some small sacrifices. Beyond just a dietary issue, advances in medicines and sciences, especially with regards to the eradication of diseases, also comes often at a similar price. This does not necessarily mean that such sacrifices must be mutually exclusive of an ethical, moral and socially responsible approach to how our animals, including those used as food sources, are treated.

  39. Kevin says:

    I am in full agreement with you, Danielle. As I said in an earlier response to the article by Kim, it is as easy to be a vegan or vegetarian fundamentalist as it is to be a Christian fundamentalist – it gives a feeling of righteousness and personal power, but of course at the expense of truly being able to honor the experiences of others. When someone who chooses a vegan or vegetarian diet tells me that they do not believe that I actually need to eat animal protein to stay healthy, that so and so MD says that it ain't so, it is a message to me that they are ending the dialogue, because they are saying that the experience of my very own body is a delusion, and that there is only one truth that is possibly valid. Like the concept of there being only one possibility of salvation through Jesus, with all other religious expressions as invalid, fundamentalist veganism allows no other path to a healthy body or to a relationship with yoga except through the narrow path of a particular dogma.

    Then there is the incorrect assumption that a vegan or vegetarian diet does not create harm to sentient beings. The history of crop-based agriculture is a continuing history of environmental destruction and habitat loss that has contributed immensely to the decimation of wildlife. Just ask the creatures whose habitat is currently being destroyed in Brazil in order to make room for more soybean fields. Is industrial meat production harmful? Yes it is, immensely so, and I do not support that industry at all, either in mind or in my purchasing decisions. It is a common mistake for those opposed to eating meat to lump together any and all meat consumption with the horrors of feedlots, abused and drugged animals, and inhumane slaughterhouses.

    All I know is I became a vegetarian years ago in order to not support the industrial meat industry, but after my health crashed because of the effects of a grain and vegetable-based diet, I added animal protein to my diet, and my health improved greatly. Does this make me delusional? Not according to the sacred truth of my body. Does this make me less capable of spiritual growth than a person of vegan or vegetarian persuasion? Well, there are plenty of enlightened beings through history up to the present day who were / are meat eaters. There is no diet quiz for entry into higher states of being.

  40. i'm new to yoga yoga people; wow, an intense group. i have been taking yoga for the pleasure, yes the pleasure of 'learning' that results from either an Iyengar class or some Ashtanga mix class. Eddie Modestini, Annie Carpenter, Rod Stryker, David Moreno, these are some of the outstanding teachers who widely opened my mind and heart at the Spirit Festival in Oahu, Hawaii the past two years. Among all the topics that came up there, this 'what to eat' topic never surfaced. Both years i mostly ate room service from the quite decent Turtle Bay Hotel where the event was hosted. I'm vaguely vegetarianish, due to the hormones, antibiotics fed to animals, and due to some squeamishness at the idea of eating something that cried in pain as it died; don't care if i wouldn't have made it a few hundred years ago; i'm alive now. But…… i gotta say, the tone of the vegans on this site have made one thing clear to me: i will be very careful to absolutely avoid attending any 100% vegan yoga festival.

  41. kim amlong says:

    If people want more information on the importance of this issue:

    1. "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism" Slideshow by Dr. Melanie Joy. Please watch this and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vWbV9FPo_Q

    2. Please watch: "THE WORLD PEACE DIET," AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. WILL TUTTLE and Ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb-NzViPGnk&fe….

    3. Please have the courage to face the cruelty and suffering we perpetuate everyday with every dollar we spend by watching this informative video. Ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.documentarywire.com/earthlings

    4. Please watch this beautiful video to better understand how the sentient, beautiful animals we share the plant with need and deserve our love and protection. Please Ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today! http://documentaryheaven.com/the-emotional-world-….

    5. “Today One Billion people are Hungry, 20 Million People will Die from Malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% could feed 100 million people and Eliminating Meat will End Starvation Forever.” Philip Wollen: Animals Should Be Off The Menu. Please Watch This and Ask Wanderlust to Take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCe4qEexjc&fe….

    6. Animal Agriculture is the number one Cause of Global warming. Watch this 5 minute video to learn the facts and Please Ask Wanderlust to take meat off the menu today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embed…!

  42. kim amlong says:

    If people want more information on the importance of this issue:

    7. Please Read this and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today!!
    "A PLATE OF AHIMSA PLEASE", by Bob Linden, GO VEGAN RADIO WITH BOB LINDEN http://www.goveganradio.com/filecontent/1079f_bob….

    8. Please take the time to be informed and help Wanderlust become the world's Greenest, most Conscious Festival. Watch Gary Yourofsky’s speech and Ask Wanderlust take meat off the menu Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIkC4OJEx3c&an….
    Report

    9. Please read this: The Ethics of Yoga and Veganism. Please ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu!! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/the-ethics….

    10. Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Michael Greger, M.D., offers practical advice on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse many of the top 15 killers.
    Watch This and Ask Wanderlust to Take Meat off the Menu Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ&fe….

    11. I grew up in Montana a couple of miles from Howard Lyman's ranch. He is a great speaker and said "…I came from Montana. I would rather be caught riding a stolen horse than admitting to somebody that I was thinking about becoming a vegetarian." Please watch this and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCMWctmCCqU&fe….

