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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. kim amlong says:

    Thanks for the comments. I completely disagree with what you said about remaining quiet. If someone hadn't educated me about the horrendous cruelty and suffering of every animal product, I would not be a vegan today. People need to be informed and then they can decide if they want to continue to follow the same diet as they always have fulling knowing the effects their diet has not only on their own health, but on the health of the planet and the suffering of starving people and tortured animals. The innocent, voiceless animals have no one to speak for them, but the few who are willing to be persecuted by the masses by going against the mainstream. As for your second comment, I am not insinuating anyone is good or bad because they don't follow a vegan diet. If I thought that way, I would only have a few friends and teachers in this world. I don't believe it is a matter of good and bad, but a matter of connection. I believe yoga teachers have an obligation to uphold Ahimsa by not teaching at festivals that are not at least vegetarian. Did you see the article: The Ethics of Yoga and Veganism. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/the-ethics… ?
    Sincerely in Light and Love for All Sentient Beings, Kim

  4. K A says:

    I agree, this is entirely hypocritical. The author has a habit of spamming websites, facebook pages, and inboxes. She uses online hostility to promote her beliefs and tries to force them on others constantly. Ahimsa = no hostility, you can't just throw that around when it suits you. Integrity is not optional.

  5. K A says:

    I AM a vegan and offended by Kim. She uses online violence to attack people into submitting to her will. She only uses Ahimsa when it bends to her agenda. She is the type of militant hostile vegan that embarasses the rest of the world. Hypocritical, attacking and hostile. You two should form an army, at least you'd at least be honest in your violence and hostility.

  6. jaimie says:

    yessssss, this is an awesome festival, a place to meet many many many equally conscious beings & be inspired to keep instigated constant change. jai, anna ferguson & mark shroud (co-creators of the festival). oh, & mark's food is ahhhh-mazing. it would turn anyone into a vegan!

  7. christamarxmcniff says:

    Judge, judge, judge Judy judge

  8. 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.

  9. pavrushpa khan says:

    I love animals

  10. kim amlong says:

    Dear KA,

    I am sorry if you feel I have been hostile in any way. I am only trying to wake people up and sometimes that requires a lot of repetition. Please let me know specifically which messages you feel have been hostile. I believe one of the most hostile things is to remain silent when there are billions of innocent victims in agony due to our actions and who are unable to speak for themselves. It is hard to face the Truth. Our dietary choices affect not only our own health, but the health of the planet, and the welfare of all other sentient beings that must share the planet with us. I hope that with every passing day our abilities to share the planet with respect and love for the diversity of all creation will improve. As of today, four teachers from Wanderlust have signed the petition. I leave you with one of H.H. the Dalai Lama’s favourite prayers, extracted from “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life” by Shantideva, a Buddhist master from the monastic university of Nalanda, India and composed in the eighth century of the Christian era.

    May all beings everywhere
    Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
    Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
    By virtue of my merits.

    May no living creature suffer,
    Commit evil, or ever fall ill.
    May no one be afraid or belittled,
    With a mind weighed down by depression.

    May the blind see forms
    And the deaf hear sounds,
    May those whose bodies are worn with toil
    Be restored on finding repose.

    May the naked find clothing,
    The hungry find food;
    May the thirsty find water
    And delicious drinks.

    May the poor find wealth,
    Those weak with sorrow find joy;
    May the forlorn find hope,
    Constant happiness, and prosperity.

    May there be timely rains
    And bountiful harvests;
    May all medicines be effective
    And wholesome prayers bear fruit.

    May all who are sick and ill
    Quickly be freed from their ailments.
    Whatever diseases there are in the world,
    May they never occur again.

    May the frightened cease to be afraid
    And those bound be freed;
    May the powerless find power,
    And may people think of benefiting each other.

    For as long as space remains,
    For as long as sentient beings remain,
    Until then may I too remain
    To dispel the miseries of the world.

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

  12. 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?

  13. 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

  14. Ramdas says:

    Absolutely agree. Militant approaches to anything are, in and of themselves, violent. Littering cyberspace with one's own story is surely a militant approach rather than allowing others to carry your words if they find them worth repeating.

    It is up to the individual practitioner to determine what is and is not violent. If ahimsa is never harming another living thing under any circumstances, then what should a person do who sees a child being attacked by a dog? In my mind, the violent action is to do nothing. Even killing the dog would be less violent than doing nothing.

    Is eating meat violent? Which is more violent, starving the body of needed nutrients or eating meat? For me, most meats leave me feeling heavy and sluggish but my body feels horribly weak without occasional small amounts of fish or other seafood. Daily fish oil in addition to my plant based sources is the only thing that keeps my HDL (good cholesterol) from becoming dangerously low (below 20, blessed heredity). Should I risk an early massive heart attack like my father to keep my practice of ahimsa "pure"?

  15. 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

  16. right on yogi tobye! even if my first impulse at seeing your tag name is to say yogi bye bye, i thought your post was lucid and most decent. Philip ate too many carbs last night.

