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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. kim amlong says:

    This is not insignificant. Yoga is growing ever more popular and it is an environment where people should have the opportunity to become more conscious. Yoga teachers should be aligned with the philosophy and helping to wake up people to create a better world for all Sentient Beings. Instead, yoga is just becoming another mindless, physical exercise. This issue is not just about animal welfare, but also the welfare of humans and the planet. As far as directly helping people in Africa, one of the best things you can do is to go Vegan. I have listed numerous articles and videos to support the significance of this issue. Here is the best 10 minute video that addresses how crucial this issue is: “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….

  4. 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.

  5. God says:

    "But the main reason we don't waste our time trying to turn lions, tigers, and bears into vegans is because these animals don't know the difference between right and wrong."

    Are you implying that the entire circle of life the way is "wrong" and that humans are somehow better than lions, that we are superior to other living creatures? I am a vegan, but this is by choice, because i am privileged to choose what i eat in order to survive. I think the point that is being missed is that humans generally over indulge in things without thinking about the consequence. not that eating meat is wrong…or that other animals using their survival instincts is wrong.

    There is no need to try and change what God has set up for us, just simply choose what is best for you and what you feel is non violent…dont waste your time trying to tame a lion or another human being, when you could be living in joy. if you live in that place people will want to know how you got there. if you live in this place of anger and frustration you will be alone.

  6. One Mans Opinion says:

    Kim posting your blog all over wanderlust's facebook, and all the photos taken IS imposing your beliefs on everyone that reads it. people are having fun at these festivals. why not let that be the start of the shift in consciousness. let people start laughing again, connecting with their bodies. they will choose how they eat just by feeling the joy that Yoga brings. you do not have to TRY this hard, it only turns people off.

    The people that are applauding you already agree with you. the people that dont agree with you are simply more annoyed by you and your beliefs.

    why turn these people away from a beautiful practice (veganism)

  7. kim amlong says:

    As a vegan, I feel it is extremely important to speak up for the voiceless in our society. Personal eating habits should be respected, but Ahimsa should also be respected. No one is superior and when people have that realization, they become ethical vegans. Yoga for many people today is more about the bottom line than creating an accessible environment. Read this Great Article by the Founder of Triyoga, Kaliji: Vegan The ahimsa trinity of animal rights, human health, and ecology and then Ask Wanderlust to go Cruelty Free or At least Vegetarian Today!!
    http://triyoga.com/Vegan/Vegan.pdf

  8. Toni says:

    Um, hasn't anyone read the Gita, where Krishna tells Arjuna it is his duty to kill his cousins? This very narrow view of ahimsa is frankly naive and a bit harmful in itself. The article is more harmful to our community and to those yogis who chose to eat animal products, than my range free organic egg whites. They were yummy animal secretions. I am grateful for their sustenance and respect their contribution to my life as I one day will also become sustenance for other living beings.

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  10. Richard Bird says:

    His argument is passionate and his face and skin appear extremely healthy. What puzzles me is why he appears at his waistline to have and extra 10 -15 inches if he is assumed a vegetarian?

  11. Richard Bird says:

    For 17 years I was a vegetarian. But my body couldn't repair itself adequately so I returned to eating meat! Does it make me any less a Yogi? Further away from God? Perhaps only to those who believe that to be a Yogi or get closer to God you can't eat meat. I didn't see in the Ten Commandments "Though Shall Not Eat Meat", Yes Though Shall Not Kill probably covers it. Didn't Jesus eat Lamb and fish?

  12. Richard Bird says:

    But, what Jesus said was "the way to the father is trough the Chris"t – Christ being the spirit of love – Father being the Godhead or super conscious in each of us. Meaning the way to the super conscious in each of us is through our hearts!

  13. kkhastings says:

    "The man whose heart never cherishes even the thought of injury to anyone, who rejoices at the prosperity of even his greatest enemy, the man is the Bhakta, he is the Yogi, he is the Guru of all, even though he lives every day of his life on the flesh of swine. Therefore we must always remember that external practices have value only as helps to develop inner purity." – Swami Vivekananda

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