    12. DRIVING A PRIUS DOESN'T EVEN APPROACH THE IMPACT OF EATING LESS MEAT!!

    Care2 Earth Month: Back to Basics. http://www.care2.com/causes/save-the-planet-eat-l

  43. kim amlong says:

    Thank you for speaking up about veganism Ann. Many people have told me they believe in just living by example. However, I think speaking up is very important.The yoga community is the perfect environment to inform people. I wouldn't be a vegan today if vegan friends had not informed me of the horrendous suffering inherent in every animal product. It is not about a lack of respect for meat eaters, it is about educating people on how destructive meat eating is to everything and everyone. If people still remain completely disconnected after they are educated, I will still have respect for them. I believe it is extremely important that people are made aware of their choices so they are eating with the full consciousness of the impact their dietary choices have on themselves, the planet and all other sentient beings.
    Read this to understand why I am so passionate about Wanderlust Yoga Festival’s evolution. How I Tore off the Chains and Broke Free from the Reign of Pain !http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/from-rocky-mountain-oysters-to-nirvana-kim-amlong/

  44. kim amlong says:

    More videos to support not eating Meat:

    1. Watch The Peaceable Kingdom and then Ask Wanderlust to Go Cruelty-Free or at least Vegetarian. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1-oruwhSOM&fe

    2. The strongest men in the world don’t eat meat. Watch these incredible Shaolin Monks and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZwmluSn_T0&fe

    3. Watch Paul McCartney’s “Glass Walls”. Then ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the menu today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTifP6idBPs&fe

    4. Watch: Animal Protein–Meat and Dairy–Cause Cancer. Then ask Wanderlust to Go Cruelty-Free or at least Vegetarian Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfsT-qYeqGM&fe

    5. Watch this great fact-filled speech: Conscious Eating Conference: Crocodile Tears and then Ask Wanderlust to Go Cruelty-Free or at Least Vegetarian Today !http://www.vegantalk.com/videos/1063-vasile-stanescu/video/204-conscious-eating-conference-crocodile-tears?groupid=0

  45. Bijou says:

    For all you people who are opposing this, remind yourself that this is a yoga event and yoga is vegetarian. It's not raw vegan and it's not eating meat. You would not, if you are Kosher or Halal, go to an event representing either of those and allow any old meat product there. Why is this any different? I am in yoga not asana class. Otherwise I'd be taking tai-chi again and I feel strongly about keeping the tradition and if one wants progress that reflects yoga in todays world then vegan would be the next logical step to save the planet and practice ahimsa. You either get it or you don't but if you don't, than don't complain maybe yoga is not for you. Perhaps you should take a gym class.

    Kim thanks for writing this article. It's mind boggling that people in the yoga community even oppose this or have any resistance to this.

  46. dennis says:

    Hi Again!

    I'm impressed by your commitment but I still don't feel lined up with you. Here is why: the info you share about the disgusting and hazardous ways in which the meat industry conducts business is all good and vitally important and should be on the front of our consciousness. But, I receive a different result than you ( and many others who agree with you) I think you are pointing out that the food industry needs more gov oversight. I agree with that. By a wide margin, I would love for the gov to fund research into nutrition and food prep, and the effects of many different pesticides/hormones/antibiotics in one carrot cocktail. As far as the vegan diet, i just don't agree. Not based on anything, really, just on a general thought that we are animals. We eat. Something will die for us to get nutrition. Later on, we can pass our bodies back to the worms. In college, i had three Indian roommates. One guy, very lean, but strong, said he was Brahmin. Neither he nor anyone in his ancestry had ever eaten anything with eyeballs, he said. No reason to doubt him; he was healthy and getting a degree in Architecture. The other two Indian guys, and their friends who came over, were not vegetarian. They ate together, they cooked together, no problem. I like that.

  47. kim amlong says:

    As an ethical vegan, I feel at the core of my being that I must speak up for the countless, innocent, voiceless victims of animal agriculture. As a person living with HIV, I must also speak up to help prevent the suffering of countless human victims. Please share this article to help end the AIDS epidemic Today! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/08/without-a-
    Sincerely in Light and Love for All Sentient Beings, Kim

  48. Anon says:

    I am blown away by the time and energy put into something so insignificant. My god, open your eyes to the actual hardship issues that scatter the globe. Your judgmental, inaccurate comments are so far from "yoga" that you can't even see it yourself. Protecting animals is one thing, an issue I support with my whole heart. However, your extremism views voiced in this blog and then commented and supported upon, make me want to shy away from the westernized yogic community all together.

    I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me. Mother Theresa

    My suggestion is that you book a plane ticket to middle Africa. Spend a month in the shoes of someone who needs your energy and support – view an existence with real problems, heartaches & sickness. Then reevaluate where your energy lies.

  49. Akalsahai says:

    Dear Kim,

    While I immensely respect the sincerity of your intentions, these points of view can only be classified as fundamentalist. Honestly I don't believe that an article of this tone will do the vegan / vegetarian movement any good, quite the opposite actually.

    The deer is not superior to the tiger, nor is the tiger superior to the deer. Each is living and eating according to its own nature.

    Highly intelligent and conscientious arguments regarding the natural diet of human beings have been made from both sides of the table. Each point of view has its merits, but ultimately the choices of what we eat or don't eat are very personal and should be respected as such.

    My personal belief is that the Vegetarian Yogi is not at all superior to the meat-eating Native American, for example. Although their lifestyle may differ, both are living according to conscience, consciousness and spirit. Both are sublime expressions of the human spirit.

    Regarding Wanderlust, I've never attended, but I'd venture to guess that they are well intentioned human beings who are in their own unique way trying to create a positive, open environment for people of all walks of life to enjoy and derive benefit from community, yoga and music. By offering a wide variety of foods, they are making the festival accessible for a wide variety of people.

    I wish you all the best and hope that you continue to enjoy the fruits of your practice. Om Shanti.

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