  17. yogi tobye says:

    Thanks Dennis 😀

  18. yogi tobye says:

    Humans are actually designed to eat meat as well and there are significant amounts of research done that show, not only do we need animal protein (especially saturated animal fat), but that it has actually shaped what we are as a species.

    I hear ya on the over-fishing and the use of livestock, but balance has to be found and the way that vegetables are consumed is no-less detrimental on a large scale. It is impossible to yield huge crops organically and the only way money can be made from vegetables is by growing huge crops.

    You have to look at the big picture.

    I know of vegans who have been told by their Ayurvedic Doctors that they HAVE to eat red meat. Only small amounts, but still, to stay healthy they have to do it and they know their body needs it.

    I've tried to be vegetarian, I mostly am. But sometimes I need meat, that's just the way I'm built. If you can live totally vegan, that's great, I can't. But, that's the way I feel is natural for us all…. Mostly vegetarian…every now and again meat. That is what I believe and the scientific research is there to back up my belief.

    You ever hear about the American woman that kept a Chimpanzee as a pet? Had it for years till it grew to full maturity. Then, one day without warning, it ate her friends face off. Just sat there munching on it until the Police came and killed it!

    Sure but Chimps only eat bananas no?

    You're not outside of Nature Kelley, you're not some unique, special species which can put itself aside of nature and try to control what happens. If Nature had wanted us to be vegetarian, She wouldn't have made animals out of food.

  19. yogi tobye says:

    Here's Kim not guilt tripping everyone

    “Every Morsel of Meat we Eat is Slapping the Tear-stained Face of a Hungry Child.”

    And here's her not being judgmental and controlling

    "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."

  20. kim amlong says:

    For the latest scientific research on why meat is the worst thing for our health see: 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

  21. 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?

  22. Mary Farrell says:

    It's OK to make money. No one begrudges them the opportunity to make money. I hope they make lots of money. But if you're going to use yoga to make money then represent yoga with authenticity and integrity, which means all yoga events should be vegetarian.

  23. […] 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?“) […]

  24. kim amlong says:

    Dear Kevin,

    Thank you for commenting. I am not judging anyone or trying to force veganism on anyone. I have great respect for qigong teachers that I have studied with that still eat meat. I am trying to wake people up to the fact that we are destroying ourselves, and the planet and are responsible for the horrendous suffering of Countless, Sentient Beings. I want people to be aware of the impact the choices they make instead of just being automatons. Did you read my article on my personal journey? http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/from-rocky
    I grew up in Montana and if it were not for a sincere yoga practice and vegan friends who were not afraid to educate me, I would still be oblivious to the destructive effects of my diet. As for people claiming they need meat for health reasons, I don't believe it. Did you see the latest video on utube on the scientific research? 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ&fe
    I have lived with HIV since 1988 and AIDS since 1998. I feel horribly enough that billions of animals have been tortured and murdered to create the medicine that allows me to remain in this physical form. I want to inflict the least amount of harm possible while I am here on earth so even though my Chinese medical doctor might be convinced that meat is what I need, I would never eat it for ethical reasons. Animals, even insects deserve the right to live out their lives with the love and respect that All Sentient Beings deserve. In qigong, the most important thing is the power of the mind. We create our reality with every thought so if we think we need something to keep us healthy then we will definitely need it. What we need most in this world is love and respect for the diversity of all creation and for All Sentient Beings. I agree completely with your last statement:" 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?" As Sri Aurobindo said: "All Life is Yoga." Sri Aurobindo also pointed out: "Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage." We are all experiencing and struggling to discern the Truth. For me, the Truth is that we are all One so in my mind I cannot claim to be practicing ahimsa if I only apply it to humans. Sincerely in Light and Love for all Sentient Beings, Kim

  25. 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?

  26. kim amlong says:

    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'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/
    Have you seen this video? “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
    Sincerely in Light and Love for All Sentient Beings, kim

  27. 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!

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. Rather than a puritanical and narrow minded misinterpretation of Ahimsa as a declaration to not eat meat, a broader and deeper understanding of its true meaning of non-violence should be embraced. Far too often vegans, under the guise of living by Ahimsa, decry the eating of meat, while they simultaneously wear leather shoes and belts, or carry a designer, leather handbag. As we walk along the sidewalk it is nearly impossible to ensure we are not stepping on any living thing. Our mere presence on this planet has an impact — sometimes positive and sometimes negative — on other people, animals and the earth itself. In the true spirit of Ahimsa, we need to have more of a positive impact than a negative one; we must stop judging one another regarding our dietary choices and do our best to live our best lives in a truly non-harmful manner.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. kim amlong says:

    To me. Ahimsa means striving to create the least amount of harm possible while living in this physical form. No one can live their life completely aligned with ahimsa and unfortunately, I believe that many people think ahimsa should only be reserved for humans. All Meat is Murder and horrendous destruction to everything: ourselves, the animals and the planet. Please stop making excuses to eat meat. It is a fallacy that meat is good for one's health. Did you see the latest video on utube on the scientific research? 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ&fe….
    I have lived with HIV since 1988 and AIDS since 1998. I feel horribly enough that billions of animals have been tortured and murdered to create the medicine that allows me to remain in this physical form. I want to inflict the least amount of harm possible while I am here on earth so even though my Chinese medical doctor might be convinced that meat is what I need, I would never eat it for ethical reasons. Animals, even insects deserve the right to live out their lives with the love and respect that All Sentient Beings deserve. Ask Wanderlust to Go Vegetarian Today or Sign the Petition to Say No to Meat at Yoga Festivals: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/973/236/055/say-no….
    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/

  34. kim amlong says:

    There is no comparison between the damage that plant agriculture causes compared to animal agriculture: 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…!
    Please stop making excuses to eat meat. It is a fallacy that meat is good for one's health. Did you see the latest video on utube on the scientific research? 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ&fe….
    I have lived with HIV since 1988 and AIDS since 1998. I feel horribly enough that billions of animals have been tortured and murdered to create the medicine that allows me to remain in this physical form. I want to inflict the least amount of harm possible while I am here on earth so even though my Chinese medical doctor might be convinced that meat is what I need, I would never eat it for ethical reasons. Animals, even insects deserve the right to live out their lives with the love and respect that All Sentient Beings deserve. Ask Wanderlust to Go Vegetarian Today or Sign the Petition to Say No to Meat at Yoga Festivals: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/973/236/055/say-no…. We are at a crucial point in history: “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….

  35. kim amlong says:

    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/

  36. 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…!

  37. 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

  38. 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/

  39. kim amlong says:

    Please see Ann's article: Do People Really Care about Animals? http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/08/do-people-

  40. 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

  41. Mahalo for the reply! Sorry, I have not yet made time to view any of your video suggestions; i'm sure they will be informative and worth viewing, so hopefully I'll get around to it. Have you read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? He was upset about some economic issues and so he wrote a book; the result was that Teddy Roosevelt and many others became disgusted not with the economic suffering he detailed, but with the food his characters ate; Teddy got inspired to create more federal regs for the food prep industry. Today's republicans would call him a socialist. Anyway….

    I do have the feeling that you are a bit off center with this, tho. Here is why: …"horrendous suffering inherent in every animal product." well, you are lumping in large scale operations with smaller 'organic' farms, and even with the few people who still hunt for meat. That is a major logical no no. You have lumped completely distinct situations inside of the same maximally negative characterization. This lapse of consideration results in you actually causing harm to those who do kill animals in a way which can easily be argued is not 'horrendous.'

    why don't you narrow your argument down to the gruesome details of large scale meat prep? oops that might sound like you were just advocating for more food inspectors…

    Second: "If people still remain completely disconnected after they are educated…" that is basic holier-than-thou. You assuming total superiority about something which a whole lot of reasonable people have alternative points of view on. In short, you sound like a child who has an absolute idea, and has not or cannot consider a broader picture.
    But, i had never heard of Wanderlust until your postings. I just checked it out a bit. It looks much better than its name sounds; i guess the name was a marketing decision, and it looks like it worked.
    By the way, about the doctors you quote who say eating meat is unnecessary; is medical science as indisputable as mathematics, or is the science of nutrition something of a work in progress?
    I tend to imagine that eating animals is unnecessary, but just fine if you want to.

  42. Arya-siddhanta dasa says:

    Yoga is a process that requires disciple and authority. Your opinions and speculations do not match up with the essential teachings of any genuine guru, scripture or saint. Yoga is indeed a force of it's own and the author of the article is simply informing others of how the system of yoga works. This meat eating nonsense is simply tongue pleasure with the end result of shaping an eye, ear nose and other senses geared towards a future animal body conducive to eating meat.

  43. kim amlong says:

    i have read the Jungle.
    I believe Killing any sentient being is Murder. It just is not perceived as such by the majority of our society.
    I believe it is disconnection. I am not superior. I am just fortunate that I have made the connection.
    If you want scientifically, back research just watch some of the videos I have listed.
    The scientific research demonstrates that meat is the worst thing for our health, for the environment and most of all for the innocent victims that are tortured and murdered merely for people's taste buds.
    The only reason eating animals if fine and not a crime is because people have an extremely difficult time breaking habits even when they know they are detrimental to everything and everyone.
    I leave you with a quote to contemplate:
    "I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized." –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walden

  44. Bijou says:

    Sadly you missed the 150,000 person study over 15 yrs that Harvard did that showed very clearly that vegan diets are best.

  45. Bijou says:

    Just curious how much less judgement you would like when it comes to animal abuse? If this were an article on leaving dogs in a hot car would you complain?

  46. 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.

  47. Bijou says:

    Please tell me how stabbing an animal with a knife is not violent.

  48. 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.

  49. kim amlong says:

    Dennis,

    I have listed several recent videos proving the benefits of a vegan diet for our health and the environment. There are also several documenting the incredibly cruelty that we are responsible for and to which our society is completely blinded. I believe the murder of an animals is as much a crime as the murder of a human being. I am not concerned about the regulation of the food industry. I am concerned about the ending of Animal Agriculture. Issac Bashevis Singer said: "In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought." — Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel Prize 1978